Internet phone service: Everything you need to know before you switch

Robin Layton

Mar 21, 2024 — 3 min read

Internet calling is easy to set up, often plugging right into your modem.

Gone are the days of having only one telephone service provider offering only one phone service. Today, there are multiple providers offering many different ways for us to connect over the phone — traditional landline service, cellular mobile service and internet phone service, to name a few.

While you’re probably familiar with traditional landline phones and cell phones, internet phone service is still relatively new and didn’t start to take hold until the mid-2000s.

Here’s what you need to know…

What is internet telephone for home?

Internet telephone (sometimes called Voice over Internet Protocol, or VoIP) is a phone service that connects via the internet through an internet modem instead of a traditional landline. Keep in mind, most are formatted to work only with cable or DSL modems.

To establish the connection, connect an adapter from the VoIP provider to your modem that translates your voice into data packets sent over the internet. For that reason, an internet connection is a necessity, which you can get from any available provider in your area. Most of the VoIP plans require a touchtone phone as well.

The pros and cons of VoIP

In addition to standard local and long-distance calling, some of the pros of internet calling include:

  • Cost-effective: Many VoIP home phone plans start around $9/mo. and providers may offer discounts for bundling phone service with internet.

  • Advanced features: Internet calling can have advanced features like Call Forwarding to a mobile phone, Caller ID on your TV, telemarketing blocking, voicemail transcription and more.

  • Competitive international rate: Some VoIP providers offer calls to Europe for pennies per minute.

  • Power outages: Unlike a traditional landline which uses designated copper lines, when your power goes out, your internet phone service will go out since it’s connected through your modem.

  • Varying 911 support – While internet phone service providers do offer 911 support, it may not be as reliable as a traditional landline because the calls are routed differently.

VoIP vs. a landline phone

Landline phone service brings a dedicated line from a telephone pole or buried cable into your home. AT&T, Verizon, Xfinity, Spectrum, Vonage and RingCentral are just some home phone providers. 

Landlines aren’t susceptible to internet outages since they are not attached to that service. A phone hardwired into your home does give you the best reception available for voice calls, but it is pricier than VoIP services. 

VoIP will not function when your internet is down, which could be an issue during an emergency. Latency or lapses in your internet connection can cause you to temporarily lose a caller. VoIP does have better security and allows text messaging, not to mention it is a cheaper option.

Who offers internet phone service?

Several companies provide VoIP service. Take your time when choosing one because most have varying levels of service and coverage. A few providers advertise free monthly service, but you must purchase their equipment, starting around $100. Those free services also usually have taxes to pay if applicable, as well as a 911 emergency fee. Other VoIP providers give you their adapter and charge a monthly or yearly rate. Most offer international calling but with their more expensive premium or next-level plans.

Some of the top internet home phone providers include:

VoIP for business

Getting a VoIP service for your business is a smart solution to your calling needs. According to PCMag, “Modern business VoIP systems often combine voice calling with video, chat, SMS, and integrations with other business software, such as your CRM system.” 

There are several options for businesses of all sizes including, RingCentral, Vonage and Intermedia Unite. 

Other options to VoIP

Some internet service providers also offer mobile phone plans that you can bundle with. your internet plan. The ISPs use larger phone provider networks like Xfinity and Spectrum, which use Verizon, and Optimum, which is on the T-Mobile network. You usually need to be a customer of the ISPs to take advantage of their fairly inexpensive cell phone pricing.

AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile are also popular phone providers that offer internet bundles as well.


How much does VoIP cost?

VoIP service starts around $9/mo. and can go as high as $50/mo., depending on the plan you pick. If you make many international calls, a premium plan can get pricey.

Yes, you can replace your home’s landline with a VoIP service, but remember, when the power goes out, so does your phone.

Yes, VoIP service offers international calling, but usually only with their next-level plans.

Yes, your home must have internet service already installed before you can hook up to a VoIP service. Need an ISP? Check your address to see what’s available in your area.

You need a modem and router to provide the internet service that your VoIP system will run on. There are also headsets and desktop phones specifically made for VoIP services that can enhance your calling experience.

Camryn Smith

Written by:

Camryn Smith

Cammy is a writer with Allconnect, growing her broadband industry knowledge for over a year on the internet marketplace. Her expertise lies in home internet and broadband service with a focus on providers, plans… Read more

Robin Layton

Edited by:

Robin Layton

Editor, Broadband Content

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