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Top 5 Best Digital Phone VolP Providers for Calling Friends and Family in the US and Canada

Top 5 Best VoIP Providers - smiling lady talking on Digital VoIP phone
A digital VolP phone can be very beneficial for home users. We review the top 5 best digital phone VoIP providers for calling friends and family in Canada & the US

VoIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol is gaining traction within Canada, primarily amongst Business customers as a ways to significantly reduce their monthly phone bills. According to this article from Business Chief, Canada was identified as one of the top 10 VoIP countries in the world in terms of usage, with more than five million subscribers. Residential VoIP usage is showing a similar trend – in 2004, according to this Ipsos-Reid survey, Canadians were slow to embrace VoIP estimating that only 1% of households were using the technology. Today, estimates place the adoption at a 12% rate annually.

Fast forward fourteen years and the 2018 Communications Monitoring Report highlighted that almost 67% of Canadian households still had an expensive landline, although this 67% represented a year over year decline of 7.1%. The report went on to further state that Canadians were abandoning the landline in favor of their mobile phone, with almost a third of respondents subscribing to mobile services only.

Yet, there is still a case for a VoIP or digital phone within your home. This article will focus on how a digital phone or VolP phone can be highly beneficial for home users. We’ve done the legwork to bring you all the essential information you need to understand VoIP and its benefits. To make things even easier, we have curated a list of the top 5 best digital phone VoIP providers to help you make an informed decision.

Why VolP?

Before making the switch, let’s dive into why VoIP may be the ultimate choice for your needs.

Pros:

  • Savings: Phone bills can leave quite a huge dent when you’re done paying them off, but VoIP offers significant cost savings compared to traditional phone services, including lower rates for international calls.
  • Customized Scalability: If you have children who’ll be moving away soon, and your phone company won’t allow changes in the packages, don’t stress. VoIP offers customized scalability, allowing you to quickly add or remove lines as needed. VoIP is flexible, allowing users to call from various devices and locations with an internet connection. It has feature-rich options, including voicemail, call forwarding, and conference calling.
  • Portable: As a digital VoIP phone uses internet technology, it can be easily portable to a new location. Traveling or heading to the cottage, simply pack the NetJOI ATA (in this example), connect it to the network at your cottage, and viola – you can continue to use your services and features in a similar manner as if you were home.

VoIP’s cost-efficiency, flexibility, and advanced features check all the boxes, making it a preferred choice for individuals. 

Cons:

  • Dependence on the internet: When your internet connection is slow or unpredictable, it might result in poor call quality, dropped calls, or even service interruption.
  • Dependence on power: Traditional telephone systems function even during power outages because they draw electricity from the telephone line. However, VoIP necessitates power for both your internet modem/router and the VoIP equipment. You will be unable to make or receive calls if there is a power outage and you do not have a backup power source.
  • Limitations during emergency situations: When it comes to emergency services, VoIP may not provide the same level of dependability and precision as traditional landlines.

1. Ooma

Ooma offers Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) services for both residential and business users. For residential homes, they offer two packages – a basic phone service at $0 (taxes and fees are extra) and a premier plan at $9.99 per month (taxes and fees are extra). In both cases, you have to purchase the Ooma device which ranges in price from $129.99 to $159.99.

Best Digital Phone VolP Providers - Ooma Telo Air on the left and Ooma Telo White device on the right.

Ooma provides affordable price plans with possibilities for unlimited calling. It has many capabilities such as voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, three-way calling, and more. In addition, Ooma ensures its VoIP services are constantly being integrated with technological advancements.

The basic plan covers the basics including free calling within the country of purchase, call waiting, calls logs and more. The service shines with the purchase of a Premier Plan for $9.99 by adding in extra features including voicemail, enhanced Caller-ID, call blocking and more. This link compares the features of Ooma Basic vs Ooma Premier Plans.

Installation is fairly easy – purchase the Ooma device, connect the device to your home network, hook up your phone device and you can begin placing calls. Additional installation details are available on Ooma’s Support website.

