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Yes! There are free VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services out there. These are usually consumer-level apps you can download from the Apple App Store or Google Play. You might even be using them to chat with your friends and family.
These include Skype, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Viber, Google Voice, Google Hangouts, and Google Duo. People typically use these apps to make video and voice calls and send instant messages to anyone from anywhere in the world without paying anything.
The main draw is probably the easy setup. All you need to do is download the app, install it on your device, and create an account—and you’re good to go! They really are great for personal use. But if you want to use them for business, they might not be the best option.
Heard of VoIP softphones?
This term is less commonly used, but the apps mentioned above are examples of VoIP softphones, which are basically programs that let you make calls over the internet. They essentially turn your computers into “real phones” you can use for calls from PC to phone, from phone to PC, and between VoIP-enabled devices.
Most of these softphones have mobile app versions, so you can use your mobile devices as VoIP phones.
One of the major selling points of Voice over IP is the fact that it won’t rack up your phone bill—especially because there are VoIP apps that can be downloaded for free. But of course, with anything that’s free, there can be some drawbacks:
Since consumer-level free VoIP like Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger can’t accommodate phone calls from landline systems and other VoIP apps, they can’t completely replace your home phones. For that, you might want to look into residential VoIP services, which offer general landline functions without the high price.
Enterprise VoIP services usually come with a subscription cost, which depends on the plan you choose. As to what these plans include, you get what you pay for.
Believe it or not, there are companies that offer free versions of their VoIP service—the only thing is something that’s free typically isn’t good enough for the average business.
In fact, free business VoIP packages are usually meant to be trial runs for really small businesses, which means they cater to a very limited number of users. For example, here are a few scenarios where free business VoIP solutions might be missing communication and collaboration features:
The above scenarios are just a few examples of things to look out for when searching for free business VoIP plans. But if you feel that a free package is enough to meet your needs for now (and won’t hinder growth), then go for it.
If you do think you’ll need a fully business-capable internet phone solution, on the other hand, or if you know that your business will need to add or remove users, open new locations, and get more customers, then a paid service would make more sense.
Look into a free trial or two and try out some VoIP software.
If you want to get a feel for a service before deciding to sign up, then free trials are the way to go. Trial packages usually come with most of the important features and support associated with an actual paid subscription, so you can have the full experience for a limited time.
Look at a few different providers and compare them to see which one best addresses your needs.
In fact, why not start by taking RingCentral for a test drive?
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"We’re easily seeing a 40%-50% reduction in communications costs with RingCentral. Several years after choosing RingCentral, I am still confident and happy with that decision."
"Having calls, texts, emails, faxes, and documents all under one umbrella creates a more streamlined workflow for employees. RingCentral makes the creates a more streamlined workflow for employees. RingCentral makes the phone a powerful tool that travels with you."
"We spent a lot of time working outside of the office. 40% of our employees use the RingCentral mobile app, which gives us the ability to use our business phone number rather than our personal cell phone numbers."
"From receptionists to the executives, everyone is delighted with our new system. Migrating communications to RingCentral was the best move we have made."
"Compared to when we had multiple vendors for phone, meetings, and chats, we are saving 30% to 40%."