If you are no longer on contract or your current contract is due to expire you can opt to upgrade your existing plan or switch networks. Depending on the service provider, you can retain your existing mobile phone number and purchase a new handset at a subsidised price.
New handset not working?
If your new handset is not working, take it back to your dealer within the week for a free swap.
New handsets that don't work are known in the industry as a DOA - a phone that arrives in store “Dead On Arrival”. They should not be sold to a customer.
Dealers usually have 30 days to return a phone that is DOA. Once sold there is a small period of time where the phone can be swapped free of charge if it experiences an Early Life Failure or ELF. This varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but can be as little as 7 days and as much as 30 days. ELF swaps are not network-related, they are direct to the manufacturer.
New phone - Choose the right mobile
10 simple steps to follow
1. Write down all the functions you would like to receive from your mobile phone or plan.
2. Be prepared to explain to the salesperson what you want, not what they want to sell you.
3. Don't ask for extras that you don't need, all extras will be charged for one way or another.
4. List the time of day you will make calls and approximately how many so that you can compare Peak and Off-peak charges.
5. Purchase pre-paid cards for children to minimize the risk of unexpected high bills.
6. If two different plans are of equal value, and one is charged at one second increments. And the other is charged at thirty second increments, choose the one second plan.
7. If you intend to swap SIM cards make sure your phone is not SIMLOCKED and can only take your service provider cards.
8. Contracts are not always what are explained to you, check the details thoroughly before you sign.
9. If you sign for a no contract plan you will be able to take advantage of special deals as they are offered.
10. Monitor your phone bills closely.
New plans - are $0 handsets fair dinkum?
There's no such thing as a 'free' phone offered as part of a plan. The service provider is simply allowing you to purchase a handset at a nil or minimal charge in return for signing a contract to remain connected with the network for a certain period of time. This is called handset subsidisation.
However, the trend of offering subsidised handsets with plans is actually being phased out by the networks (Telstra, Optus and Vodafone). So far the service providers are still offering subsidised handsets with plans but there is no certainty on whether this will continue or for how long.
If you're looking to upgrade your mobile and are happy to commit to a service provider for a specified time frame (at least 12 months), it may be worth considering taking advantage of a low cost phone and plan offer in the near future (just in case the other service providers decide to stop subsidising handsets too!).
New plans - Arm yourself with the right knowledge
Prepare yourself before dealing with telephone companies by getting to know some of the more common terms used in the industry. It can be very frustrating dealing with telecommunications customer service representatives if they are using jargon you don't understand. Visit our Glossary /Jargon section to learn the latest terms.
New plans - Don't forget the extras
When choosing a mobile plan you need to take into consideration the coverage provided by the network, value-added services such as street directions, share alert services, email notifications, data/fax facilities, international roaming and any other services you may require. It may also be worthwhile considering connecting to the same service provider as your most frequently called mobile numbers as calling numbers on the same network often attracts lower call rates than calling numbers on different networks. You may also want to seek recommendations from family, friends or work colleagues who are satisfied with the service they receive from their own service provider.
New plans - What to consider
A lot of consumers make the mistake of shopping on price alone when there are so many other variables that differentiate plans and service providers from one another.
Coverage does vary across the networks, not only in spread but also in quality such as the number of dropouts and strength of in-building coverage. If you are not receiving calls due to coverage issues and people are leaving voicemail messages for you instead, this will result in you wasting money because you not only have to access your voicemail but also return the call as well. And if you’re constantly having to ring back due to calls dropping out, you’re up for the flag fall fee each time.
Service providers may also offer different value-added services such as street directions, share alert services and e-mail notifications which may be important to you.
It's also worthwhile checking out the special rates offered for calling other mobiles on the same network. If you tend to call the same people alot it may be cost effective to connect to the same network.
In short, in most instances you do get what you pay for so it’s important to know what you want before making a decision.
A lot of first time customers think of themselves as emergency users only and will sign up for a plan with the lowest monthly access fee and high call rates. This sort of plan is fine for those users who do in fact only use their mobile every once in a while however many "emergency" users do find themselves using their mobile alot more than at first anticipated and end up receiving fairly hefty phone bills. The average mobile phone bill is actually over $50 per month.
As well as the cost of the plan, the coverage provided by the network should also be considered. After all, if your car breaks down late at night and you’re in the middle of nowhere and have no coverage, you may just regret having made a price only based decision!
