Read these 10 Comparing Home Phone Services Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Home Phone Service tips and hundreds of other topics.
If you have bad credit or are just starting out, DPI Teleconnect offers residential phone service that is prepaid - with no credit checks, no deposits, no IDs, and no contracts required. You can keep the service for as long as you want, or cancel without any penalties.
There are three packages to choose from - starting with a basic plan that has no long distance, to a premiere plan that includes 500 minutes of long distance per month and an impressive list of features.
DPI also promises to allow users to customize their own package plans to suit their needs, and will quote a custom rate based on the features selected.
In addition to the long distance and local combined service, DPI offers long distance only services that will work with any local carrier.
MyPhoneCompany.com is a new VoIP service provider that provides ultra low rates for subscribers for three different types of service. A local only service is available for $19.99/month, unlimited local plus US and Canada for $24.99/month, and an unlimited local, US and Canada, and international plan for $34.99/month. All plans include E911 services, and a softphone function similar to that of Skype.
If you choose the local only service, your rate per minute for US and Canada calls is only 2 cents/minute, and international calls are as low as 2.5 cents/minute to the UK. These rates are among the most competitive to be found anywhere for international dialing.
Myphone Company is a VoIP service and does operate over the public Internet. Call quality may have occasional issues, but if you mostly use your phone to call friends and relatives, the lowered cost may be worth it.
The service works over an ATA or analog telephony adapter, which plugs into your existing phone and your broadband modem or router.
In order to take advantage of these low rates, you MUST have a broadband connection.
If you don't currently have a broadband connection, use the www.connectmyphone.com comparison engine to view prices for broadband Internet and compare the whole package, Internet plus phone, to that of standard carriers of land line phone service. Be sure to add in what you are now paying for dial-up service so you are comparing apples to apples. In many cases, the upgrade to broadband results in lowered costs as you can switch to a less expensive phone service.
Once you have found all the choices available to you for your local and long distance home phone services, it pays to step back and review your needs before making the final decision.
Pull out an old phone bill and review it in detail. How many long distance calls did you make? Did you use all of the features you paid for?
Now, think back to all the calls you made during the past week. Were there calls you made that could have used a feature you don't currently have?
Make a "must" and "want" list of all the phone features you have considered, and prioritize them. Now, go back to the www.connectmyphone.com engine and review the packages chosen against your list of features. Which one meets your needs the most cost effectively?
Now, you have done your homework and are ready to push the send button!
The popular PC-PC phone service, Skype, has the best quality of all of the PC based phone services and now boasts many millions of users. Service is free between Skype subscribers, and a low rate for PC-phone service is available through a service called "Skype-out".
Skype has become SO popular that some users have switched to it as a primary home phone service. USB "phones" with a base station and wireless satellites have made it possible to carry Skype throughout the entire home with ease.
Is this a good idea? It certainly is more cost effective, but there are always trade-offs to be considered.
The primary thing to remember when considering making this move is that Skype does NOT offer 911 calling. Although it is possible in theory to rely on your cell phone in the event of an emergency, cell service is notoriously poor when indoors. Do you really want to have your cell phone be your only hope when trapped inside a burning building?
Another consideration is voice quality. Skype has excellent call quality when compared to other PC-PC services, but it does operate over the public Internet. Occasionally, it is not uncommon to experience dropped calls, delays, or echos. If consistently good call quality is important to you, than making the move to a Skype-only home service is not the best choice.
Skype does make an outstanding supplemental phone service, and can really offset phone bills if you use a measured rate service and have overseas friends or relatives. It also comes in handy if you have teens that tend to monopolize your main phone line for hours!
Connectmyphone.com offers a comparison engine specifically targeted to YOUR area. Enter your address including zip code, and compare up to three phone companies at a time to see a side-by-side review of costs, features, and coverage.
Each comparison starts with a summary of the phone company selected that includes information on credit checks and deposits required. Whether or not the company is a traditional carrier or VoIP is detailed, as are the key selling features of the company.
Scroll past this initial promotional information, and the most cost effective packages from each phone company are highlighted and detailed for your review. Click to select the exact packages you want to compare, and scroll down to the bottom to see a feature and full cost comparison.
This features comparison is highly detailed, and shows you what is included and what would be a "gotcha" in your bill if requested over the phone without the benefit of such a clear summary.
If you live in Texas, often considered the Telecom Capital of the US, you can choose Grande Communications as your home phone company and benefit from an all-new state-of-the-art fiber optic network with blazing speed.
Grande features "Fiber to the curb" technology, which connects a maximum of 24 homes to a broadband line, in contrast to the 500 homes that share bandwidth on other service providers' lines.
Grande's network is monitored 24/7 to make sure it is always up.
Local home service packages include free calling to other Grande subscribers - called the Grande Family Network, one low rate for toll calling across the state of Texas, and a wide selection of calling features including customized ring tones.
Bundled phone and Internet packages are also available at considerable cost savings.
Headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, Windstream Communications is one of the largest independent phone companies in the nation and offers high speed Internet, satellite television, and phone services to 16 US States.
Windstream was formed through the spinoff of Alltel's landline business and a merger with VALOR Telecom - so only the name is new.
The company offers local and long distance phone packages, a voice mail package that ranges from Basic to Deluxe, and an Essential Feature package that includes the following:
In the past, the best way to get great rates for both local and long distance services was to choose separate companies for each. Thanks to competitive pressures from all the new local phone providers, this is no longer true! Today, most phone companies offer combined packages at fully competitive rates, allowing you the convenience of a single bill for both. AT&T, Comcast, and most other providers also offer a flat rate service with unlimited local and long distance calling for one low fee. If you make a lot of long distance calls per month, this is the most cost effective solution. If you make very few long distance calls, then measured rate services are still available from your local phone provider as an add-on to your local service.
Services that have a set amount of long distance minutes or even a set amount of long distance minutes to a specific geographic location are available from most of the major phone companies such as AT&T. This may be a great choice if you are sure your minutes per month will remain constant.
Combined long distance and local packages provide added convenience and cost benefits, and in today's market, there is a package that meets just about everyone's needs.
There is an old adage that says that you get what you pay for. This is not necessarily true in the case of discount local phone service, but it pays to be informed. Before simply signing up for the lowest rates, check out what others are saying about the phone services you are considering.
Search consumer research websites for information regarding the quality of phone services. Each site provides information on how consumers feel the service performs, as well as how they felt customer service teams handled problems that arose.
Some cheap home home service companies perform very well in the eyes of their customers, and some do not. This is directly analogous to buying a bottle of wine - sometimes you can get a great bargain bottle for $5 and and pay a premium for a bottle that you wouldn't use to clean your bathroom!
In evaluating the service you choose, be sure to pay attention to these factors:
You have selected a phone company, now what? How do you maintain good communication and continually ensure that you are getting the best service you can?
First of all, if you have any issues, make sure that you communicate with your chosen phone company. Call them immediately if you have problems, and ask for a supervisor if the agent you are dealing with is unable to resolve your issue. If you still don't feel like you are getting satisfaction, most states have a customer review board that you can submit your claims to for action. There are also numerous consumer advocate groups available to help you in getting a fair hearing, and getting you matter resolved.
Secondly, visit their website often to check on new developments and services. If they are offering a service that you would like and are not yet receiving, call and add it to your existing service.
It is also a good idea to stay aware of the services you are actually using versus those that are "nice-to-have". If you find you are not using a service that has an extra charge attached to it, call your phone company and cancel this service so that you can enjoy the cost savings.