Telecom landscape is now dotted with VoIP providers

VoIP providers enable you to make calls over the net at rates that are much less than those charged by traditional phone companies. At the same time they provide you with several value-added features that make calling easier and more fun.

The credit for making VoIP services popular goes to companies like Vonage, Skype and Comcast. They were the first off the block, and had a tough time convincing customers that their product is better than the existing phone services. They also had to invest a lot in research to improve their services.

Today, a large number of companies have jumped on the VoIP bandwagon. These include the big cable operators like Time Warner, Cablevision, and Cox Communications and Internet and portal companies like America Online, Yahoo and EarthLink. Even Microsoft plans to offer Internet-based calling from its live messenger client. Traditional telecom companies like Verizon and AT&T have also started offering VoIP services.

With so much choice, it is not easy to select a suitable VoIP service provider. You need to consider several things before making a decision. The first, of course, is price. Most VoIP providers offer services in the range of $ 8 to $ 30 a month. The low price may look attractive, but then you may not enjoy all the features that a VoIP phone service brings. So, you will have to do a balancing act, and select a service that offers most features at a least price.

Features like e911 services are not offered by many VoIP providers. Similarly, some VoIP services allow number portability, that is they allow customers to keep their existing phone number on the VoIP phone. Other services will give you a new phone number. You will therefore have to go through the list of services provided by a VoIP company before making a decision.

You also need to check if the service provider offers free technical support because some companies charge extra for technical support. Finally, you need to check the customer service offered by VoIP providers. There is no point in getting saddled with a VoIP phone that does not work, and a company that does not respond to your requests. It pays to spend time asking friends and colleagues about the after sales service extended by a VoIP company. A company with a lot of satisfied customers may be the best choice for you.

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