Voice over the internet protocol (VoIP) is a communication technology that uses internet to make and receive phone calls. VoIP works by converting analog signal to digital, allowing you to transmit various packets of data over the internet.
VoIP can be used for sharing more than just voice calls. It can also transmit multimedia content such as video, text, images.
VoIP was made possible thanks to the invention of the audio transceiver, back in 1989. The man who made that possible was Alon Cohen, an Israeli entrepreneur.
There are several types of VoIP phones, from desk phones and wireless phones to softphones, with the latter massively gaining in popularity in recent years. Softphones consist in software that is installed on your device, which helps you make and receive calls. They are widely used by people who work remotely.
In order to use VoIP with softphones, you need to find a VoIP provider and subscribe to a plan offered by the provider. Everything is done through the software, over the internet.
Nowadays there are also a lot of communication platforms that can be placed in the VoIP services category, including Whatsapp, Skype, Viber, which are very popular and most of them are also free.
The biggest advantage of VoIP is its price. VoIP calls are significantly cheaper than those made using traditional landlines, especially in the case of long-distance calls. Because of the complex and costly infrastructure required by traditional landlines, prices for such calls are very high, too. The reason for that is that everything costs money to be maintained and kept functional. VoIP systems reduce your overall costs considerably, whether we are talking about required hardware, maintenance, etc.
VoIP technology is also more complex in features. For instance, you can share multimedia content, such as video, images, etc., using VoIP.
It is also more user-friendly, in that you can install everything yourself, without the help of a professional.
And another note-worthy benefit is the fact that VoIP technology is more flexible and portable. You can move a VoIP system anywhere and access it from anywhere as long as you have a stable internet connection.
Factors to consider when choosing a VoIP service provider
In order to choose the best VoIP service for your needs, you need to first define your needs. Will you need to be able to transmit multimedia content such as video, text, etc., or just to make voice calls? How many lines, extensions and so on will you need (if you want a VoIP service for your business)? Does the service include caller ID, call forwarding, conference call and other features? Make a list with all the features/functionality you might need. Drawing a budget would also be helpful.
Another aspect to consider is whether the provider offers smartphone integration or not. A mobile app can be really useful in many cases.
How reachable and reliable is the customer support? It is best to opt for a provider that offers 24/7 customer service, in case you encounter any difficulties or problems.
Is Phone.com a good VoIP service?
Phone.com is suited for the business and residential market. It is a very user-friendly VoIP service and it comes with a 30-day free trial, which is a great way to test the service before you sign up for a plan. You should know though that the trial only gives you access to the features included in their most basic plan (the Base plan).
Phone.com has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Phone.com has 3 main plans to choose from:
- Base: starts at $12.99/month and includes 300 monthly minutes, unlimited user extensions, 1 local or toll-free number and 5,000 SMS messages
- Plus: starts from $19.99/month and includes 500 minutes, 2 local/toll-free numbers, 10,000 SMS messages, automated voicemail to text, Premium Hold Music
- Pro: starts at $39.99/month and includes 1,000 monthly minutes, 3 local/toll-free numbers, 20,000 SMS messages, 300 call recording minutes, HD video conferencing and more
Phone.com offers a lot of addons. Here are some of their most appealing features that will cost you extra, depending on the plan you choose:
- Professional voice-over messages for auto attendant, greetings and more
- Premium hold music – approximately $1/month
- Call recording: 300 minutes are $5/month
- Voicemail transcription: $1.50 per extension or human transcription at $.25 per message
- IP phone leasing from $5/month
- Phone numbers: $5/month
Main features of Phone.com
Phone.com includes more than 40 standard features in their offer. Here are some of the most important ones:
- Caller ID, call blocking, call notification, call forwarding, call transfer, call waiting
- Click to call
- Custom local numbers/custom toll free numbers
- Address book
- Account management
- Number porting
- Hold music
- Fax from phone
- Mobile apps
- Text messaging
- User extensions
- Voicemail to email
Some of the ‘premium features’ included by Phone.com are video conferencing, CRM integration, call recording and more. Call recordings are stored for more than a year (13 months).
With Phone.com you can have up to 300 participants for every extension.
One feature that sets Phone.com apart from its competition is the available mobile app. The app is compatible with both iPhones and Android smartphones and includes features such as SMS, FAX, conference calling, the ability to call 3G, 4G or using WiFi, voicemail reading within the app or in your e-mail and more.
Phone.com has built-in integrations for Zoho and Salesforce.
Overall, Phone.com is a good VoIP service to consider. It is scalable and reasonably priced and it offers softphones, as well as desk, cordless, executive and conference IP phones. It has good international rates and it is very easy to set up and use.