The number of companies providing Voice over IP service in the US and Canada is close to 1200. Yet more and more cable companies, DSL operators and telecom majors are moving to this technology, popularly known as VoIP, because they realize that VoIP is the future. They also realize that the market is wide open, and the best time to capture it is now.
There are two factors which are responsible for the success of VoIP services. The first is cost. Unlike telecom companies, the VoIP companies do not have to invest in infrastructure because it is already there in the form of the Internet. This allows them to start and run a phone service at a fraction of the cost of a telecom company.
The VoIP companies can therefore charge very low rates, and still make a profit. In fact, some of the call plans of companies offering Voice over IP service start at $9 a month. Most of these companies offer unlimited calling across the US and Canada. The result is that an average phone subscriber finds the phone bill halved when he moves to a VoIP company.
The second is value added features. The VoIP phones come with a range of useful features. These include international call forwarding, call-waiting caller id, call waiting disable function, distinctive ringing, repeat dialing, return dial, three-way calling, call blocking, call filtering, sequential ringing, secondary virtual phone number, additional service lines, toll-free numbers and web-based management..
The subscriber therefore finds that he is getting a phone service that costs less and offers more features. As a result, more and more Americans and Canadians are switching to the Voice over IP services. Their only extra expense is the installation of a broadband cable connection or a DSL line.
The Voice over IP service was initially limited to the geek world, who used telephony software that was available free on the net. However, this was not very popular because the voice quality was not good, and the calls could be made from computer to computer only. Moreover, both the users had to be online and possess similar software to make the calls.
It was only when the VoIP software was modified and hooked to phones through adapters that it became possible to call from one phone to another. This is when Voice over IP became popular. The technology got a further boost when companies like Vonage launched an aggressive campaign to woo traditional phone subscribers. The rest, as they say, is history.