Try VoIP Before Buying
So you like the concept of 'cutting' your phone service in favour of VoIP but are hesitant to take the plunge and abandon your 'Landline' without trying it out for yourself first. Perhaps the advertised features and rates all sound a little 'too-good-to-be-true'. The terrific news is that you can make VoIP calls using your computer to virtually any telephone or computer in the world with little more than an Internet connection and a headset.
'Free VoIP' Using a Softphone
Firstly, let's look at the 'Free' way of taking VoIP for a test drive. So what's a 'Softphone' I hear you ask? A 'Softphone' is merely a 'Software' 'Phone' that enables you to use your computer like you would a telephone. Softphones are programs that generally resemble the keypad on a telephone and function in much the same way.
Softphones enable you to call other 'Internet-connected' devices or softphones for free (Free PC to PC VoIP), or conventional telephones for a small fee (PC to Phone VoIP). The reason that 'PC to Phone VoIP' calls (i.e., to conventional phones) are not free is that in order to call normal telephones, your call needs to route partially through the heavily regulated, heavily taxed Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). As long as the person you're calling is also connected to the Internet, you can talk for as long as you like across the neighborhood or on the other side of the world for free. Furthermore with PC to PC VoIP, there aren't any contracts to sign or commitments to make. Just download the softphone, and start talking.
PC to Phone VoIP
If you'd like to try VoIP by calling conventional telephones, consider PC to Phone VoIP. Depending on the Service Provider you choose and the destination country you're calling, the cost could be as little as just a few cents per minute. As long as you purchase 'pre-paid' calling credit, you won't need to enter into a contract of any kind and can use that credit to call any telephone around the world. The smallest denomination of prepaid calling credit usually begins at $10 USD. However, at just a few pennies per minute this easily equates to over 5 hours of talk time. As an added bonus, some PC to Phone service providers also enable free PC to PC VoIP calls using the same softphone as that used for their PC to Phone VoIP calls. That way, you can call a conventional phone using PC to Phone, then arrange to meet the person you're calling online (PC to PC VoIP) to continue talking for as long as you like, free of charge.
So try VoIP for yourself before you buy. You'll get an idea of the exceptional call quality and fantastic call rates available before entering into a contract that replaces your landline.
Nathan is the owner of http://www.netphonedirectory.com and http://www.bluetoothpcheadsets.com. Netphonedirectory contains information about 'PC to Phone VoIP' and 'Free PC to PC VoIP'. The site includes a comprehensive directory of Service Providers as well as general information relating to Internet Telephony.
Bluetoothpcheadsets.com contains information regarding the use of Bluetooth (Wireless) Headsets with PCs for VoIP (Internet Telephony).