VoIP Telephone

How to Switch to VoIP and Ditch Your Home Phone Bill Forever

With the challenging financial realities of the rising cost of living, making ends meet is a monthly struggle for 76% of South Africans who end up with ‘more month than money’ (TymeBank, World Wide Worx Survey: 2018). Being more than mere convenience, switching to Voice-over-IP (VoIP) can help you reduce costs and enjoy free local and long distance calling with a whole-house landline without the bill. With the call clarity advantage of VoIP, it is a good time to make the switch from a traditional provider to a VoIP solution. We discuss the essential steps involved in ditching the phone bill and switching to VoIP below.

VoIP versus a traditional landline

Essentially, there are three options to get a phone service into your home: a traditional landline through your local phone provider, a mobile phone bridge that extends your cellular plan to your home phone system, and a Voice-over-IP (VoIP) system. A landline comprises the use of a copper phone line to connect your home to a phone network whereas, VoIP technology involves the conversion of analogue voice calls into a digital format conveyed over the Internet. Typically, consumers need a broadband Internet connection and an adapter to connect their phone lines to a Router to make use of VoIP. A VoIP system is linked to your Internet and routes your phone calls to a regular telephone grid.

Determine how many lines you will need

Having a clear idea of user numbers before switching over makes certain decisions during the selection process easier. So, the first step in setting up a VoIP connection is to figure out how many lines you will need based on the number of users you plan on having. It will also help you determine which features are priorities and whether or not your Internet connection can support your expected call volumes.

Make sure your home Internet connection is fast enough

Once you have determined the number of users, you need to assess whether your Internet connection will handle VoIP for the anticipated users. Lack of sufficient network and data bandwidth against the number of users can result in poor call quality and dropped calls that accompany an insufficient connection. It will also allow you to anticipate if you need to upgrade your Internet connection to accommodate VoIP. A broadband Internet connection is needed to provide the minimum bandwidth for VoIP calls. 

Set a VoIP budget

The various wide-ranging features that VoIP offers may be very enticing when looking at the different add-ons and bonuses you can use. Setting your budget will help keep you grounded and ensure that you do not over-reach in terms of your monthly expenditure. Consider paying annual fees to benefit from monthly savings.

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Determine which features are most important

Establish beforehand what specific features you need and want, and how much you are willing to pay for service fees and equipment. For example, consider if you would prefer the use of a service with software applications on your computer and mobile phone, or if you want devices such as a cordless or desktop phone. 

VoIP providers may provide certain services for free or may have bundled free minutes as part of their monthly subscription fee. Be on the lookout for hidden costs in the form of extra charges for features such as call waiting, caller ID, voicemail and 3-way calling. Also, determine call rates and unanticipated costs of, for example, enhanced voicemail from your mobile phone to avoid nasty shocks at the end of the month.

Choose a VoIP phone service

Having considered your number of users, budget and feature, use them as a reference to compare and select providers. Research user-reviews to avoid future pitfalls. When choosing a provider, consider the following:

  •       Does it have the features you need?
  •       Is the cost within your budget?
  •       Is it easy to use?
  •       Does the provider offer good customer service?

Good customer service is important. Because you often have to figure things out on your own, prompt and professional customer service is very important. If you are not tech savvy, ensure that your provider offers free remote support and can assist you in setting up your VoIP phone.

Keep in mind that the cheapest rate isn’t always the best and may not guarantee support, call clarity and reliability.  

Set up and configure your VoIP system

In most cases, you just have to plug your phone into your Ethernet system and configure your settings on your phone. If you have a firewall in place, you may need to seek the assistance of your provider to get your service working properly. 

Let us help guide you into which Home Fibre line you should be using!

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