Internet phone services
Some of the best internet phone services based on price, features and customer service include;RingCentral Office, 8×8 X Series Cloud Service, Mitel MiCloud Business, DialPad and Ooma office. When it comes to free VoIP services providers Google Voice, Facebook, Skype, Vonage mobile, WhatsApp, and FreedomPop are most popular for local and international calling.
Internet phone or internet phone service is basically other terms used when talking about VoIP phones. VoIP phone service has enabled you to replace your traditional landline phone with ones that connect over the Internet. Today, many people use internet phone systems to make calls much cheaper than they would with a traditional phone. There is no huge difference using an internet phone when compared to a regular or traditional phone. For the most part, you dial out and receive calls the same way you would using a regular phone line, except that your voice is carried through the Internet rather than traditional phone lines.
What is an internet phone service?
Online phone service
The internet phone also called hosted VoIP or hosted PBX, or IP phone is a digital communication tool used to make phone calls via the Internet. The device is also commonly used as a Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) application device.
When a user makes a call, the phone utilizing VoIP changes the user’s voice into several digital packets after an analog-to-digital conversion circuit, processes it, and then sends the data over the Internet to be received by another user.
Internet phones use various protocols such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), the Skinny Client Control Protocol (SCCP) and other protocols. There are even proprietary protocols like the one utilized by Skype. The first Internet phone was developed by Vocal Tech Communication Ltd in 1995 utilizing a Windows softphone to communicate with a regular phone. Once communication via the Internet was developed, it enabled the VoIP phone to be used for international calling for long-distance with less to no additional charge. One of the most significant welfare of using internet phone technology is its cost-effectiveness. It is cheaper than making regular calls. However, internet phone is Internet and power-dependent, thus during a connection outage or power outage, the entire system becomes non-functional.
How does International calling work with VoIP?
Calling international numbers works the same way with VoIP as with landlines; users require to dial the international prefix, the exact country code, area code which is then followed by actual number. SIP trunk vendors or VoIP are able to provide lower prices since the call is then routed through the Internet- or corporate data network- instead of regular copper lines.
Some of the calls might travel entirely on the Internet without touching the landline network at any point. Nonetheless, most international calls will require to be terminated at the nearest PSTN exchange, at which point the operator is charged a small fee for traveling the last mile. Thus, rather than having the whole distance through the VoIP, PSTN and international calls mainly utilize the public Internet or other data networks thus exempting trader from having to pay termination fees in different countries and the savings are directly passed on to users or business enterprises.
What internet phone service is best?
The best VoIP phones 2019
Communication remains a core part of any business needs. Today’s business phone system has to provide voice communications with employees at their desks, customer service, call center for sales, and support and they have to connect with and through a host of other communications channels such as audio and video conferencing, mobile communications and text messaging.
Because businesses are working across such a multitude of channels, many of today’s phone systems are adopting the moniker of Unified Communications as a service. These clouds based include at least one, usually multiple, software clients, to enhance their functionality on the desktop, web, and other various mobile devices. Unified communications systems have a wide variety of feature sets based on the tried and VoIP.
For a startup business, it is not easy or cheap to set up a business phone system, a call center or switch to VoIP from traditional phone. For the already established business, not only are cloud-based VoIP systems more economical, but the availability of analytics indicates that not only can staff productivity and the customer journey be better tracked, but it is also easy to gain actionable insights from business intelligence offered.
In this section, we are going to look at best business VoIP providers and best VoIP residential providers. Whichever VoIP system you are thinking of buying, whether as a business phone or home phone, this section highlights the best internet phones currently on the market.
Best business phone systems and services reviews of 2019
RingCentral was established in 1999. It offers cloud-based solutions and collaboration solutions for businesses. It has four pricing tiers, and users can save up to 33% by signing up for an annual subscription.
The Essential plan is $19.99 for a month, and it includes ten users, toll-free or local number, 100 toll-free minutes, and four people video conferencing.
The standard package is $24.99 for a month. This package includes audio and video conferencing, unlimited Internet, fax toll-free or local number, 1, 000 toll-free minutes, and unlimited users.
The ‘Premium’ tier begins at $34.99 per user monthly. The plan offers all the other two tiers have to provide plus 100 people video conferencing, 2,500 toll-free minutes, automatic call-recording and voicemail-to-text.