Very high users
Because very high users tend to be business customers, services such as data/fax facilities, international roaming and share alerts may be more important. Very high users may benefit from seeking recommendations from other business users who are satisfied with their network and the service they recieve.
Save money - 'Preselection' and 'Override'
In today's confusing world of deregulated telecommunications preselection and override are probably the two most important things home-phone subscribers need to understand.
Getting familiar with these terms will not only help reduce the cost of your bills but also ensure you are armed with the right knowledge when dealing with telephone companies.
Most of us got used to having the one telephone company supplying all our phone services for many years, but now preselection and override are the two ways we can take advantage of the many choices of phone companies in order to save money.
Customers who 'preselect' one telephone company are choosing it as the basic provider of their call services.
In most cases however, once you have preselected one provider it is still possible to make calls via other service providers by use of 'override' codes. This involves adding a four-digit prefix to the number you dial which redirects your call via another company. In this way, consumers can get the best of both worlds; preselect the phone company that offers the best rates overall to suit your call patterns, then take advantage of special offers or better individual rates as they become available from other providers.
Most telephone companies offer lower rates for each of their local, long distance, and international landline services to their pre-selected customers than available to casual override customers.
Save money - Are capped plans right for you?
Capped plans can be a great deal for consumers, and there are many to choose from.
But you have to choose carefully, because many Capped plans have undesirable strings attached.
PhoneChoice recommends you check carefully when choosing a capped plan:
No Contracts: Does the plan require you to sign a contract? A contract will lock you in for a fixed period, which means you can’t change plans if a better deal comes along.
Handset Contract: Do you have to sign a contract to get the handset you want? You should be able to bring-your-own handset if you wish.
Network locking (SIM lock): Is the handset locked to a single network? You will have to pay a considerable fee to free up the handset for other networks.
No penalty for pre-pay: Does the rate change if you go from post-pay to pre-pay? You should be able to choose your preferred payment method without incurring higher rates for pre-pay.
What’s under that cap?: Does the Cap cover all the services you want to use? Apart from talk-time, think about SMS, Voicemail, even international calls. Are these covered by your Cap?
Per-second billing: Many provider bill in 30-second blocks, which means a 31-second call can cost as much as a 59-second call. PhoneChoice regards per-second billing as fairer, because you only pay for what you use.
You can browse capped plans at PhoneChoice on this link.
Save money - Beware of automatic re-dial costs
If you choose the automatic re-dial option you will be charged for a connection fee for each valid connection. Ensure that you have the correct phone number, username and password before you use the automatic re-dial option. Otherwise you will be paying for the call cost if you don't log on correctly. We suggest you allow for three consecutive attempts at automatic re-dial, after which you should try manually yourself. Otherwise you will get an unexpected surprise on your phone bill. When you receive the invoice, the charges of your Internet service will be separate to your call cost charges. Customers should be aware that it is an additional charge to ring your ISP and these charges will be included on your phone bill.
Save money - Don't get 'Slammed'!
Also known, as “slamming” is an illegal act of switching a customer’s telephone company without permission or knowledge of the customer. Subject to contractual obligations, a customer has the right to choose their telephone company and to change telephone company, as they desire. The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) has set up a series of guidelines to help consumers when they have been the victims of such activities. Read the ACA's article, Don't get "Slammed!".
Save money - Fixed to Mobile calls
Increased competition between service providers has made it easy to overlook fixed to mobile calls as consumers are often enticed by advertisements for cheaper local and international calls. If you make a lot of calls from your home phone to a mobile you need to watch the calls you make or you may get an unexpected surprise when your bill arrives at the end of the month.
When choosing to pre-select, a customer might only look at the cost of a local call or the cost for a call to their most frequently dialed overseas destination and ignore fixed to mobile calls altogether. Calls made from your home phone to a mobile phone can get expensive. It costs more to call someone from a fixed line to a mobile phone than to call someone across Australia and to popular destinations around the globe.
When choosing to pre-select to a telephone company for your long distance calls or pre-select local calls which also includes long distance services, keep in mind that this will include national calls, international calls and calls made to a mobile phone, more commonly known as fixed to mobile calls. This means, you cannot pre-select to a single component, for example, by pre-selecting fixed to mobile calls only.
National and International pre-selection have been around for a number of years, but fixed to mobile pre-selection has only been around for a little over a year and a half and simply adds to your long distance pre-selection.
