Residential VoIP Providers Offer Must-Have FeaturesBy:Robert Pepper (G+)
VoIP for residential users has the best value in home telephones. Once you get into VoIP, you’ll see that you have a choice: save lots of money, or get lots of features. Residential VoIP follows in the path of the “freemium” business model, where you can get the core product for free, or pay a low premium for the best features. It’s worked for many dating web sites, podcasts, and music services. Other residential VoIP services seem more expensive at first than similar plans from other carriers, but that is because they already include many of these great premium features.
World Calling Plans
One great thing about VoIP is that all calls are local calls. VoIP carriers have gateway switches worldwide to connect to telephones in other countries. Premium subscribers have access to international servers, so you can make free or super-cheap calls to other countries. Note that calls to mobile phones may be priced differently than to landline phones.
Check your voice mails and see your call logs online. Make a call from a softphone for free. Set up call rules for specific times of day and specific callers. Forward your voice mails to your email or your phone, and even have them transcribed. The online portal can do even more than your home phone.
When you download the mobile app, either as part of a premium package, or as a separate download, you have access to a portable version of your online portal. You can see your call log, check your voice mail, even make calls over 4G or Wi-Fi.
Find me. Follow me. Ring sequentially or all at once. When there’s no one home, that doesn’t mean no one can take your call. You can even use the online portal to forward calls to a hotel room. Or, go the other direction and hit “do not disturb” to have all calls go to voice mail.
Instant/Virtual Second Line
Here’s the classic situation: your teenage daughter is on the phone, and you know she’ll be on all day. Don’t sweat it. Just pick up a second phone, and you’re ready to dial out. If a third call comes in, you’ll both hear the call waiting. Your daughter will never know the annoyance that comes with a parent picking up the phone and dialing while you’re still on the line.
Bring the family together with three way conference calling. All it takes is a few button presses on your phone, or headset, or your GUI, and you’re making three-way calls with crystal clear sound. Great for making travel arrangements. Or explaining why your daughter can’t have her own phone.
Boy, that Rachel from Card Services sure is a busy lady. She’s been calling everyone in town. With premium residential VoIP services, you can block numbers individually, block numbers without caller ID, and subscribe to a community blacklist. This is one of those features you’ll wonder how you ever lived without. When the phone rings, you’ll know it’s someone you want to talk to.
Every company likes to give you a little something extra when you subscribe or upgrade to premium services. It could be free number porting, a free equipment lease, a wireless or Bluetooth adapter, free 411, or any other feature or gift to say “thank you” for your business.