Is VoIP Always Cheaper?

Cases Where VoIP is Not Always Cheaper Than Traditional Phones

Man with headphones at desk, using computer for phone call.

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Is communicating through VoIP always cheaper than other traditional phone methods? Most of the time yes, but not always.

VoIP in itself is the alternative that cuts cost, because it leverages on the existing IP structure (e.g. the Internet) to channel 'packets of voice', as compared to the PSTN where a line has to be dedicated. As a result, most communicators who use VoIP for communicating do so mainly because it either makes the calls dirt cheap or squarely free.

How a VoIP Can Become More Expensive

However, while VoIP is a cheaper option, it requires certain conditions in order to deliver its worth. Often, failure to meet the basic requirements for a VoIP system finally it more expensive to communicate through VoIP than otherwise.

Many factors can make such a scenario happen, like the Internet connection (which can be expensive in certain circumstances), the hardware, mobility, the nature of the call, the distance, the service plan, government-imposed restrictions etc. So, whenever VoIP becomes more expensive, it is not the VoIP, itself, that is more expensive, but the use of it.

Here are some scenarios where VoIP won't be the cheapest communication method:

  • You need to invest in a $20 per month Internet connection in order to make free Skype calls on your computer. However, if you only make a handful of not-so-long calls, better grab your traditional phone.
  • You want to use your mobile phone to make free or cheap calls. For this, you need a 3G data plan, because Wi-Fi is limited in range. The plan can cost more than what you would pay had you made the calls through your GSM network.
  • There are Internet and Phone service providers that come with quite a lot, accompanying the Internet connection, including international calls. If you are planning on choosing a bundled service, it might be unnecessary to also invest in a VoIP.
  • You want to deploy VoIP in your small business and invest in costly phones and equipment, while your company doesn't really need it.
  • You pay for a VoIP package with a monthly fee of $25 (with Vonage, for example), and you use only a few of your unlimited number of minutes.
  • You register with the wrong type of VoIP service or plan. You end up either using much less than what you get, squandering most of what you pay for, or use more than what you're entitled to, thereby increasing your expenditure on minutes above what the package offers.

There are plenty of other reasons in which using VoIP might yield a result contrary to the intention. Think and plan well before engaging in a VoIP subscription, hardware, or habit. It is important to be well informed.