VoIP Softphones

VoIP softphones are installed or web-based software programs that help users make Voice over IP phone calls without a physical phone. Softphone software can be used on desktop or laptop computers, cell phones, or tablets.

VoIP softphones are VoIP software applications that support the making and receiving of calls over the Internet using a fast broadband or DSL connection. Softphone software enables users to make calls using a computing device without needing a traditional phone or headset (headphones with a microphone). VoIP softphone software users interact with the VoIP software using a mouse, keyboard, or touchscreen technology.

A VoIP softphone is VoIP software that can be used on many different types of Internet-connected personal computers (PCs), such as:

  • Laptop or desktop computer
  • Tablet
  • Cell phone or PDA

Softphone software supports two basic calling functions for any consumer with VoIP phone service:

  • PC-to-PC
  • PC-to-phone

Softphone users can also receive phone calls from other softphone users (PC), landline, or cell phones.


VoIP Softphones Listing


Fonet Global

Fonet Global offers a cutting edge technology which integrates the
power of your phone with the reach and flexibility of the Internet, all
over a single, reliable network service. Now you can make and receive
calls saving up to 85% compared to conventional telephony.
also offers solutions to ILECS, Central Houses and IP Service Providers
being able to integrate the most complete, state of the art voice
features to their networks and services.


All calls to U.S. and Canada, PLUS up to 300 minutes
to 22 International destinations are included in one, low monthly fee. Low rates on additional
International calls.

Free Digits

Website now redirects to www.ringtonumber.comPC to Phone VoIP service provider (SIP)


Unlimited worldwide phonecalls for FREE with FREE VOIP.eu - Open your VoIP account directly online within a minute and start worldwide calling without any limits.Same company as www.sipservice.euNote: Registered in the US, but contact/support  in Germany


FWD allows you to talk over the Internet to other FWD users with any broadband connection . . . for free!
To get started quickly, you can download Pulver.Communicator or any number of free soft-phones.
If you want to get a little adventurous, you can use a “plain old telephone”
with an IP adapter or even an
IP based phone.


Broadband Phone VoIP service focusing on the Mexican and Spanish markets (Website only in Spanish)

Fusion VoIP

Fusion VoIP is a Voice Over IP Broadband Telephone Service Provider, where you can use your high speed Internet connection and our phone adapter with your regular telephone to make local and long distance calls at a huge savings!

Global 1 Touch

Global 1 Touch - Make Worldwide calls at the fraction of the normal cost. Use any IP Phone, SoftPhone, Mobile Phone or Landline Phone. Member to member calling is FREE. Call Back and VoIP products and services.Note: MLM (Multi Level Marketing) and no contact details on the website

Global Village

With Global Village, you can make FREE calls to Global Village users and most other VoIP users anywhere in the world

How much does it cost to belong to Global Village? Absolutely nothing. There is no monthly fee and there is never a charge for calling another Global Village member or other VoIP number or for receiving a VoIP call from anyone.

Every call you make to another Global Village user is absolutely FREE. That is true whether you call around the corner or around the world. Every Global Village subscriber will have a unique 7 digit phone number. That's all you need to dial another Global Village user.

The Internet phone community is growing every day. Through Global Village, you can place free call to many other Internet phone users around the world. To dial another Internet service, you must first dial a �1�, then a 3-digit �area code� followed by the number on the other service. These �Internet area codes� are selected by each service and Global Village connects you.

Global Village lets you make low-cost calls to any phone anywhere in the world, even if it is only connected to the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). You can opt for a plan with absolutely no monthly commitment where you pay only for calls you make. Or US customers can opt for an unlimited US calls plan with a flat rate monthly fee. 


GlobalTel IP, Inc. owns and manages a Voice over Internet
Protocol (VoIP) network at its network operations center
(NOC) in Miami, Florida. This network was built to
provide VoIP services for our two operating divisions.
The first division, GlobalTel IP, provides VoIP termination
services to the international telecommunications market
as well as hosted VoIP solutions to ISPs and ITSPs.
We currently own and operate two softswitches, one
has an unlimited server license while the other was
developed by in-house engineers and is based on open


Softphone Basics

To make VoIP calls using a VoIP softphone, callers need a/an:

  • High-speed Internet connection
  • Account with a VoIP provider (or a connection to a company's PBX)

There are a lot of VoIP softphones available to residential and business VoIP consumers. Some are proprietary applications designed to work with a particular vendor, such as Skype (which uses its own specific protocol).

Many business-focused VoIP providers, such as RingCentral or 8x8, provide their own branded softphone to use with their Hosted PBX VoIP calling service. Still other softphones are made by independent third-parties, such as CounterPath, and designed to work with a broad range of VoIP service providers and operating systems. Vocalocity, for instance, is a business VoIP provider that supports SIP VoIP softphones made by CounterPath and Acrobits.