The ‘Ultimate’ tier is $49.99 per user monthly. It includes all the features accessible with the other packages but also offers 10,000 toll-free minutes, and 200 people video conferencing.
RingCentral is cloud-based. Thus users can utilize its application to make voice calls, faxing, texting as well as audio and video conferencing.
8×8 X Series Cloud Service
8×8 X Series Cloud Service offers cloud communication and customer engagement solutions such as contact center, voice, video, unified communication, mobile communications for small to medium business.
The system has various features suitable for discerning users. Basically, 8×8 X Series Cloud Service comes with four pricing tiers.
It starts at $28 per month for every user. The package includes a phone number, unlimited calling within 14 countries, extension dialing, auto-attendant, voicemail, click to dial, call recording, music on hold, team messaging, unlimited internet faxing, and 100 participants and analytical essentials. 8×8 X Series Cloud Service also incorporates G Suite, Outlook, ZenDesk, Salesforce, NetSuite, and Office 365.
The ‘X Series X3’ package is $38 monthly for every user. It incorporates all the ‘X2’ plan has to provide along with 5GB media storage, unlimited calling within 32 countries, and an operator switchboard.
The ‘X5’ tier weighs in at $60 per user monthly. Extras included in this system are web callback, interactive voice response (IVR), 2,000 minutes outbound predictive dialler, 10GB media storage, unlimited calling within 47 countries, contact center, service quality, and supervisor analytics.
The ‘X6’ package begins at $115 monthly per user. It includes customer experience analytics, 4,000 minutes within 47 countries, 8×8 Expert connect, and post-call survey.
8×8 X Series replaces the prior 8×8 Virtual Office service with a new back end that enables expanded features and unified communications (UC) management across multiple channels.
Jive offers communication and collaboration software for business. It was established in 2001. Jive offers five tiers based on the number of users.
The first tier pricing is between 1-4 and cost about $29.95 (£22.50) per month. The second tier covers 5-9 users and costs $25.95 (£19.50) per month. The third tier is $23.95 (£18) for between 10-24 users. Tier 4 is for 25-49 users and costs $21.95 (£16.59). The last one is Tier 5’ is $19.95 (£15) for over 50 users.
Jive offers the same internet phone services no matter what you pay. This includes auto-attendant, end-to-end encryption, virtual fax, custom hold music, call recording, call parking, call forwarding, in addition, to call center specific features like wait time announcement and agent logout or login.
Mitel MiCloud Business
Mitel Networks Corporation offers unified communications solutions for business. The system has three tiers. The essential tier begins at $20.99 (£13.59) monthly per user. It includes collaboration, conferencing, PBX features, call routing, reporting, and personal agent queuing.
The ‘Premier’ tier, rated as the most popular, weighs in at $26.59 (£17.84). It incorporates extras like call recording, outbound dialler, CRM integration, callbacks, skills, and priority routing.
The ‘Elite plan begins at $38.49 (£23.79) monthly per user. It includes multimedia routing, archiving, and operator. Mitel MiCloud Business has features which can link your customizable hold music, cell number to your work extension, and voicemails can be transcribed and emailed to you.
Dialpad was established in 2012. The organization is mostly known for its video and audio conferencing software, Uberconference. Their VoIP system is Dialpad.
The ‘Standard’ tier is $20 (£16) per user monthly. It includes toll-free numbers, call controls, voicemail greeting, HD video calling, unlimited calling in the US or Canada, call forwarding, call waiting, unlimited, SMS, MMS, group texting US and Canada.
The ‘Pro’ tier begins at $30 (£24) monthly per user. The tier offers all the ‘Standard’ plan has to provide plus hold queues, international numbers, 24/5 days support, international offices in over 40 countries, multiple offices supported, Zendesk, Salesforce, and Slack integration.
Ooma office review
Most small businesses are attracted to Ooma Office since it is available without a contract and has most of the calling features you will need out of a business phone system. Ooma Office is a low-cost solution, supports existing analog phones, and has good online documentation.
However, a major drawback is phones must be configured by Ooma. No software client for Macs or PCs. Also, a business can outgrow Ooma Office capabilities fairly quickly.
How to incorporate VoIP phone system into your call center?
