Residential VoIP differs from any traditional land-line phone service in three main ways:
- Residential VoIP is cheaper than land-line service
- Residential VoIP directly connects to the Internet to make calls
- Residential VoIP comes with additional (and free) features
Residential VoIP uses innovative technology to deliver maximum performance at lower costs. Instead of using outdated phone lines to place calls, it converts your calls to digital data and uses the Internet to route your calls.
Due to this effective call routing system, most residential VoIP providers do not charge long distance or roaming fees. Occasionally, some providers will even include an allotted amount of international minutes with their plans. Otherwise, international calls are charged a specific rate. See the provider's website for details.
In terms of cost comparison, a typical VoIP service can cost between $7 and $10 a month, while a standard land-line costs between $20 and $40 a month. If you consider this, it means that you can save up to hundreds of dollars a year.
Residential VoIP providers also offer many productivity features that traditional phone providers cannot. Many VoIP service providers also offer mobile VoIP apps for smartphones, tablets, and laptops. This way you can take your VoIP service on the go with you. It is a great way to save money on your cell phone bill in addition to your home phone bill.
When deciding on a residential VoIP, you have a number of service providers to choose from. Here are some of the more popular residential VoIP providers:
With award-winning customer service and sales teams, ITP delivers residential VoIP at an affordable monthly price.
When siding with ITP, customers have a few options to choose from. For standard residential service, you can choose the Basic Residential plan that comes with an allotted number of minutes and a per-minute charge thereafter. Or choose the Premium Residential plan for unlimited outbound calling in the U.S. and Canada. And if you make international calls, ITP has a Global Plan that includes 70 countries in addition to the U.S. and Canada. Plus, all plans come with a free first month, free unlimited inbound, and a free ITP adapter/router.
Their plans can help you save up to 75% on your monthly bill, with no contracts or cancellation fees. Plus, you can keep your existing number!
Formerly BasicTalk, Vonage provides a residential home phone service is powerful and easy to set up. As an established name in the telecommunications business, Vonage knows how to deliver a quality product that is reliable and mobile to keep up with your busy lifestyle.
Vonage offers three different residential plans: U.S. & Canada 400, Vonage North America, and Vonage World. The first plan is catered towards the occasional caller who needs cheap home phone service. The second plan, Vonage North America, is their newest offering, and it comes with unlimited calling to landlines and mobile in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. And the last plan, Vonage World, gives customers unlimited talk to more than 60 countries (with unlimited call to mobiles in 10 countries). All of these plans have a number of helpful features (like voicemail plus, enhanced call forwarding, SimulRing, etc.) and access to the Vonage Extensions App.
With a number of important calling features and low monthly pricing, Vonage can easily replace your former POTS. Some of their offers even come with free shipping, free activation, and a free phone adapter! Plus, their minimal upfront costs will have you saving right away.
VoIPo offers home phone service to customers for low monthly prices, especially if you opt for a two-year contract with them. Their plans include unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada, with 60 free minutes of calling per month to select international locations.
Their Residential VoIP plan includes 40+ features (caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, do not disturb, etc.) on top of a free rollover line and the ability to send & receive SMS text messages. Customers also have the option to keep their existing number through a number transfer (for free) or choose a new number from over 7,000 different areas.
By choosing VoIPo, you can save up to 75% on your phone service! Plus, their 30-day guarantee ensures that you are happy with their service.
Phone Power makes residential calling easy, providing customers with unlimited calling that lets you keep your existing number and even call with your mobile phone. Their next-generation telecommunications helps to deliver top-notch phone call quality on top of amazing customer service.
For residential customers, Phone Power has an unlimited U.S. and Canada calling plan with three different payment options, which depends on what type of contract you are comfortable with: 1-year prepay, 1-year contract, or no contract. Each plan has unlimited calling to the U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico, with a bonus 60 minutes for international calling to select countries. The plan also comes with free activation and a free cloned second line.
Also, there are three different international plans for users who frequently make calls around the globe. The difference in price is determined by the number of unlimited international calling countries in the plan.
Home phone service is easy and affordable through Axvoice. They bring a quality VoIP service to residential customers for cheap.
Axvoice offers three different residential calling plans: Home Phone Service USA/Canada, US/Canada 200, and Pay As You Go. With their plans, you can secure yourself a cheaper monthly rate by signing up for a yearly promotion.
Not only does Axvoice have affordable monthly pricing, but they also offer no signup contracts, a BYOD option, and a 15-day money back guarantee!
Standard Feature Set of Residential VoIP Providers
Residential VoIP service providers typically offer the same feature sets, but it does vary by provider. The following list is a compilation of the standard features available among the residential VoIP providers:
- 411 directory assistance
- 3-way calling
- Address book
- Auto forwarding
- Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)
- Call block
- Call forward
- Call hold
- Caller ID
- Caller ID block
- Call return
- Call waiting (w/caller ID)
- Number portability
- Speed dialing
For explanations of these features, check out our VoIP Call Features article.
Residential VoIP service ranges from $5 to $30 a month. Ultra low monthly rates of under $10 are the result of special offers and promotions hosted by residential VoIP providers. Opting to pay an upfront annual rate instead of by month will get you a complimentary second year of service with companies like PhonePower and Voipo, dropping the monthly average to $5-$8.
VoIP service can be implemented on your current traditional telephones by attaching an analog telephone adapter (ATA). The ATA will plug into the router and then into the phone to act as the bridge from analog to digital. The ATA receives the analog signals from the telephone and converts them to VoIP-compatible digital packets so they can be carried over the IP network.
Residential service providers often supply you with a telephone adapter so you can make VoIP calls with your current phone. Depending on the provider, the adapter may be a separate cost (around $50) or it may be leased to you for free while you are a customer.
A residential gateway is a device that combines an ATA with a router to provide analog to digital conversion on a larger scale. Gateways can process multimedia signals from voice, data, video, and they support PBX functionality. Residential gateways can also connect fax machines and other IP-enabled devices to the Internet through wireless connection. A home office would benefit from using residential gateway instead of an ATA.
Take note that VoIP service requires an Internet connection to make calls. Power outages, server crashes, and a handful of other events can cause the Internet to go down and the phone service will go down with it. There are ways to protect against this, however. ATAs can be configured to maintain a connection with the PSTN that can act as a failsafe, and most residential gateways come with a port for a PSTN line. Also, some residential VoIP providers offer a failsafe feature that will automatically forward your calls to your cell or any other number if service goes out.
Unlike traditional phone companies, there are many residential VoIP providers to choose from and singling one out may seem like a big task. Check out our article about a good VoIP service provider selection strategy for tips to find a great service provider.