A lot of people might be wondering why you need to use VOIP instead of a traditional landline. VOIP has become extremely popular, thanks to Skype, a service that lets you use your computer to talk to your friends over a broadband internet connection. Right now, most TV cable companies and phone companies offer VOIP handset deals. The reason why they are so popular is because in most place, the old phone company had always the monopoly of landlines. Calls between cities in the same country are considered as long distance, and don't even start looking at international long distance calls. The costs are pretty steep. But first of all, what is VOIP? VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol, a way to talk over the internet.
That's one reason why VOIP became so popular. It cut down on costs and let you keep in contact with your friends and family. The one problem with Skype and other first VOIP services was that you couldn't get a local number. For example, Skype doesn't offer a Skype In number in your state. This means that if anyone calls you, they'll have to pay long distance charges. That's not very attractive.
Now, with services like Call Centric and Voice Me Up, you can have a local number. The great thing about these services is that this local number is transportable. This means that you could be living on the other side of the world and still receive calls as if your number was still a local number. How does this work? The IP phone would be plugged in a router in Asia somewhere. When someone from the US calls, they dial your local US number. It rings in Asia and it costs your friends the same as if they would be calling you at home.
This is pretty cool for people who move around a lot and travelers. It's a great way of keeping in touch with people without having them call you by international long distance. Also, it keeps you in touch with all of your business back home, since if you advise everyone of the initial number change, you'll receive your any phone communication that you would normally receive at home with your IP phone. Most services also offer you the choice of keeping your current number, which is always best. You'll have to pay a one time fee though.
These VOIP services are usually plug and play affairs. You'll sometimes need to configure your router properly. Service providers will help you with this. Another thing that you have to remember is that you'll be paying for each call that you make or receive, meaning that you'll be paying from incoming calls as well. That's not a problem if you are aware of how much you talk, but thankfully the VOIP services offer plans to offset this cost. A no limit incoming call plan in available from Call Centric for $6 a month. [images via Voip, Wikipedia]