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VoIP Phone Systems for Consumers
Posted on: 2016-10-11 | Categories: VoIP Services
VoIP phone systems started off as a hobby for tech enthusiasts and those who knew their way around computers. Few people could have envisioned how far VoIP would come in such a short time but it certainly has made a huge difference in our society. VoIP first made its presence felt in the consumer segment and only later did enterprises begin to grasp its potential.
The First Consumer VoIP Applications
Consumer focused VoIP services were quick to take off in the market and it is not hard to see why. The earliest VoIP services were not as convenient as the ones we see today but they still offered significant savings over traditional voice carriers. In fact, the very first VoIP applications were nothing more than software that users installed on their desktops to talk to their friends or family. Everyone had to be using the same service and it was not exactly easy to call a regular landline, if it was possible at all.
Computers were also not equipped with the best quality hardware to support voice calls. Audio would frequently get cut off, there could be issues with echo and dropped words etc. Some people used dedicated headsets to get around the audio issues but the voice quality was nowhere near that of landlines on the PSTN.
Consumer VoIP Services Today
Today’s solutions are so much easier to use than those earliest versions. They offer much better audio quality, sometimes surpassing even landlines. These services are also more consumer friendly in that anyone can start making VoIP calls. No user needs technical knowledge or specialized training to use VoIP. In many cases, only the initial setup takes a few minutes. After that, users are on their way to making VoIP calls for free or greatly reduced rates.
What Makes VoIP phone systems so Attractive to Consumers?
VoIP is Inexpensive
If you ask anyone the reason why VoIP became so popular, the universal answer is going to be because it is cheap. It is not just cheap in the sense that the rates are better than those offered by phone companies. In many cases, certain calls are often free! Since VoIP phone systems route calls over the Internet, providers don’t have to pay interconnection charges. Only the portion of the call that uses the PSTN will incur a charge. If the call travels the entire distance on the public Internet, then it is completely free.
For this reason, many providers offer domestic calls for free. International call charges are only a fraction of the rate that consumers are used to paying for international calling from carriers. Vendors primarily adopt two business models in consumer VoIP services – pay as you go or unlimited calling.
In the first type, consumers get the hardware for making VoIP calls and pay a monthly subscription which comes with a certain number of minutes. In the second model, consumers pay upfront for the entire cost of equipment but calls are usually free i.e there is no monthly bill. But vendors charge calls to other countries separately, or the user can purchase a preset bundle of minutes.
VoIP is Convenient
Consumers can use VoIP phone systems from anywhere. Sometimes it is possible to take the box with you when you travel and make calls even from hotel rooms or on the road. In other cases, the provider may offer applications for download that can use the VoIP service for calling as long as there is Internet available. In much the same way, we can use any device to make calls. The system does not restrict us to a particular device or phone.
We can forward calls to multiple devices or set to ring only mobile phones etc. With dedicated mobile VoIP apps on the rise, users don’t even have to remember any passwords or take a box with them. Most smart phones offer some kind of voice calling service based on VoIP and there are many more apps available for download. Although many of us don’t know it, most of the major phone service operators around the world are already switching over their networks to VoIP. Even when we think we are making regular voice calls, we may actually be using VoIP!
VoIP has had a profound impact on our society. Over time it will become as ubiquitous as the landline used to be.