A. Definition of VoIP
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) is a revolutionary technology that allows users to make voice calls over the internet instead of traditional phone lines. VoIP converts analog audio signals into digital data packets that can be transmitted over the internet. Users can make and receive calls using a VoIP phone service connected to a high-speed internet connection.
B. Growing popularity of VoIP due to cost-effectiveness
VoIP phone services have been gaining immense popularity in recent years due to their cost-effectiveness compared to traditional phone services. As VoIP uses the internet to transmit data, it avoids the tolls charged by traditional phone companies and significantly reduces calling rates, especially for long distance and international calls. This makes VoIP services much more affordable for both residential and commercial use.
C. Overview of the article’s focus on the cheapest VoIP phone services
With many providers offering VoIP services at competitive prices, you have plenty of options to choose from. This article focuses on guiding you through the cheapest VoIP phone services out there in 2024. We will start by highlighting the benefits of VoIP services, followed by reviewing some of the top cheap VoIP service providers. We will also discuss the factors affecting VoIP costs and provide a detailed comparison of pricing and features offered by leading VoIP providers. The goal is to arm you with all the information you need to opt for the most suitable and affordable phone service.
II. Benefits of VoIP
A. Cost savings compared to traditional phone services
One of the biggest advantages of switching to a VoIP phone service is substantial cost savings. VoIP eliminates all the overhead costs associated with traditional, analog phone services:
- No need to pay for dedicated phone lines
- No per-minute charges for long distance and international calls
- Low flat monthly fee with unlimited local and long distance calling
- Number porting to use your existing phone number
All these factors allow VoIP users to achieve significant savings of 40% to 50% on phone bills every month.
B. Advanced features such as call forwarding, call screening, and visual voicemail
VoIP services offer a number of nifty features over and above the basic calling functionality offered by traditional landline phones. These include:
- Call forwarding – Automatically redirect calls to your VoIP phone, mobile phone or any other device. Useful while traveling or working remotely.
- Call screening – Voicemails are first announced to you, allowing you to accept or reject the call. Great for avoiding unwanted calls.
- Visual voicemail – Voicemails are provided in text format via email or SMS. You can also access and manage voicemails through a portal without having to dial in.
C. Scalability and mobility
VoIP systems are highly scalable, allowing you to deploy across a large enterprise with thousands of extensions and users. Adding new employees is as easy as providing credentials for the VoIP phone service – no need for dedicated hardware installations.
VoIP also provides inherent mobility since the service is de-coupled from a physical location. Users can make and receive calls from their device anywhere they have a stable internet connection. This enables remote working capabilities.
D. Improved call quality
The digital transmission of voice data over the internet provides better call quality compared to analog transmission over PSTN networks. VoIP calls offer:
- HD voice quality with wider range audio frequencies
- Minimal background noise and static during calls
- Seamless switching between networks from WiFi to cellular
With technological advancements reducing latency over the internet, call quality is now even better than conventional PSTN calls.
III. Top Cheapest VoIP Phone Services in 2024
Let’s have a look at some of the cheapest VoIP services that provide excellent value:
A. Google Voice
1. Pricing: Starting from $10/user/month
Google Voice offers one of the most competitive pricing for VoIP services. The Plus plan starts at just $10 per user per month.
2. Basic features and limitations
- Unlimited local and long distance calling within the US
- Voicemail transcription powered by Google Assistant
- SMS capabilities
- Call screening and blocking
- Multi-device calling
Some drawbacks are:
- Cannot port existing numbers
- Lacks advanced PBX features for businesses
- Call quality can be inconsistent at times
So Google Voice offers an affordable, basic VoIP solution for low-volume residential usage. But businesses will need to upgrade to other platforms over time.
1. Pricing: From $20/user/month
RingCentral provides enterprise-grade VoIP service starting at $20 per user per month. Considering the robust features included, this pricing is quite affordable.
2. Robust features and 24/7 support
Some standout features are:
- Unlimited calling within US and Canada
- Enterprise PBX system with easy scaling
- Integration with popular business apps like Salesforce and Zendesk
- Built-in team messaging and SMS
- Customizable call routing rules
- Self-service portal plus 24/7 customer support
RingCentral provides a complete business communications service suitable for companies of all sizes.
C. Other affordable options:
Here are some other low-cost VoIP services worth considering:
Pricing – $15/user/month
Top features – Unlimited calling, AI-powered transcription, integrations with G Suite and Office 365.
Pricing – $20/month for basic VoIP service
Top features – Plug and play devices, number porting support, unlimited US and Canada calls.
Pricing – $20/month per line
Top features – Team messaging, video conferencing, flexible home office devices.
Pricing – $20/user/month
Top features – CRM integrations, call analytics dashboard, stellar 99.999% uptime SLA.
Pricing – Free version available
Top features – Cloud phone system to use existing mobile device. Ideal for freelancers.
Pricing – $30/user/month
Top features – Integrated cloud PBX with CRM, web conferencing, support for call centers.
Freshdesk Contact Center
Pricing – Starts free for basic service
Top features – Intuitive call center software, ticketing management, advanced analytics.
This summarizes some of the most pocket-friendly options among VoIP services that still provide a very capable package of features.
IV. Factors Affecting VoIP Costs
While the monthly user subscription forms a significant portion of your VoIP costs, there are additional factors that contribute to your overall spending:
A. Monthly subscription fees
This base price per user per month depends on the service plan selected from the VoIP provider. Higher priced plans typically pack more features like additional phone hardware, larger number of extensions, more storage for call recordings etc. So select a plan based on your current and future usage needs.
B. Additional costs for hardware
To use a VoIP phone service, you will need specialized VoIP phones and equipment. These include:
- VoIP desk phones – Examples include Polycom and Yealink devices that enable traditional handset calling experience over VoIP networks.
- Conference phones – Built for conference rooms with integrated speakerphones and external mics.
- VoIP Headsets – Connect via USB dongle for unified communications experience with VoIP softphones.
The peripherals selected will depend on workspace requirements. Always opt for certified devices that have been tested with your VoIP phone service.
C. Number porting
You can retain your existing phone numbers when migrating to VoIP, but most providers will charge a one-time number porting fee up to $30 per number. This still works out cheaper in the long run.
D. Hosted PBX phone service and zero-cost setup
Some business VoIP providers like RingCentral don’t charge any setup costs for the hosted PBX service. Features like number porting, phone provisioning, configuration changes can all be managed through easy-to-use web and mobile apps. This further reduces overhead costs.