Equipment requirements for VoIP softphone software include a:

  • Device with onboard sound (a sound card)
  • Microphone and speaker

Using a headset with a VoIP softphone is common, especially in business environments where a noise-cancelling microphone will help eliminate distractions, but a significant advantage of softphones is that they do not need any external hardware.

In order for the VoIP softphone to function effectively with the VoIP service provider or company PBX, the softphone software must incorporate a/an:

  • Appropriate protocol (SIP, IAX)
  • Common audio codecs

VoIP Softphone Protocols

Softphone protocols include:

  • SIP
  • IAX
  • H.323
  • MGCP
  • SCCP

In order to use VoIP softphones, both endpoints — the caller and the recipient — must share the same protocol. Some VoIP providers, such as Skype, use a proprietary protocol. The most common VoIP protocol is the open source session initiated protocol (SIP). The SIP protocol is used with many Hosted PBX providers. CounterPath's line of softphones — Bria, eyeBeam, and X-Lite — are all SIP VoIP softphones.

The Inter-Asterisk eXchange (IAX) protocol is used with PBXs using Asterisk. Kiax is a softphone for personal use that uses the IAX protocol. Some softphones extend their market advantage by supporting multiple protocols. The commercial softphone made by Zoiper supports both the SIP and IAX protocols. The Mirial softphone supports SIP and H.323.

Many VoIP softphones also feature chat and video calls, and many more comprehensive softphones also support faxing, file transfers, and desktop sharing. As full-fledged communication suites, they may also integrate the ICE, STUN, TURN, H.239, and XMPP protocols for instant messaging, screen sharing, and video functions.

VoIP Softphone Codecs

Compression is required to transmit large data files, such as audio and video, over the Internet. Codecs (compression/decompression) are programs that help computers to decompress downloaded files for viewing, or compress them for sending.

As there are numerous different types of codec — for audio, video, streaming media, and more — and countless variations of each codec, softphones will frequently incorporate multiple codecs. The most common audio codecs supported by softphones are G.711 and G.729. Some softphones will allow users to specify and prioritize the codecs they use, and disable the others.

Softphone audio codecs include:

  • G.711
  • G.722
  • G.723
  • G.726
  • G.728
  • G.729
  • Speex
  • GSM
  • AMR
  • iLBC
  • L16


Softphones that support video calls may also feature these codecs:

  • h264
  • h263
  • h263+
  • MJPG
  • MPEG1
  • MPEG2
  • MPEG4
  • Theora

VoIP softphone software that supports faxing will also include the T.38 protocol.

VoIP Softphone Features

A VoIP softphone is a software phone. VoIP softphones are usually designed to look like a traditional phone, with a keypad for dialing, and may also include phone icon(s). Callers interact with the VoIP software interface using a keyboard, mouse, or touchscreen (on a smartphone, for instance).

VoIP softphones support traditional calling features, such as:

  • Call waiting
  • Speed dial
  • Mute
  • Caller ID

VoIP softphones may also include features such as:

  • Contact list (may integrate with Outlook)
  • Hold (sometimes with music)
  • Online presence
  • Conference calling
  • Echo cancelation and noise reduction
  • Last number redial
  • Call forwarding
  • Call transfer
  • Voicemail

Many of the most popular VoIP softphones — such as Skype — also support instant messaging and video calls. Skype also offers Facebook integration, allowing users to read and post status updates, like or comment on a friend's status, and make voice and video calls to Facebook friends.

VoIP softphones for businesses offer even more features than most VoIP softphones for personal use. Business VoIP softphone features can include:

  • Call recording
  • Do not disturb
  • Unified communications
  • Personal call log/history
  • Multiple lines
  • Corporate directory
  • Click-to-call


VoIP softphones for business can be customized and integrated with other business functions, such as customer relationship management (CRM), billing, and other enterprise resource management (ERP) components.

VoIP softphone features vary widely. Review our softphone directory for more information about softphones and their available features.

Softphones can be installed on multiple computers, using the same number/account

Why Use a Softphone?

Softphones offer many advantages to residential and business VoIP callers:

  • Softphones can be used on cell phones or laptops while traveling, offering inexpensive VoIP calling using WiFi hotspots.
  • Using a softphone can eliminate the need for additional cords or an ATA adapter (such as the Vonage Box or magicJack).
  • Softphones can be used with most residential VoIP providers, extending service.
  • Softphones add additional functionality, such as video calls and instant messaging.
  • Softphones can be installed on multiple computers, using the same number/account.
  • Softphones offer ease-of-use with one-click functionality.
  • With softphones, telecommuters and remote workers can access the same in-office features.
  • Web-based softphones support anytime/anywhere access via the Internet.
  • Web-based softphones do not require software installation.

