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What is VoIP ?

What is VoIP ?

VoIP stands for Voice over IP, which are other words for telephone through the Internet. A very good example of VoIP is Skype, which most people know. Skype is just one example of VoIP, as there are other alternatives which we'll explain below.

 

Why use Skype?

Skype is great for making free phone or video calls between Skype users. If you have a good internet connection, you can have a free conversation for hours on, totally free. Many of us are aware of this, and many of us use Skype for that very reason.

Skype is nice, but has conditions that need to be met. Indeed, for Skype to work properly, both parties on either side of the call need to have a Skype account, and need to have their Skype session on. What if you are not in front of your computer? How do you make a Skype call easily then? What if the person you want to call doesn't have her Skype session on, how do you call her?

This is where you can purchase Skype credit, which allow you to call regular landline or mobile numbers. These calls are not free, but come at a reduced cost. You still need to be in front of your computer to use Skype though, or to have special Skype-compatible phones.

As an example of what Skype charges :

  • calls to Belgian Landlines can be as low as 0.019 EUR / min.
  • calls to Belgian Mobiles are charged 0.22 EUR or 0.148 EUR / min.
  • See Skype prices

Finally, how does someone who doesn't have Skype call you on Skype? You can buy a Skype In phone number for people to call you. But that option is only offered to a selected number of countries, and Belgium is not part of the list. So here in Belgium, people who don't have Skype cannot reach you on your Skype : you still need your Belgacom (or equivalent) phone number.

 

Why use alternatives?

Alternatives to Skype do not exclude Skype. This means you can continue to use Skype for free video or phone calls with your Skype contacts, as you may already do.

However, we offer alternatives when it comes to calling regular landline or mobile numbers, that are much cheaper than what Skype charges.

Whatsmore, alternatives let you use smartphones, special network-phones (called sip phones), or even your regular home or office phone (with the use of a special adapter). All you need is an Internet connection.

Alternatives allow you to set things up the way you want so you can have your own Exchange (PBX), with as many extensions as you need. Everything being connected to the Internet, extensions no longer need to be located within the same building to work together :

  • you can have one or several extensions at work
  • and have one or several extensions at home
  • which will all be part of the same PBX, allowing you to make free internal calls between all of these

Alternatives allow you to have a regular phone number people can call you on, for a fraction of the price Belgacom charges for that service. In other words, you can completely forget about Belgacom's 17.80 EUR charge per month!

 

Free unlimited calls to landlines for as low as 1 EUR per month?

We work with a number of suppliers and choose the best one depending on your situation. For home or SOHO users, we generally recommend OVH, because they are cheap and reliable. We also work with Nomado, also very reliably, although slightly more expensive.

OVH's pricing plan starts at 1 EUR (excl. VAT) per month. For this price, you get :

  • a landline Belgian phone number for people to call you
  • the possibility to port your existing Belgacom phone number
  • unlimited calls to landlines in 40 countries
  • See OVH offer

Nomado offers their Pack Globe BE for 50 EUR / year (excl. VAT), which includes one Belgian phone number and 500 minutes of free calls per month to landlines in 50 different countries. See Nomado offer.

 

Calling mobile phones for 0.02 EUR a minute?

Currently, there are no free plans to call mobile numbers free of charges. Or at least, we don't know of any. But there are some very cheap ones.

Although the plans offered by OVH or Nomado are very good to call landlines, there is room for improvement when it comes to calling mobiles. This is why we currently recommend using MegaVoip which is both cheap and reliable. Depending of what mobiles you call most, we may suggest another provider. To give you an idea though, MegaVoip charges :

  • 0.039 EUR connection fee
  • 0.02 EUR per minute to Belgian mobiles
  • 0.01 EUR per minute to French mobiles
  • See MegaVoip rates

Furthermore, depending on your personal situation, switching to VoIP for calling mobile phones will perhaps allow you to re-examine your own mobile plan and get a cheaper one, as you may no longer need that many minutes per month. In other words, you could very well save both on your landline and your mobile!

 

Automatic selection of the cheapest supplier

Using an internet-based Exchange (PBX) such as pbxes.org, not only lets you create and organise your extensions as needed, but can also automatically select the cheapest provider depending on the dialed number. This way for example, the PBX will know it must use MegaVoip when you call a mobile number, and OVH when you call a landline. All you need to do is just dial the number, really.