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CostHelper > Consumer Electronics  > TV, Home Theater & Audio > Internet Phone Service

Internet Phone Service Cost

How Much Does Internet Phone Service Cost?

low costLow: Domestic Subscription $2-$5 a monthaverage costInternational: $12-$30+ a monthhigh costSmall Business: $25-$75+ a month
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Many people, especially those who already have high speed Internet access at home, are switching to Voice Over Internet Protocol (known as VOIP or simply IP) phone service, which carries local and long distance calls over an Internet connection. Calls from one VOIP device to another are referred to as PC-to-PC calls while calls from a VOIP device to a landline or cell phone are known as PC-to-Phone calls, regardless of whether or not a PC is actually used in a call.

Typical costs:

  • If both parties are connected to computers with high-speed Internet connections at the same time, VOIP calls can be made through an Internet chat service for no charge, using a computer's microphone and speakers. Skype[1] , for example, offers free calls, free video calls and free conference calls to other Skype users. Some websites such as[2] offer free phone calls from PC to phone. It's necessary to watch an animated commercial before the call is dialed and calls last for just one minute before being disconnected. Using the Skype service (without a subscription plan) to make a PC to phone call within the US, expect to pay about 2 cents per minute.
  • For many, the attraction of VOIP lies in the functions it offers that have never been available with traditional phone service. For example, Google Voice[3] offers one number for all calls. Inbound calls (free of charge) are forwarded to home, cell and/or business phones while outbound calls (free within the US and Canada) are made by accessing the web-based application from a PC or smartphone. Voicemails can be forwarded or read as transcripts and users can even switch phones mid-call.
  • One of the simplest ways to combine the functionality and convenience of a home phone with the cost savings of VOIP phone service is to use a USB port device and subscribe to a softphone client (software provider that enables a call to be made over the Internet). Expect to pay from less than $2 to about $5 per month for unlimited domestic calling. A magicJack[4] device, for example, enables users to connect a home phone handset to a PC. It can be used with its parent company's softphone subscription service that costs $20 per year (about $1.66 per month) for unlimited nationwide calling or, via a software plugin, with softphone services such as Skype. Subscription plans from Skype[5] provide unlimited calls to the US and Canada for about $2.90 a month.
  • For international VOIP calling, expect to pay from 2 cents to $2 per minute or from about $12 to $30 or more a month for unlimited calling. Vonage[6] , for example, offers a free phone adapter with functions such as Caller ID and Call Waiting along with unlimited domestic and international calling to landlines in over 60 different countries for a monthly fee of $25.
  • Small business VOIP service can cost from $25 to $75 or more per month. Vonage[7] charges $50 per month for a phone and dedicated fax line with unlimited domestic calling and free calls to some European countries.
  • Cable providers enable users to bundle VOIP phone service with additional services such as Internet access and cable TV at a discounted rate. Bundling packages cost from $40 to $150 or more. For example, Time Warner SoCal[8] offers digital home phone service with unlimited nationwide calling bundled with digital cable and high speed internet access for a monthly cost of $110 to $120. Purchased separately, the services would cost $123 to $143. See How Much Does Cable TV Cost and How Much Does Internet Access Cost for more information on the individual costs of these services.
Related articles: Cell Phone Plan, Internet Access, Long Distance Phone Calls

What should be included:
  • An unlimited calling plan normally includes voicemail, caller id, call waiting, call forwarding and three way calling.
  • If replacing a landline, it's often possible to keep the same home phone number.
  • Many VOIP services offer a choice of area code, so if the majority of customers or family members reside in a different area, it's possible to choose a number that's local to them.
Additional costs:
  • It's necessary to have hi-speed Internet access like cable Internet, a high-end DSL phone connection, or even a fiber connection. A dialup modem connection or even a low-end DSL connection will deliver a poor quality phone connection. .
  • As with any phone service, expect to pay additional monthly taxes.
  • Most home computers come with a microphone and built-in speakers, sufficient for making VOIP calls, while some VOIP providers offer a free phone adapter with a service commitment. Otherwise to replicate the convenience of a traditional home phone, consider purchasing a VOIP handset.
  • In some countries, calling international cell phone numbers can often be more expensive than calling landlines. For example, Vonage offers free landline calls to the UK but charges 28 cents a minute for calls to UK cell phones.
Shopping for internet phone service:
  • Before discarding home landline service completely, remember that VOIP phones are often not available during a power or Internet connection outage and no VOIP service should be relied upon to make calls to 9-1-1 emergency services.
  • Check out national VOIP providers such as AT&T[9] and Comcast[10] ..
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