Once you have decided to adopt a VoIP phone system for your business or home, the next step is to decide on a provider. There are so many options to choose from with each offering attractive schemes.
The first step would be to sit down and list in detail your needs. Once you have a clear idea do an internet search to find out about different providers, the facilities they are offering, and whether or not they have a reliable operation in your area. Read blogs as well as reviews on VoIP phones and the different companies, check with the better business bureau and chamber of commerce as to whether there are any complaints registered against the companies you are considering.
Some important considerations when choosing a provider are:
• The costs: undertake a comparison of the VoIP fees. These can range form US $ 8- US$ 30 per month. And, depending on the charges, the facilities offered will vary. What you need to do is list what features are beneficial to you and then determine for these services what the monthly fees will be.
• Read the offers carefully. Surf the web to find out what each provider offers for the fees charged. Think about call forwarding, voice mail, call waiting and so on. Read about what kind of network the provider has, the technology he is using and what his future plans are.
• An important consideration is the ability to contact emergency services. Choose a provider who has E911 access. This is dependant on whether the VoIP system is to be the only phone connection in your home.
• Find out whether the provider offers free technical support. Some do charge for technical services. Also determine whether your existing computer system and internet cable will support VoIP services. Determine whether you will need any new equipment or software.
• Ask about number portability and whether you will be able to retain your current landline number.
• Find out what the different plans being offered are and whether there are any promotional schemes. There are databases of residential and business VoIP providers listing special deals, features, and plans.
• Make a list of doubts/questions you have and seek answers from VoIP experts.
• Make a list of hardware and software required such as phones, internet speeds, IP phones, routers and so on. Determine portability as well as efficacy of the services.
• Read the contract carefully. Find out whether there is a lock in period within which you cannot change schemes or providers.
• Ask about service charges applicable. Find out about sound quality and reliability of services.
• Find out whether there will be additional costs for making international or long distance calls.
Weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a final decision. Most broadband phones work with a DSL or cable modem internet. If you have a dial-up, satellite or wireless broadband then VoIP phones will not work in your home or office.