Email, Messaging, & Video Calls Texting & Messaging Which VoIP Provider to Choose? Leave Your Landline Behind—Go With VoIP by Nadeem Unuth Freelance Contributor Nadeem Unuth is a former freelance contributor to Lifewire who specializes in information and communication technology with a focus on VoIP. our editorial process LinkedIn Nadeem Unuth Updated on June 24, 2019 Texting & Messaging Email Texting & Messaging Video Calls Tweet Share Email Using Voice Over IP protocol, you can make cheap or free phone calls locally and internationally. Subscribing to a VoIP service is one of the requirements to start using VoIP. For this, choose one among the many VoIP providers that offer different types of VoIP services. Some VoIP service companies provide equipment you use with a traditional landline; some services are in the form of apps for mobile devices, and some require only a computer with a high-speed internet connection. The type of service you choose depends on how you want to communicate and where. VoIP providers can be categorized as: Residential VoIP providersDevice-based VoIP providersSoftware-based VoIP providersMobile VoIP providersBusiness VoIP providers Residential VoIP Providers Consider a residential VoIP service if you want to replace your traditional home phone system with a VoIP phone system. This type of shift to VoIP communication is popular in the U.S. and Europe, where there are a number of VoIP providers of this type. In a residential VoIP service, you connect your existing phone set to your Wi-Fi modem using an adapter. You are billed monthly for your service either for unlimited service or for a specified number of minutes depending on the plan you choose. This is perfect for individuals who don't like change and are most comfortable with using a landline. Service providers for this service include Lingo and VoIP.com, among others. Device-Based VoIP Providers The services offered by device-based VoIP providers are called no-monthly-bill services. The company sells a device to you that you can use with your traditional phone system to make free calls within the U.S., thus making your monthly bill disappear. The box plugs into your existing phone equipment. No computer is necessary for the device to work, although you need a high-speed internet connection. Examples of this type of VoIP service include Ooma and MagicJack. Software-Based VoIP Providers Software-based VoIP services are the most common services worldwide. They very often work with a software application that emulates a phone called a softphone. The application can be used on a computer to place and receive calls, using the audio input and output device to talk and listen. Some software-based VoIP providers are web-based and instead of requiring the installation of an application, they offer the service through their web interface. The most prominent example of a software-based VoIP service is Skype. Mobile VoIP Providers Mobile VoIP providers are popping up like mushrooms since VoIP has invaded the mobile market, allowing millions of people to carry the power of VoIP in their pockets and make free and cheap calls wherever they are. You need a data plan of some kind unless you are connected to Wi-Fi. Skype, Viber, and WhatsApp are just a few of the apps available for mobile devices. Business VoIP Providers Many businesses, big and small, save huge amounts of money on communication and enjoy great features with VoIP. If your business is small, you can opt for the business plans of the residential VoIP providers. Otherwise, consider a top business VoIP solution. Among the providers of business-level VoIP are Vonage Business, Ring Central Office, and Broadvoice.