VoIP over 3G - Is It Worth?

When Making VoIP Calls over 3G Isn’t Always Cheaper

iPad 3G running on 3
JaredEarle/Flikr/CC BY 2.0

We know VoIP's worth as a means of cutting down communication cost, so the question is not on VoIP's worth but rather on that of using 3G for it. Is it worth paying for a 3G data plan for VoIP calls? Everyone knows VoIP calls can be very cheap when they are not free, but are they still cheap compared to traditional GSM calls when they are made using 3G connectivity? If 3G gets expensive, does it not defeat the purpose of cutting down the cost of communication?

Let's see some examples. With the coming of the iPad, many are asking themselves whether they will choose the Wi-Fi version or the 3G version, the latter being naturally more expensive. What could be even more expensive is the 3G data plan, but it is said that Apple worked out with AT&T what they call 'a deal that beats anything else'. It is $14.99 a month for up to 250MB or $29.99 a month for unlimited data. That's supposed to be the cheapest on the market. Now add to that the cost of VoIP calls themselves, plus the worry of owning a 3G device together with coverage issues.

We can't conclude on a single idea like 'no, it isn't worth' or 'yes, it is'. Using 3G for VoIP has to be compared to other means of communication, like simple cellular GSM, and some factors have to be considered like the frequency or calls, their lengths, the main reason of having a 3G plan, and whether the plan has a limit or is unlimited.

For heavy callers, it could be worth it, but only on an unlimited 3G plan, i.e. without increasing the 3G expenditure over increased bandwidth consumption. Because with a limited data package, each additional megabyte above the threshold increases the cost. A site made a poll under the title “How Much 3G Data Is Your Smartphone Using?” and the results showed that 2 persons over 3 use above 250 MB on their 3G connection, with nearly a third using more than 1 GB.

If along with the VoIP rates you have to pay for additional megabytes of 3G connectivity, your bill could be very salty.

3G over VoIP could also be worth for those who already use 3G for other stuff, like games, the Web etc., and for whom VoIP calling doesn't require a plan for itself. On the other hand, I personally would not go for a 3G plan for making international VoIP calls because I don't make enough calls to cover the cost of the plan.

We'd like to hear your 3G experience with VoIP. Have you found it worth making VoIP Calls over 3G or Not? Share with us.