Most of the new strategies, services, and processes are introduced in the aim of easing the lives of clients and making the customer journey as effortless as possible. An objective that is easily obtained with advances in tech. In every day and era, every industry is constantly looking for ways to modernize services.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the customer service industry has either been incorporating modern technology shifts. VoIP is one of the specific customer service technology that has been introduced.
A VoIP call center phone system is an internet phone calling software that is designed to handle the call volume of the entire call center. Unlike landlines and traditional phone lines, VoIP technology uses broadband internet to connect the customer with a company. These phone systems assist organizations in managing and distributing large amounts of incoming and outgoing calls being made to its customer service teams.
There are many advantages of using VoIP over traditional phone services, but the main ones include low cost, better-calling features, and enabled audio and video calls. You can incorporate the VoIP call center software discussed above in your business.
The best home phone systems and VoIP providers 2019
VoIP phone systems are not only for business- they are also useful for home customers. A home VoIP system replaces your old phone line, allowing you to cut the cord and make calls at a cheaper rate.
Home VoIP systems also come designed with many features such as voicemail to text and virtual fax, and with today’s top home VoIP providers, one does not have to sacrifice top-quality sound and service. In this case, VoIP (pronounced as voyp) enables you to make calls through your home internet connection. Below are some of the best home VoIP providers and home theatre installations.
Vonage Business is a popular name in VoIP, and the good news is it is also a big name in home VoIP too. Vonage ensures uptime whenever people make or receive a VoIP call through their home IP phone or the Vonage smartphone app. All pricing tiers are billed monthly, with no contacts. But, if you agreed to be billed annually, Vonage rewards you with close to a 50% discount for the first six months. With Vonage home VoIP, it is easy to add the following calling features;
- Dedicated fax line
- Additional phone line to your account
- Keep your old home number
- A toll-free number that allows others to call you for free
- Call forwarding and extensions, so you can answer from anywhere you are with a smartphone.
Grasshopper is not technically a VoIP and is not technically for home customers, but it provides a similar service for a competitive price. Basically, Grasshopper is a cloud-hosted system that works on top of your existing landline or cell service, so voice quality is not affected.
Grasshopper is designed for entrepreneurs and small business owners who work from home.
Grasshopper’s cloud phones system includes the following calling feature;
- Call forwarding, multiple call transfers, and simultaneous call handling
- Virtual fax, receivable by email and connected to your number
- Full management, including voicemail transcription
- Uncompliacted setup, with no need to deal with difficult installations or wire rerouting
- Able to work with cell phones, landlines, or both, so you can use number anywhere you are
Cloud phone is a cloud phone provider that works the same as a VoIP provider. Similar to Grasshopper, CloudPhone is set mainly for businesses, even though there is no reason it cannot be used by residential customers.
Below are some of the CloudPhone’s top calling features;
- Call transfers
- Voicemail transcription to text
- Virtual receptionist
- Virtual fax allows you to receive faxes to your number without interrupting calls
- Mobile app so that you can take your home phone with you on the go
Phone Power is one of a handful of VoIP providers that basically specializes in residential VoIP instead of business VoIP. Even though PhonePower has several plans, it is best for calling with the US and Canada. This is because it has the cheapest prices in residential VoIP, provided you are calling solely on local numbers. PhonePower also enables international calls, even though there are cheaper options like Vonage if you want to call for more than one hour of calls internationally every month.
Below are some of Phone Power calling features;
- Free cloned second line
- Free activation and setup
- Send faxes
- Mobile phone application for taking your home number with you wherever you go
- 30-day money-back guarantee
Phone.com straddles the line between business and home VoIP with a bunch of pricing tiers suited to families. Phone.com structure packages are a little different from its competitors. Customers can choose between pay per minute tier, which are cheaper but have fewer functions, or unlimited plans, which are more expensive but all-inclusive.
Below are calling features of Phone.com
- Forty-plus standard features inclusive of call queuing, voicemail transcription to email, and more.
- A large number of SMS messages, beginning from 5,000
Is there a free VoIP service?
How to make free internet phone calls?
Yes, there are free internet phone services. Free internet phone services allow you to make phone calls sometimes international calls and other times in the US and Canada using special software.
It is important to note that a free internet phone service cannot be used to call 911 or similar emergency call. In case you need to call 911, use a regular landline or a mobile phone, or a VoIP telephone service which is approved for 911 use such as Vonage.
