Home Phone Service Plans
If you are still using a traditional telephone service provider for home phone service, there is a good chance that you are paying too much for it.
There are many residential phone services available, so if you are dissatisfied with the service that you are using now (or you think you might be paying too much for phone service), don’t feel trapped.
We want you be aware of all of the alternative telephone services that are available. May we draw your attention to:
- VoIP telephone service
- Cable telephone service
- Wireless service
These plans vary in cost, and each has its own pros and cons. Use the table below to compare home phone service providers and plans, and then read on to learn about different residential phone service options.
VoIP for Home Phone Service
VoIP is very popular for home phone service because it is cheap and works well. Many VoIP service providers have specifically-designed residential VoIP plans. Residential VoIP is cheaper than business VoIP because it doesn’t offer all of the same services as business VoIP plans. Most VoIP companies assume, rightly, that you won’t need most business-class features in your home.
With a VoIP service provider, domestic calling is usually unlimited. On its most inexpensive plan, VoIPo charges $6.21 a month for a residential plan that includes unlimited domestic calling. When compared to traditional home phone services, residential VoIP can save you a lot of money. For example, the basic AT&T One Rate plan costs $5.00/month; all domestic calls (local, in-state long distance,and local toll) cost $0.07/minute in addition to your monthly fee.
And with most VoIP providers, you can call anyone who is using the same VoIP provider for free. It’s not the same with AT&T landlines; you are charged for each call.
VoIP providers are able to stay cheap because of how VoIP works. The technology and infrastructure of the system allows for your provider to send calls quickly and inexpensively.
VoIP has very few requirements and VoIP service is easy to install in your home.
In order to make calls, you can use:
- IP phones
- Your computer
- An Internet-capable mobile device
- An adapter for your analog phones
You then connect those phones to your Internet connection through your router. Once you have installed VoIP service to your home, you will be able to make VoIP calls on any of these devices.
Many residential VoIP plans, like Phone Power for example, include at least 2 phone lines, so that two people can make calls at the same time in your home. If you need to add any extra phone lines or phones, just tell your VoIP provider, and plug in the phone.
Cable Telephone Providers
Your cable television provider provides cable telephone service. Cable telephone service allows you to combine your phone bill, telephone bill, and Internet bill into one. This is called ‘bundling.’
With a cable phone service, your analog phones are connected to cable. The cable system then routes the calls to the PSTN, or the public switched telephone network. The PSTN is the infrastructure of the traditional telephone companies.
Cable telephone providers are fairly cost effective. With Comcast, a basic telephone plan costs $24.95/month. This includes unlimited local calling, but there are rates for long distance domestic and international calling. International rates vary based on the plan you choose. The Comcast Carefree Minutes Worldwide 300 costs $14.95/month for 300 International minutes. The cost of extra minutes depends on the country you call. A call to a landline in Japan, for example, should cost about $0.09/minute with Comcast.
Installation of a cable telephone service is fairly easy, but will require a bit more wiring than some other telephone services.
For many people, a landline is optional; they depend entirely on their cell phones. With a cell phone as your main home phone service, it is easy to be mobile, and to keep your bills a little bit lower by only paying for one phone service, rather than for both cell phone and landline service.
Cell phones are a digital technology, but they are generally serviced with a traditional telephone provider. This means that the rates for cell phone plans are just as costly as landline plans from traditional telephone providers. For example, with AT&T, a cellular prepaid plan costs $40.00/month for 500 minutes. There are additional costs for data storage.
And cell phone service is not as reliable as landline service. You have probably experienced this already if you’ve ever had trouble getting a signal on your cell phone. This can be a problem, especially in emergencies. For example, if you were injured and needed to call a relative or an ambulance, you could be completely incapacitated by a bad cell phone signal.
Traditional Telephone Service
Even though you are probably most familiar with traditional telephone service, it isn’t likely to be your best bet for cheap home phone service. Traditional telephone service providers use analog technology, which can be slow and expensive. If you use a traditional telephone service provider for your home phone, there’s a good chance that you are paying too much.
Right now, AT&T has a home phone plan called the Unlimited Plus Plan, with unlimited domestic calling for $32.99/month. When compared with other services, especially VoIP home phone services, this rate is very high.