A guide to making free calls over the internet

With telephone service providers and mobile companies charging for calls per minute on top of monthly line rental or contract fees, it’s only natural for consumers to look around for the best deal for their telephonic needs. It may seem like a no-brainer, then, to switch to Voice over Internet Protocol – or VoIP – as an alternative. But what is VoIP, exactly?

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Internet calls

Sometimes referred to as a broadband or internet phone, VoIP allows users to speak directly to one another over the internet using their computers’ microphones and speakers. There’s usually no extra charge for the calls: an internet connection is all you need. As internet speeds to homes have improved, VoIP has become increasingly popular as cheap alternative to using landlines.

Since you can use your device to connect to the internet from any location, it doesn’t matter where you’re calling from or which country the person you’re talking to is located: the cost of each call will always be the same. For VoIP to VoIP calls, this is often free.

A VoIP termination provider or carrier such as will route calls from end to end, and many of these companies provide VoIP services in several formats. For example, the service can be from PC to PC, using messenger services such as Skype, or it can be a service involving a combination of networks, such as PC to telephone network, or telephone network to telephone network, where broadband is used via an adaptor.

There are still weaknesses associated with VoIP (such as bad connections and inferior clarity compared with landlines) so it’s unlikely that it will completely replace landlines just yet. However, as pointed out in a commentary by Investopedia, as internet bandwidth and speeds increase, VoIP becoming the main method of voice communication is inevitable.

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Landline or VoIP?

Quality of sound and connectivity aside, the differences between the services offered by the two types of communication networks vary greatly. Some VoIP providers don’t allow calls to emergency services, and there may be some restrictions on international calls to some countries. Line rental is still required for VoIP, and for this reason, the majority of users have VoIP in addition to their landline, using it for those calls where costs will be significantly cheaper.

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