There was a time when phone service options were not available. You received your phone service and long distance service from your local phone company; you paid whatever their currents rates were. In the mid-1980′s all that changed, and local and long distance phone companies began competing for customers. Within a couple of decades, cell phones gained enough popularity that they also began to become a competitor as the primary phone for some households. Now VoIP, or internet phones have joined the race as the newest challenger for that position.
So, how do you decide which type of phone service is right for you? And should you simply have one service or multiple types of phone services to meet your needs? Here are some tips that may help you make those decisions.
- Who do you call most? Do you call friends and family most, or are most of your phone calls business related? Cell phone companies often have plans that allow for a family or group of friends to be included as a ‘free calling group’.
- Who calls you the most? If most of your phone calls are incoming instead of out going, a landline may be a better option than a cell phone, since cell phone minutes are counted for incoming and outgoing calls.
- When do you use your phone the most? Many cell phone plans provide free calling on weekends and late at night. If this is when you do most of your calling, especially to long distance numbers, a cell phone can sometimes save you long distance charges.
- Long distance calling. Long distance charges for a landline phone have often been the most expensive aspect of having a landline. This is not always true today. Many phone providers will provide unlimited long distance within their monthly phone rate. Compare carefully between landline and cell phone packages before making a distance on this basis.
- International calling. This is the area that ViOP phones have provided the most savings for phone customers. International calls from landline and cell phones can be quite costly, when they are made on a regular basis. ViOP phones operate over the internet, which greatly reduces these costs.
- Lifestyle. Landline and ViOP phones can be wireless and used anywhere around the home, but they aren’t truly mobile. If you don’t need or desire to have a connection to people 24-7, then a cell phone may be an extra expense that you don’t need.
- Business. If you use your phones for business, it is likely you will want to be reachable at all times by a cell phone. At the same time, you may want to have a landline or ViOP as well, particularly if your cell phone has issues with reception quality in some places.
- Travel. If you spend a lot of your time traveling, a cell phone is almost a necessity, and a landline or ViOP phone may simply an extra expense that you don’t actually need.
- Internet – If you don’t already have broadband access to the internet through cable or a DSL provider, then a ViOP phone is probably not an option for you, since this a prerequisite for this type of phone service.
- Compare all the pieces. The decision on what is the best choice for phone service can be a bit complicated. Compare costs with a variety of plans and providers, but also consider the quality of the service that you will be receiving, particularly when it comes to cell phones.
In the end, there is no right or wrong answer. Each household utilizes their phones differently. You may be able to purchase a cheaper plan on your cell phone if you have landline or ViOP that you utilize when you are at home. Do the math and decide which combination works best for how you utilize these types of communication services.