“Digital phone service” is a term used by cable and conventional phone companies to describe Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service. These companies use a cheaper system without passing any savings on to consumers—calling digital phone service “VoIP” would alert customers to the scheme.
What is Digital Phone Service?
Voice over Internet Protocol uses your Internet connection to make and take calls. VoIP phones (or digital phones, since the words are interchangeable) still communicate with normal phones on the public switch telephone network but they use different technology and data processes.
VoIP & Digital Technology: How Digital Phone Service Works
Digital phone service works differently than a landline phone.
Landlines use 2 separate lines for voice and data. They have to maintain one open connection for the duration of a call. This uses a lot of resources. However, this is why landlines work during a blackout (they’ve got a ‘hard’ connection).
With digital phone service, the sound of your voice is cut up into bits of information and compressed to be sent over a broadband network. That digital information is then sent using the easiest/quickest path its destination; it’s also sent in quick bursts (there’s not a continually open connection).
Once the data arrives, hardware and software components on the other side decompress and convert the data back to sound. All this happens in a split second.
The end result is that VoIP technology is cheaper and more efficient than a landline.
What does digital phone service offer?
True digital phone service has cheaper service with more features than a landline. You can get a VoIP service plan for half the price of a landline. While a landline costs $20-$40 for basic service, broadband phone providers charge $10-$20 for a residential line.
Let’s take the example of a major landline provider (say, AT&T): for local, residential calls, the price starts between $20 and $27 per month depending on your area.
Long distance phone service costs an additional $20 a month for unlimited calls; if you chose to pay per minute for long distance phone calls, be prepared to pay through the nose and to pay two phone bills (one to the local service provider, one to the long distance company).
If you want any features like caller ID, local rates start at $26 with an additional activation fee.
On the other hand, there are VoIP providers like VoIPo. VoIPo charges $6.21 a month for 2 years of service or $8.25 a month for 1 year. VoIPo’s digital phone service includes free activation, free number transfer, 2 free phone lines, calls to US/Canada, and many, many features.
When you have VoIP, you pay one phone bill. With VoIP, every call works like a local call which allows the VoIP provider to charge lower prices for unlimited long distance calling.
International calls are also much cheaper with VoIP, because they work like local calls as well (for example, calls to London from the United States can cost less than 1 cent per minute).
Digital Phone Service Features
Many features are included in VoIP service for free with your subscription. With landline, you have to pay extra per month for any advanced features.
Features that almost always come with residential VoIP:
- call waiting
- caller ID
- 3-way calling
- complimentary 2nd line
Business digital phone service includes these features and many more.
Features that come with business VoIP include:
- auto attendant
- conference calling
- call holding
- custom message system
- call forwarding
- directories and address books
Virtual Phone Numbers for Digital Phone Service
Virtual numbers allow you create a number in an area code other than your own. For example, a VoIP customer in Los Angeles could get a local New York number if they needed one.
For example, if you moved and still wanted contact with previous locals, you could get a virtual number with the old area code.
You can also have a virtual number to segregate types of calls (such as residential vs business on a home office setup).
With true digital phone service—that is, VoIP service—you get more useful service for a much lower price.