VoIP works by converting your voice has from analogue (that’s normal speech) into packets of data that can flow over the internet to the person you’re calling, converted back to analogue at the other end.
There are many different types of VoIP services available, depending on what you want to do. The services that we mentioned above are some of the most popular, available as apps on your phone or computer. For many, these will be the main way that they use VoIP, bringing two main advantages.
First, the quality of the call is often better than that of a regular mobile phone call, particularly if you’re somewhere with good Wi-Fi but poor mobile reception. Secondly, there’s no charge for making calls to other users of the same service. If you’re abroad, or just don’t have many minutes with your phone plan, VoIP services such as these can save you a lot of money.
A second way to use VoIP is as a replacement for a traditional home telephone. Given that the best broadband connections use fibre to the premises (FTTP), there are a growing number of homes that don’t have a traditional phone line, swapping instead for much better broadband.
Instead, a VoIP service, such as Vonage for Home, is a good alternative, particularly if you live in an area with poor mobile reception. With this kind of service, you get a phone adaptor that plugs into your router at one end, and then your regular phone plugs into the adaptor. You get a phone number just as if you had a ‘real’ phone line, and make calls in the normal way, only instead of your voice going down the phone line, it’s sent digitally over the internet.
VoIP services such as this charge you for a regular phone number, and you then pay for calls on top (packages for cheaper or unlimited calls can often be added on top). You’ll find that overall costs compare well to standard phone services, and you can enjoy additional benefits. For example, most services also have mobile apps, so you can answer and make calls from your ‘home’ phone wherever you are, and if you move, you can more easily take your phone number with you.