Companies — especially companies with an IP PBX — may use softphones as a way to reduce the cost of phone hardware while still benefiting from the convenience and performance of an IP PBX. Companies with unified communications needs or other call-dependent business functions (such as call centers) can integrate softphones with other software modules to better prioritize, monitor, and track customer, product performance, and inventory issues.

The Evolution of VoIP Softphones

When softphones were first developed, they were applications used on a home or work computer. More precisely, they were:

  • Downloadable/installable
  • Standalone programs with their own windows
  • Designed to mimic a phone interface (keypad, phone icon, dialing and ringing sounds)

As cell phone use in business expanded and companies started looking into the benefits of softphone software use, many VoIP softphones became part of task-focused suites of software: VoIP softphones were no longer standalone programs with their own window, but embedded into multipurpose software. VoIP softphones — integrated into a production-oriented environment with contact management, order tracking, CRM tools, and more — are ideal for businesses such as call centers, where computer and phone use are highly interdependent.

VoIP softphones for personal use are still likely to be standalone programs — especially on cell phones — and also likely to feature the traditional dialing keypad and phone icon. However, the VoIP software is less likely to be downloaded and installed individually — many softphone software developers have shifted to OEM softphones (especially for business environments with unified communications) or web-based VoIP softphones.

OEM Softphones

OEM softphone software — softphones bundled into business-focused software suites, custom branded, and generally included with the hardware — is common in many industries that foster a unified communications approach to problem-solving, customer access, and production. However, while OEM software is the norm in business applications, OEM softphone software on the homefront is just beginning to take root.

For instance, Skype is one of the most-recognized names in VoIP softphone software. While not the first VoIP softphone ever developed, it is both one of the oldest (launched in 2003) and most popular — when Microsoft picked up Skype in 2011 for $8.5 billion, it had over 600 million registered users.

Skype has moved beyond the desktop standalone program for making VoIP calls. Today, you can not only use Skype on your computer, but also on your cell phone and your TV. Many TV manufacturers make 'Skype-ready' TVs with OEM Skype softphone software — all that's needed to make VoIP calls using the Skype VoIP softphone is a Skype account, broadband access, and a TV webcam.

Browser-based VoIP Softphones

Web-based softphones are more advantageous delivery platforms for making VoIP calls, and are increasingly more common. Newer technologies such as HTML5 and jQuery are making the performance of complex functions quicker and more responsive.

Web-based VoIP software offers a simpler, more accessible form of VoIP softphone use to both business and residential VoIP consumers. For VoIP service providers, browser-based VoIP software affords greater opportunities for market penetration.

Some of the benefits of browser-based softphones are:

  • No downloads or installs
  • Operating system independent (Mac, Linux, Windows are all compatible)
  • Browser independent (Chrome, Safari, Firefox, IE)
  • Accessible anywhere, on any Internet-connected device

With no VoIP software to install, a web-based VoIP softphone is accessible in environments where users lack the permissions to download and install software.

With no VoIP software to install, a web-based VoIP softphone is accessible in environments where users lack the permissions to download and install software. That could include business environments as well as Internet cafes. For VoIP softphone users, that's an added convenience. For VoIP softphone developers, it's a new market segment.

Some VoIP softphone developers also offer commercial applications for browser-based softphone software, enabling companies to integrate the service into their own websites and eliminate the need for IP phones and installed VoIP softphone software modules.

Some softphone software vendors offering web-based VoIP softphone access include:

  • Zoiper (commercial)
  • Skype (in development)
  • SIP Services
  • Flaphone
  • MozillaVoIP
  • Mizutech

With the Phono jQuery plugin and a few JavaScript code bits, VoIP callers can also turn any browser into a web-based VoIP softphone.

You'll find more web-based VoIP softphones listed in our softphone directory.

VoIP Softphones on Mobile Phones

Every mobile VoIP app — from Skype to Line2 to iCall to Viber — is a VoIP softphone. Yes, a softphone. How so? Let's look at the criteria:

The mobile VoIP app is a piece of VoIP software that operates as a calling interface. The VoIP softphone software uses a screen-based keypad to make VoIP calls using an Internet-connected device without requiring additional hardware, such as a phone or headset (never mind that the app actually lives on a phone).

Mobile VoIP softphones offer even greater mobility, flexibility, and cost savings to VoIP consumers. This has led to an astounding number of VoIP apps on iTunes and in the Android market, as VoIP calling — and bypassing carrier minute plans — grows in popularity.

In fact, Juniper Research issued a whitepaper in 2011 that featured the following projections: By 2016, 80% of all 640 million mobile VoIP users will make VoIP calls using downloaded VoIP softphones on smartphones.

For a complete listing of mobile VoIP softphones, check out our softphone directory for mobile VoIP apps.

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