Alternative Phone Services: What Options Might I Have?

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Regular land lines are an expense some consumers are eschewing.

Alternative phone services are showing up all over America.   For whatever reasons a customer might have, whether it’s because of pricing, unsatisfactory customer service, or just because a particular consumer wants to see a new business succeed, consumers are responding to alternative phone services in a positive way.

Alternative phone services are those communications services that have arisen after deregulation of the industry in many states and nationally.  They’re provided by a wide range of different companies that can include your cable services provider to stand-alone companies that merely sub-let lines to consumers from the traditional local phone companies.

Depending on what part of the country you’re in, there are a variety of alternative phone services to choose from.  Let’s look at a few of the options that consumers might have to choose from:

Alternative phone services number one:  Cellular phones

Cellular, or mobile phones (commonly called cell phones), have been around for a good twenty years now.  In the early days a cellular phone user had something that resembled a briefcase to carry around and the phones themselves weighed about three pounds.  Obviously, the industry has evolved to the point that cell phones are small and lightweight enough to be carried in a person’s pocket.  Thousands of households have opted to keep no other phone line but a cell phone and have dropped their land lines entirely.

Additionally, the prices have evolved as well.  In the early days of cell phones, only those who could afford such a ‘luxury’ had a mobile phone.  Today, more and more consumers find the packages and plans affordable enough that they’re quite common.  In addition, not only are they affordable, but consumers have options to whether they prefer to be on a plan or to use a pre-paid, or pay-as-you-go, sort of package.

Alternative phone services number two:  VoIP

VoIP, or Voice-over Internet Protocol, is fast becoming the preferred alternative phone service in many households.  Prices range anywhere from $20 monthly to $75 monthly if they’re included with the internet access through the same company.  VoIP phone service is when voice calls are transmitted as packets of data over the internet instead of the traditional Public Switched Telephone Network.

While lots of consumers choose to use their own cable company, or their local internet services provider, others opt for the plans of companies like Vonage.  Vonage has done a national marketing campaign that’s proven quite successful by offering one low flat rate for customers to call anywhere in the US or Canada, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Alternative phone services number three:  Stand-alone providers

Now that much of the regulation within the industry has been eliminated, a variety of companies are popping up around the nation that offer local and long distance phone services to consumers.  Some of these companies merely ‘piggyback’ on the infrastructure of the more traditional phone companies, and are usually in service to those customers who aren’t allowed a phone of their own, for whatever reason.

Still, some alternative phone services are utilizing the power of the internet, and their own equipment, to offer alternative phone services.  Not all of these companies are available in all areas of the country and some are even restricted to just one state.  Due to no stand-alone company being able to serve more than a few states, at best, consumers need to research on their own which alternative phone services are available in their area.

But for those readers in the Louisiana area, Vonage has proven to be a dependable, rock-solid, dependable company to use.  Another popular choice is  And finally, another option for those readers in the Louisiana area is Lingo.

Alternative phone services number four:  Magic Jack!

Magic Jack! has become my personal favorite alternative telephone service.  For a mere $40 at the nearest Wal-Mart, you can pick up a Magic Jack!  With a USB connection that your regular telephone jack line plugs into, as long as you have a high-speed connection, you can call anywhere in the US and Canada for the next year for free.  In addition, if you take your Magic Jack! and your phone with you, and you find a hi-speed internet connection, you can plug Magic Jack! in and call all you want!  Magic Jack may be the soon-to-be-biggest alternative phone service on earth!

Voice mail comes as an email, with the message itself attached.  My Lord I love my little Magic Jack!



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Donald Pennington

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