Tired of unnecessary fees and hidden charges from your phone company? Most of us are and that is one of the many reasons why people are switching to VoIP. There are numerous free VoIP services to choose from, though you should keep in mind that you will still have to pay for Internet service and the initial equipment to speak through. Also, it is important to know that VoIP's famed unlimited, free long distance service is usually only free when you are making calls to other VoIP users within the same network.
How it Works
The technology behind VoIP allows it to be substantially less expensive than traditional telephony. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a process where analog sound signals (the kind used with regular landlines) is changed into digital signals and transmitted through computers. In other words, you talk on the phone over the Internet, through your computer. When you bypass conglomerate phone companies and utilize your Internet connection then you are a free agent and can embark on cost-free dialing. There are numerous companies offering free VoIP software and, if you choose a reputable company that serves your specific needs, then all you will have to pay for is the hardware for speaking through.
What You'll Need
First and foremost, you will need a computer and high-speed Internet connection in order to use VoIP. Since you are reading this now, we will assume that you probably have both. Next, you will need to decide how you want to speak through your computer. You can either use your regular phone and a converter that will allow you to plug it into your computer, or you can use a VoIP phone. Converters are inexpensive, as are basic VoIP phones, so just go with personal preference here. Once the initial hardware is purchased, you can easily find a free VoIP service that offers software for no charge. Some companies will charge fees for advanced features, however, so be sure to read the fine print and side with a company that best fits your needs.
There are several types of VoIP services available, though your least expensive choice would be to use a peer to peer network. Service providers like Skype and the Gizmo Project offer free software and all calls made to VoIP users within the same network are free. If you make frequent long distance calls to a few select people, it is very simple for the group of you to start using a peer to peer VoIP provider, thus saving a lot of money.