Low Cost VOIP Phone Services
Updated March 10, 2018
VOIP Home Phone Service
Traditional land line phone service typically comes with a high price tag or as part of a cable and internet bundle. VOIP phone services, which connect phone calls over the internet, are an economical option when you want to pay for phone service a la carte.
Google Voice provides google users a free phone number to make receive calls over the internet on a computer or mobile device. The benefits of Google's service are it's free for one number, texts and voicemails are transcribed and emailed to you, and you can consolidate calls to your cell phone. Each Google Voice number must be assigned to a cell phone with an active service plan.
To set up Google Voice, log into voice.google.com and follow the prompts.
If you want to keep your existing phone number but attach it to your Google Voice plan, you'll need to port your number for a one-time $20 fee. It's important to keep your existing service active until your number has been successfully ported, and check with your current provider to make sure there aren't any contract cancellation fees for canceling your service.
In your Google Voice account, you'll go through the steps labeled 'Change/Port' next to your Google Voice number.
This tutorial goes through the steps in more detail.
If you're happy with having all calls going to your cell phone (meaning calls to your cell number and calls to your home number), then that's it, no additional set up is needed and there are no monthly charges.
If you want to set up a home phone that rings when people call your home number, you'll need to buy an Obi Talk device to route calls to your home phone system.
The Obi Talk device will connect to your home internet router and route your Google Voice calls to your telephone handset (s). When the device arrives it will come with instructions to set up your Google Voice account and home phone devices.
Vonage is an alternative VOIP service with more bells and whistles than Google Voice. Service plans from Vonage start around $9.99 per month and can offer coverage worldwide.
Skype is well known for its low cost international calling rates. Skype users can make calls and pay as they go or sign up for a variety of subscription plans. With Skype To Go, you can also set up local numbers for people in other countries to reach you.