Shopping for a new phone service can be a daunting task for both businesses and consumers as there are literally hundreds of different options using different technologies with different price points and features. You can end up saving a lot of money if you choose wisely. Going for the cheapest deal is not always the best approach though as there are often hidden costs for extra features that you may have thought were already included.
Before evaluating phone service options, determine where you are when you use your phone and what features you need.
This is probably the worst possible option and if you still have this service, get rid of it quickly as you could be saving a lot of money while benefiting from some nifty features. This is not worthy of further discussion.
VoIP is without a doubt the best option for both businesses and consumers. There are incredible cost savings to be had and VoIP phone service is feature rich. For businesses there are additional benefits in that there is no maintenance with a hosted service and management is extremely simple through a secure web portal where you can add or remove lines, manage features such as your auto attendant and hunt groups and much more. Find providers that meet your needs and compare pricing on the tables opposite for home or business use.
If you do not need a shared home phone option and are willing to live with the potentially poor quality service of a cell phone for all of your calling, then this may be a good option. Everyone likely already has a cell phone so why bother with VoIP service at home? Well there are a few good reasons, some of which include great quality of service, conference calling options, unlimited minutes and free international calling. Besides these reasons, a cell phone is a personal item and most people may not want to make it available as the shared home phone line. The monthly minutes will be used up very quickly into the bargain and costs will likely skyrocket.
For mobile VoIP, a cell phone is still required for this option but as you can get free VoIP calling over a WiFi connection by using your cell phone, it is definitely worth a mention. There are many apps available for the iPhone, Android and Blackberry with the most popular ones offering very cheap international calling. Most residential and business VoIP service providers now also offer free apps that leverage home or in-office solutions and effectively provide a transparent service such that you have the same features on your cell phone that you do on your home phone.
This a PC soft phone and you can get very cheap or even with free calls by using a service such as Skype. The quality of service can be an issue with these services and there is little flexibility as you need to be sitting at a computer so not ideal for most use cases.
There are some other services available that offer phone service for an annual fee (Ooma) or for a one time payment (MagicJack). There can be a lot of issues with these types of services so please read our VoIP Reviews before considering these options. Remember, the cheap option is rarely the best option when it comes to phone service, so take time to research, get quotes from different providers and evaluate all the pro's and con's before making your final decision.
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