The free internet phone services listed in this section are available in four different forms.
- PC to phone- These are programs that can make a free internet call from your computer to a real telephone number; thus, you do not even require a telephone yourself.
- App to phone- These programs are ones that make a free internet call from a mobile device to a real number. These services enable making phone calls to any number, including landlines and mobile phones that are not using the application.
- PC to PC-These programs enable a computer to make a free phone call to another computer.
- Application to application-such software runs entirely on tablets or smartphones, meaning that phone calls only work in case the recipient has the same application installed. This approach can not be used to call landlines or other mobile phones that do not provide proper software.
- Note that you may have to install a program or an app to be able to make free calls. The software listed here should be able to work on any device that supports IOS, Android, or has a Web Browser, supposing the service supports it. For instance, all the Android apps should run on Google, Samsung, HTC phones, and iOS ones should run on the iPad and iPhone.
Making free VoIP calls with Google Voice
Google Voice is highly rated as one of the best ways to make free internet calls. You can make free PC to PC calls, calls to an actual phone number, and free PC to phone calls using Google Voice.
Google Voice is mainly a way to manage the phone numbers in your phone and can be used to route incoming calls to your free phone number offered by Google Voice to any phone you have. You can also get free SMS, free voicemail services, and make a free conference call using Google Voice.
The free calls you can make with Google Voice must be numbers within the United States or Canada. It is worth to note that free internet calls using Google Voice are limited to three hours. Nonetheless, you can keep making free calls to the same number as many times as you need.
The Google Voice app works from the iPhone as well as the web, Android, and iPad devices.
FreedomPop is an app to app and app to phone service. You can call real telephones, such as landlines and other mobile phones, anywhere in the US even if the person does not have the app on their phone. It also enables you to call anywhere in the world as long as you are using the app. When signing up, you can choose a phone number from any region code you wish.
A custom voicemail greeting is also supported. Besides, FreedomPop ties in with your existing contact list, so it is very easy to begin making phone calls and sending texts.
Note that the FreedomPop app works with Android and iPhone.
WhatsApp is owned by Facebook and is popular texting app with hundreds of users. Even though you can call your WhatsApp friends right from the app using only your internet connection, it does not count against your phone plans voice minutes.
To get started you will have to confirm your number. Once you are using the app, you can begin with a new conversation to clearly see which of your contacts also using WhatsApp, after which you can call them for free, no matter where you are in the world.
WhatsApp enables you to send photos, videos, your location, and contacts to other users. Note that since WhatsApp requires the app to make free phone calls, you cannot use it to make free calls to phones that do not have the appl installed, nor to landlines.
Vonage mobile utilizes your existing mobile phone number to connect with other users to make free internet phone calls, video calls, and text messages.
The app enables you to earn free calling credits to call home phones- anyone can earn $1 of credit for every user they invite (up to 10) and those users who download and registers for a Vonage Mobile account. You can use the credit to call non-users, like house phones.
However, to be able to use Vonage to make a free internet call, you must be having an existing phone number. You cannot call non-users for free. Also, the iOS version has not been updated since 2016. iPhone, iPad, and Android users cannot install Vonage Mobile.
Snapchat is popular for texting and picture sending abilities, but you can also make free audio and video calls with your Snapchat contacts.
To make a free call using Snapchat, enter the chat mode with one of your contacts by opening a new chat window or tapping the conversation once. Then, use the phone button to immediately call them for free over Wi-Fi on your device’s data connection.
A shortcoming of Snapchat is since you can only call other Snapchat users, you cannot use the application to call home phones or devices that are not also using Snapchat.
Snapchat works with iPad, iPhone, and Android.
The applications listed above are some of the most popular for making free internet call, but there are others you might use instead. All these other apps can also make free internet call too- TextNow, Google Duo, Textfree, Viber, Facebook messenger, Telegram, Tango, Skype, Libon, Line, and Globefom.
What is the cheap VoIP for international calling?
The best cheap VoIP for international calling are Skype, Viber, and Facebook. These are the go-to-VoIP services for international and free calls.
Though they are not known as VoIP services, they are undoubtedly VoIP based services. They operate through the power of the internet, and that makes them VoIP- Voice over internet protocol services.
If you want to go more professional, you can use RingCentral, Vonage, CallHippo, and Zadarma.