Due to technical reasons a customer can only pre-select to one service provider at a time. If a customer wishes to use alternative telephone companies they may do so by using the override codes for some of their calls. Your pre-selected service provider will bill you for all of your calls. However, if you use the override service of alternative companies you will receive a separate bill for the calls you make using their override code. Subject to contractual obligations, if you are not happy with the fixed to mobile rates offered by your pre-selected service provider, you can pre-select to another service provider for all your calls without being charged.
There is no charge applicable to the use of override codes but you need to register with the telephone company first if you wish to use their override service.
Most service providers only offer one set of rates for fixed to mobile calls, which are available to their pre-selected and non pre-selected customers. Some service providers offer flat rates which means the rate is the same 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; others offer separate rates for peak and off peak hours and/or cheaper rates for calls using the same network.
Save money - Keep an eye on your fixed to mobile charges
Fixed to mobile call charges have not come down greatly under competition with telcos generating healthy revenue from fixed to mobile calls. Many consumers focus on the price of international and local calls but would do well to consider how much they spend on fixed to mobile calls - it costs more to call someone around the corner on a mobile than to make a landline call to London.
Save money - Know what you are paying for
Whilst the price of a call cost alone can be enticing, make sure you are aware of other fees and charges associated with the plan such as monthly access or line rental fees. The difference in line rental fees alone can vary from around $18.00 to $37.00 per month.
Save Money - Landline substitution
If you’re thinking of substituting your landline for a product such as combined local & mobile handsets, capped plans or a VoIP plan, there are a few things to ask your provider before you make the switch:
PhoneChoice landline substitution checklist
- 000 Emergency calls. PhoneChoice recommends that consumers ensure their landline-substitute provider has implemented address-checking procedures with emergency services.
- Calls during a blackout. If you are going to be without a landline altogether, first ensure your substitute handset can still operate without mains power.
- Adequate voice quality. The landline-substitute product must deliver adequate voice quality. Test the product first to ensure you are happy with the reception.
- After sales support and service. PhoneChoice considers that consumers should look for a well-established landline substitute provider that offers technical support and service in Australia.
- No contract required. It should not be compulsory to sign a contract to use your landline-substitute product.
- Can people call you cheaply? When people call a household from a landline, they expect to pay landline call rates. Check whether it is possible for people to ring your household at landline rates.
- Local number. Landline substitute providers should offer consumers a local number to make it easy for people to call you cheaply.
- Broadband alternatives. If your household uses ADSL broadband, you will need to implement an alternative broadband connection before disconnecting the landline. You can find details about the different kinds of broadband connections available in our Broadband Section.
Save money - Minimise calls during peak periods
You can save on your phone bill simply by making most of your calls during off peak periods also taking advantage of capped STD call rates in the evenings. There is a significant difference between calling at peak times and off peak times as the call rates are more than doubled in some cases. If you are cost conscious then make most of the calls during off peak periods and limit the time you spend on the phone by keeping your conversations short.
Save money - Monitor your bills closely
Watch out for charges for services you've never requested that mysteriously appear on your bill. Also known as "cramming", it is the illegal practice of billing a customer for services they never requested. Make sure you check your bill carefully when you receive it and if there are any charges for services you didn't consent to, contact your phone company immediately.
Save money - per-second billing
Check what billing increment you are on. Mobile calls are usually charged at either per second or per 30 second increments. Generally speaking if the rate charged for both per second and per 30 second billing is the same, per second billing is fairer, because you only pay for what you use.
Per second billing means you are only charged for the actual time you talk whereas if you are on per 30 second billing and you make a 45 second call, you will be charged for 1 minute.
Save money - Phone cards
Read our latest news article on using phone cards.
Save money - Purchase your own home phone
Purchase your own phone so you do not pay rental charges for the phone you use at home. It would save you $2.75 per month or $33 over a year covering the purchase cost of your own handset. You will be responsible for the maintenance of your phone but over time you will be saving money on handset rental charges.
Save money - Read the terms and conditions before signing
The Australian Communications & Media Authority (ACMA) has imposed heavy penalties on service providers who do not provide their customers with clear and concise terms and conditions for their products and services. It is a condition with some service providers that a customer authorises a direct debit from a bank account or for payment to be made by credit card. Other providers will give you this as an option but will charge you an administration fee for the cost of sending out an invoice each month. Always read the conditions, including the fine print, and make sure you understand all aspects of the contract before signing it.
