The benefits of VoIP

The biggest benefit of VoIP can be summed up in a single word: cost. Because VoIP service providers avoid carrier phone networks, they’re able to keep their charges for calls very low. In fact, if you’re calling someone who uses the same VoIP service, the call is likely to be free.

Local and national calls tend to be offered for a single per-call charge, rather than being time based. This is achieved by carrying the call over the internet to the local area of the person being called before handing it back to the phone network. That way it’s treated as a local call by the phone carrier.

International calls are typically charged in increments of cents per minute. Some VoIP service providers even offer all-you-can-eat international calling plans to selected countries.

As well as cheap calls, most VoIP providers also offer a smorgasbord of included features. This is possible because VoIP calls are essentially a stream of data and can therefore be processed and stored in a range of interesting ways.

For example, many VoIP providers offer a free voice mail box that can send you an email alert each time a message is left. Other features on offer include caller ID, caller blocking and call diversions to another nominated phone number.

Some service providers also offer three-way calling, where you can set up a mini-conference call with two other people, as well as do-not-disturb and follow-me functions where calls divert to another number if not answered within a pre-determined period of time.

The end result is a telephone service that can be far more flexible than a traditional offering, and is comparable to sophisticated business systems costing many thousands of dollars.

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