2.  Magic Jack

MagicJack is a name that should be familiar to most Canadians, having been around in some form since 2007. It is a VoIP service that allows you to make and receive phone calls over the internet using a device called a magicJack. You pay a one-time fee of USD$59.99 for the device which includes 12 months of service when magicIN (receive incoming calls) and magicOUT (make outgoing calls) are selected or 15 months of service when either magicIN or magicOUT is selected.

Best Digital Phone VolP Providers - picture of the magicjack device.

MagicJack offers significant cost savings compared to traditional landline services. In addition to unlimited local and long-distance calling within the United States and Canada, it provides a number of other features including caller ID, voicemail, call forwarding, call waiting and more.

For people who frequently move residences or travel, the MagicJack is very convenient due to its portability. It is important to mention that MagicJack do not provide any type of Emergency 911 calling – ensuring reliable and consistent access to 911 calling remains the responsibility of the customer. Further, magicJack requires continuous reactivation when the plan period expires – so, when the first 12 or 15 months of service is up, the MagicJack device will no longer function unless it is reactivated on MagicJack’s website and a new service plan is purchased. Based on Google and other reviews, many customers simply purchase a new device instead of proceeding with the reactivation process.

3. Bell HomePhone

What makes Bell Home Phone unique is its accessibility to several Canadian provinces. Unlike many phone services struggling to provide you with a dependable telephone service, Bell Home Phone has extensive coverage in both urban and rural locations. Bell Home Phone uses a standard landline connection to function. Physical copper or fiber-optic cables are used to deliver voice services to your house.

Top 5 Best Digital Phone VoIP Providers - Bell HomePage pricing for Home phone Lite & Home phone Choice

In terms of pricing, Bell HomePhone is very expensive when compared to other providers, Like NetJOI. Bell Home phone Lite is $54 per month plus an activation fee of $49.95. This is a basic service which only includes Unlimited local calling. The Bell Home phone Choice for $69 per month allows the customer to select up to 8 calling features like Visual Call Waiting, Three-Way Calling, Call Forwarding, and more. Each of these services can be purchased independently on the Lite plan for an average cost of $8.95 per month. When compared to NetJOI with Basic Plans at $14.95 and Plus plans at $19.95 including all features that Bell charges extra, Bell HomePhone is very expensive.

Bell’s call quality and dependability are well-known for being dependable, as is their ability to maintain a steady connection.

4. NetJOI

Net JOI is different from your typical VoIP service. Not only is its packages frequently priced lower than the conventional phone services, but it also comes packed with an array of incredible features at no extra cost! You’ll get access to Basic and Advanced voicemail, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Message Waiting Indication, and more at your fingertips.

Top 5 Best Digital Phone VoIP Providers - Front and Back view of the Grandstream HT802 device

It’s simple to get started with NetJOI. First, you will need a compatible ATA devices like the Grandstream HT-802 (pictured above) which is available on Amazon for $69 (supports 2 telephone line) or the GrandStream HT-801 for $63 on Amazon which supports 1 telephone line. Next, connect your network and phone device to the ATA Adapter and select your NetJOI plan and you are good to get started. NetJOI has a provisioning service which will handle the configuration of your device.

The best part? You get to keep your existing phone number! Net JOI is undoubtedly the best and cheapest option to meet your VoIP needs.

5. Vonage

Vonage typically has reasonable calling plans and options for international calling at a low price. It can be a more affordable option for long-distance or international calls than standard landline services. Vonage enables you to use their service from various devices, including smartphones, tablets, desktops, and IP phones, to make and receive calls.

Top 5 Best Digital Phone VoIP Providers - Front view of the Vonage Box for use with Vonage VoIP Service

You may utilize your Vonage service wherever you are because of its versatility. Rich in features: Vonage offers several features often found in VoIP services, including voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, a virtual receptionist, conference calling, and more. They might also integrate with well-known programs and equipment to improve communication capabilities.

Vonage depends on a steady and dependable Internet connection like all VoIP services. Call quality and reliability may suffer from interruptions or outages in your Internet access.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, VoIP usage will continue to increase as the technology evolves and as folks identifies new ways to further get maximum value from their limited budget. In this article, we reviewed the top 5 Best Digital Phone VolP Providers for Calling Friends and Family in the US and Canada and some factors that must be considered when looking for a suitable VoIP provider to replace your expensive landline or mobile phone for home use.


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