VoIP Service Provider A vs. VoIP Service Provider B

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While doing research on the Internet, I realized that most people are absolutely confused when it comes to selecting a VoIP or broadband phone service provider.

I can’t say I blame them either, when you consider that there are now thousands of companies out there with as many different service plans.

What I often come across though, is the question “Is company A better than company B?”. To be honest I have no idea how to answer that question. All I can offer is a simple guideline that can help you discover the answer for yourself. Here it is.

1) Where is the company located?

Does the location of the company matter? Perhaps not, if the service provider is located in the same country as you are. However, if you have been offered VoIP or broadband phone services offered by foreign companies, it probably WILL matter.

The danger in subscribing to companies that don’t have a presence in your country, legalities aside, is the quality of the service. Imagine making a call from Malaysia to your friend in Singapore. Now imagine your call being routed all the way to the US or Australia before it is routed back to Singapore to complete the call. Physically, this takes less than a second, but the consequences are sometimes obvious.

More often than not, you get a delay in your call. If you understand communication, you’ll understand than even a one second delay before hearing a YES or OK can make all the difference in your sales talk or discussion. The solution?

Make sure your VoIP service provider has at least a few gateways located in your region, and most importantly, your country. This would reduce the distance the call is carried and usually result in better call quality.

2) Are the call plans unique?

All VoIP service providers out there suffer from the same symptom – the need to differentiate themselves. That’s the reason why you get 100 different plans from 10 different companies. Understand, though, that they are all basically the same thing.

So if water is water, how do you choose when you flip open the refrigerator door in that 7-11 store? Is it the color of the bottle or the price?

The same question can be asked when choosing a VoIP plan. Choose what appeals to you, but don’t get carried away by all the “Unlimited calls” talk. Understand that any VoIP provider worth their salt can offer you unlimited calls from one ATA (analog telephone adapter) to another ATA that they own, for free. However, consider this – how many people you know are using an ATA from the same company you are?

Making unlimited calls to regular phones, though, is an entirely different ball game. Not everyone can offer you this. Vonage for example, can offer you unlimited calls in their business package, to US only. For unlimited calling to Asian countries, the only company I know of that can do this is TelExtreme. Here’s a complete “VoIP A vs. VoIP B” type of comparison chart if you really need it: http://www.mybusinessvoip.com/compare

3) Quality – who owns the technology?

I am not an advocate of buying from the company that everyone is buying from. You know, companies like Vonage and AT&T CallVantage. I’m not an advocate of “following the crowd”, but in some cases, the crowd may have a point.

Most of the smaller VoIP providers don’t own the technology. Why should they, when they can get the whole deal at wholesale, and all they need to do is put their brand on it? This works for the short term. For the long term, however, such companies have no way of ensuring the stability or quality of their service.

Bottom line – find out if the VoIP service provider owns any, or all, of the technology behind the service they provide. A “cut and paste” company comprising of different ATA manufacturers, different call routers and different gateway providers may not survive in a few years when the VoIP industry matures. You can count on that!

4) What’s in store for the future?

In plain words, why spend on a VoIP provider that is limited to just making calls, especially when many of them already have video and data applications in the works? Packet8 already has their own video & voice over IP plan, and many others will follow suit. “Triple Play” as it is called, will soon be available, so make sure that your VoIP service provider has this in store for you. More importantly, it should be available at little or no extra cost.

Gobala Krishnan is the author of the best-selling WordPress Adsense System and also a niche-blogging specialist. Master WordPress as marketing weapon now at www.EasyWordpress.com

VoIP Service Provider A vs. VoIP Service Provider B
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