Save money - Take advantage of specials
It's important to stay on top of your plan and be aware of any specials your service provider may offer at various times. Special offers such as free SMS, low maximum call charges or special long distance rates are some of the more common specials offered. Service providers will often advertise on television, in the newspapers or via their website so check these sources regularly to take advantage of any special offers.
Save money - Tips for your mobile bill
1. If you are calling a landline number, use a landline wherever possible.
2. Carry a payphone card and look around for a payphone as an alternative to using your mobile phone.
3. Use SMS (text messages) for short messages to other mobiles. This is a fixed cost per message.
4. Check for off-peak call specials on your particular plan and take advantage of these. There are often free or very cheap calls between numbers on the same networks at night or on weekends so it's worth knowing which network your friends and family are on. Check the Phonechoice mobile Bill Calculator to find out which prefixes (first four digits of the phone number) belong to which network. You may need to ring your service provider to make sure you are registered for specials. These specials can change from time to time so try and stay on top of what the current specials being offered are.
5. Check whether you are on per second or per thirty second billing. With some networks you can request to be switched to per second billing without changing plans, which can save you big money. For example if you are being charged per 30 seconds and you speak for 31 seconds you will actually be charged for 60 seconds.
Save money - Use SMS as an alternative
Try sending a Short Message Service (SMS) text message on your mobile phone as an alternative to making a call and getting charged a call rate plus a flagfall rate (in most circumstances). SMS is charged at a rate per message regardless of length. SMS has become a very popular feature for mobile users but excessive use can add to your phone bill substantially.
Save money - Voicemail
Voicemail messages can be expensive to retrieve. Here are some ways to keep the cost down: 1. Clear any old voicemail messages from your voicemail feature so that you won't be wasting airtime and money listening to old messages. 2. Pick up voicemail messages using a landline; it's much cheaper (your service provider can assist you with the dial-in number for this). 3. If many of your messages are just 'call me back', then you may not need voicemail at all. You can ask your service provider to switch off voicemail. This means that, instead of leaving a message, the call will ring out; and the caller ID of who you missed will display on your screen. It's as good as leaving a message, and it costs you nothing! 4. Tell your carrier to set the call diversion time to longer than the default (usually 15 seconds). This gives you longer to answer the phone, so you won't miss a call that goes to voicemail that is expensive to retrieve.
Techncial - Separate lines for phone and internet
You can avoid disruption to your phone calls by installing a second line for your internet service. Monthly fees and call charges would apply. For installation on your second line a visit from a Telstra network technician would cost you around $55 call-out fee and then around $16.50 for 15 minutes of labour.
Technical - Apply online to save time
You will no doubt have to contact the call centre and speak to a customer representative at some stage but you can avoid the frustration of being placed on hold via the call center and save yourself the ‘run-around’ by applying online via your preferred service provider’s website. You can download the application form from the website without having to wait for it to be delivered via “snail-mail”, and then fax or mail your application to your service provider for processing.
Technical - Broadband guide
What is broadband?
In everyday use, "Broadband" is a catch-all term for any internet connection that is faster than the traditional dial-up modem speed of 56 Kbps.
There are some important things to consider when choosing a plan:
Most plans require you to purchase and install some hardware equipment up-front, and in most cases you won't be able to use this equipment with other service providers. This makes it doubly important to choose the provider that's right for you from the start, because changing providers means you will probably have to buy their equipment too. Also, if you don't feel confident about installing the equipment yourself, check with the provider the costs of any technical support to help get you started.
What broadband is available in my area?
Not all kinds of connection are available in all areas. Your provider may have to test your existing equipment to see what kind of link they can offer you. This is a normal procedure that should be covered as part of the installation cost, and they should in most cases be able to test your connection remotely, without the need for a house call.
The need for speed
Most plans are a fixed-monthly price, which is helpful for budget planning. Our advice is to choose the fastest speed you can comfortably afford in your monthly budget. The reason is that once you start using broadband, you will find there are many features on the internet you will want to use that were unavailable at the slower speeds - and having a fast connection will help you take advantage of these.
Check that the monthly download limit suits your usage, because you may have to pay extra or suffer a speed-limit (called 'shaping') if you go over the limit. Divide the monthly limit by thirty to get the daily average usage; and allow plenty of "headroom" because you will start downloading larger files using broadband than you would ever have contemplated with dial-up.
Technical - bundle your services
If you do not want the hassle of receiving multiple phone bills from the different phone companies you subscribe to, you may want to consider bundling your services with one telephone company. Besides receiving a single bill which makes payment much easier, you will also be able to customise your services to suit your requirements and may even be offered lower call rates and/or discounts for bundling.
