How to compare VoIP phone service providers
However, you should also do a little more digging on our site to find out what else they can offer. Other important criteria to compare with are:
- Number of Reviews
- Fair Use Limit
- International Calls
- Equipment types
- Plan type
Price: How much does the VoIP phone service provider charge?
Check out the price in the big balloon up above? That's almost always the price per user per month that the VoIP phone service provider will charge you.
Unfortunately, there are some additional costs you may have when it comes to how much your VoIP phone service will cost:
Taxes, unfortunately, are not included in the price detailed above. Neither are sales taxes. Obviously, you won't have to pay sales taxes if you're buying from a different state.
Your VoIP provider also has to make a contribution to the USF (Universal Service Fund). The USF is used by the FCC to fund telecommunications expansion into rural and poor areas and also to subsidize phone service for low-income households. Wow - I could write for the government!
You may also have some local taxes and fees tacked on to you, personally, or to your VoIP provider. Unfortunately, you'll have to wait until you get your bill to learn about those wonders.
2. Porting Fees
Your VoIP phone service has to let you transfer one phone number if you remain in the same geographical location; however, that doesn't mean that they can't charge you to set up the number.
Porting fees are cheap and occasionally are only one-time setup costs. That's nice for you. Usually, they range from $5 to $20 and can cost as much per month, after that.
3. Additional number costs
Want a vanity toll-free number? (Like 1-800-DIGEST7? Don't call that number by the way; I don't know where it goes.) You'll pay extra for it.
We try to list the extra costs in our editorial review, but we can't guarantee that we catch all of them, and we can't guarantee they won't change. But know that additional numbers costs anywhere from $10 to $20 to set up and a similar amount to maintain. You may also have to pay for additional costs for toll-free minutes, too.
4. Additional minutes
If you aren't paying for an unlimited plan, or if you exceed the Fair Use Limit set by your provider, you'll probably pay some kind of per minute overage fee. We list these as the minutes rate on the top of the page. You can usually expect to pay between 1.5¢ and 6¢ a minute.
Customer Rating: What do others say about the VoIP phone service provider?
We've partnered with one of the premier review sites on the Internet, www.voipreview.org, to bring us our reviews of these VoIP providers.
Basically, the star rating for each VoIP provider is an aggregate review. We (and voipreview.org) allow customers to rate VoIP phone service providers on the following criteria:
- Sound Quality
- Customer Service
All those scores are combined and then averaged into a five star rating.
However, there is a written review component required for the reviews. Read those. They'll help you decide which opinions to trust.
Other Considerations for VoIP Phone Service Providers
Number of Ratings
Corollary to the customer rating is the number of reviews that each VoIP service provider has. A VoIP phone service provider with more ratings has probably been around longer – and you can probably trust those ratings better.
Fair Use Limit
Most VoIP phone service providers have some kind of Fair Use Limit that they attach to their 'unlimited' plans.
In short, a Fair Use Limit is a cap that a VoIP service provider uses to protect their network from over user. Basically, if you use your account too much and go over the Fair Use Limit (which is usually minute-based or bandwidth-based), the provider will begin to charge you a certain amount of minutes per month.
International calls may be included within the cost per month of your VoIP service. Usually, you will pay some kind of metered rate per minute, which varies from country to country.
Sometimes, VoIP service providers offer a specific number of free international minutes a month. Or VoIP phone service providers will offer free calls to other international destinations.
You need to know if you have to invest in your own equipment, if the VoIP provider will supply you equipment, and if the VoIP provider can support SIP trunking services.
What type of plan are you looking for? Different providers offer different types of plans: some, like Jive, only offer one plan type. Others, like 8x8, offer every type of phone service available under the sun.