Technical - Divert calls or message bank when using dial-up internet
On a normal copper telephone line, you can use the same phone line to connect your Internet service as you use for calls, but you will not be able to receive incoming calls at the same time. To work around this, send all your calls through to an answering service called Message Bank, which is accessible from anywhere and anytime in Australia by using a free toll number. Message Bank is an extra cost of $5.50 per month. You can also divert all calls from your landline to your mobile phone or tell your friends and family to call you on your mobile phone if they can’t get through.
Technical - Go ‘hands-free’ if radiation worries you
As yet there is no substantiated scientific evidence that using mobile phones or living near a mobile phone base station can cause adverse health effects. However, if you are concerned about the possible health risks consider purchasing a smaller handset that operates at lower power levels. You could also use an earpiece, commonly known as a 'hands-free kit', so that you don't have the handset close to your head.
Technical - How do I switch service providers?
When making the switch a customer should notify both service providers to ensure all relevant paper work is processed, although often a preferred service provider will forward notification to the current service provider on the customer’s behalf. We also recommend the customer monitor the processing of paperwork to ensure it is been completed correctly or you may still be receiving bills from your previous service provider and are charged at their call rate.
Technical - How does a mobile phone work?
A mobile phone is basically a radio transmitting and receiving device, similar to a walkie-talkie. It operates on a higher radio frequency for more power and better call clarity than a walkie talkie. When a call signal leaves your phone it travels to the nearest "cell tower". These towers are located in specific proximity to each other within a service area (closer together in built-up areas to handle more call traffic in cities). These towers form "cells" which are linked together. Your phone must be in the range of one of these cells to be able to receive or transmit a call.
From the cell tower your signal is then forwarded to the "Central Call Centre". The call is transferred to a fixed line network if it is going either to a fixed line or overseas, or if you are calling another mobile the call signal will go out to the cell tower closest to the receiving mobile.
Technical - How long does it take to get connected?
The connection period refers to the time taken by a carrier to connect you to a service and/or transfer details from one service provider to another.From the initial call to a customer service operator or upon receipt of your application form, the connection period can vary with each company from one day to a couple of weeks. If a customer has an existing line with Telstra, then the connection period is relatively short. If however, a customer does not have an existing line in their home it will take longer as a Telstra technician will need to install a line (or connection).
Technical - How to Override
You can change from one company to another on a call-by-call basis by inserting a four-digit override code before your calls. Each provider has its own override code. There are no charges for using an override service but remember customers will be charged the higher standard call rates rather than pre-selected rates. Override can save you money if at any time the standard rates of alternative companies are lower than the pre-selected rates of your preferred company.
Here are some things to be aware of before you override:
* Check with your pre-selected telephone company about any restrictions on the use of override codes with other companies.
* Don’t use the override code for local calls, unless you are required to by your alternative telephone company in order to take advantage of their rates. Otherwise you will be charged for a timed local call or long distance rates.
* Be prepared to receive more than one bill from your preferred telephone company and alternative companies you’ve used for overrides.
Technical - How to Pre-select
If you nominate a phone company as your 'pre-selected' provider, you must complete a 'Authority to Transfer' application form ensuring you only pre-select one telephone company at a time. The form gives the telephone company of your choice authorisation to change your connection over to them.
Now it gets more complicated. You can either pre-select a telephone company for all your calls, local and long distance, or pre-select just for long distance calls with your local calls provided by Telstra.
If choosing the latter, you will receive two separate bills; one from Telstra for your local calls which will also include the monthly line rental and service and equipment charges. The other bill will come from your chosen telephone company for your long distance calls.
If you decide to pre-select, first:
* Ask if there are any restrictions on the use of override codes for alternative companies
* Check that one or more companies can be used for your long distance calls
* Read the company's terms and conditions on preselection and make sure you understand them before signing the Authority to Transfer
* Follow-up on the processing of your application form. Delays could mean an unexpectedly large bill at the end of the month from your old telephone company.
Technical - Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
PhoneChoice has compiled the following guide to number portability; how it works, your rights, issues to be aware of, and how to make the most of it:
How MNP works
To take advantage of mobile number portability, tell your new service provider you wish to retain the same phone number at the time you sign up with them.
You will be asked to give your authorisation either by signing a form, sending an e-mail message or giving a verbal authorisation over the phone which will be recorded. Identification such as a driver's licence, birth certificate or the account number of your existing service will also be required.
Australian Communications Authority guidelines require that your number be transferred from your old to your new provider within three hours of receiving the proper authorisation.
'Portability' relates to the number only - changing providers means a new plan and a new set of terms, conditions and charges.
If still on a contract, it will be much cheaper for you to wait until that contract expires before changing providers. Otherwise you will be liable for termination charges - disconnection fees and the outstanding monthly access fees.
Only a connected number can be ported to another service provider so don't cancel your connection with your existing provider until you have arranged to 'port' the number over to your new carrier.
You may be charged a fee for taking your number to another service provider. Make sure you check with both your old and new provider about any charge and weigh this against any potential savings from your new provider.
Providers are now trying to lock in customers for as long as possible because number portability makes it easier for you to switch service providers. Contracts are now anywhere from 12 months to 30 months. Make sure you are aware of the length of the contract before you commit and make sure you are comfortable with it.
Don't be lured into purchasing a new handset if you are satisfied with the one you've got. Changing providers does not require changing your handset as well. Take a 'SIM Only' plan and put your new provider's SIM card into your old phone. The only time you will need to purchase a new handset is if you are changing between the GSM and CDMA networks.
It may not be possible to receive SMS text messages sent from overseas to mobile numbers that have been transferred from one service provider to another. This is because local carriers often use different international roaming partners.
Number portability is also available to those people using a pre-paid service. However, if you have purchased a handset as part of a pre-paid deal it may be 'SIM-locked', ie. only useable with a SIM card from the original service provider. It may cost you up to $150 to have it unlocked.
Pre-paid customers will lose any unused credits when changing providers. By all means use them up first, but be aware of the time limits that apply to pre-paid renewals. If you don't renew credits on a prepaid service within a certain time frame you lose your number so make sure you switch providers before this time limit runs out (2 mths - 1 yr).
Your rights and obligations
Remember, when changing providers you will still be liable for any outstanding call charges with your old provider. You will have to pay a 'final' bill.
Service providers should treat all customers the same. Offers and features available to new customers must be available to ported-number subscribers, with the exception of SMS text messaging (see above).
The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) oversees the industry and has the responsibility for seeing that MNP is implemented by the carriers and service providers according to the guidelines. For more information call the ACA on 1800 351 135.
Technical - VoIP guide
What should you look for in a VoIP provider?
-Emergency Services. Ensure your VoIP provider has procedures in place to handle 000 Emergency calls.
-No contract. If possible, choose a VoIP plan that doesn't lock you into a fixed-term contract. This leaves you free to change plans if a better deal comes along.
-Live technical support.? Ask if you VoIp provider offers technical support, with real people you can speak to if you get stuck (not just an email address).
-Australian provider. Choose a VoIP company that is based in Australia, to ensure you are protected by Australian consumer and telecommunications laws.
-Voicemail included. If your VoIP provider will include Voicemail in your plan, this will save you a lot compared with landline or mobile voicemail.
VoIP - coming to a phone near you?
Voice over IP (VoIP) makes it possible to route the voice signal over data pipelines normally reserved for internet traffic, instead of over traditional fixed lines.
This usually results in lower costs, especially for long-distance calls. Because the internet protocol is a much more efficient way to transmit data than a traditional landline, the cost to the networks is much lower, and they can pass this on to the consumer in the form of lower rates.
VoIP is at its most competitive (effectively free) where you, and the person you are calling, are either on the same private network, a broadband connection, or within a local call of your nearest VoIP exchange (point of presence, or POP).
What do you need to use VoIP?
Home users need a permanent broadband internet connection, such as ADSL, wireless or cable internet. You can then make calls through a normal handset plugged into a special adapter, or directly through your PC using VoIP software.
Home users should factor in the costs of maintaining a permanent broadband connection when considering whether VoIP is the best option for them.
Corporate users that have an intranet, private network or several branches can reduce their intra-company voice calls using VoIP. The voice calls you would normally make to your colleagues can be carried over the company’s network infrastructure, for virtually no incremental cost.
Many users report the sound quality of VoIP calls isn’t always as high or consistent as standard calls; somewhat like the small echoes or delays one would experience when making international calls 15-20 years ago. However, this doesn’t seem to bother those who are making big savings with VoIP.
You should also ask your VoIP provider whether they offer support for 000 Emergency calls and whether their service is available in a blackout. Not all VoIP providers can do this, so keep your landline on, just in case!