Most of us spend a lot of money on our phone bills, but don’t see any way to untether ourselves. These days, communication is constant and fundamental to our personal and business lives, and people expect to be able to get hold of us 24/7.
But what if I told you there was a way to be just as available, while drastically lowering the amount you spend on your phone bill each month? The answer is VoIP or “Voice over Internet Protocol.” This basically means that you will be using WiFi to make calls instead of your phone plan, which in turn can save you a lot of money – especially when calling abroad.
So how can you cut your phone cord and start saving serious cash using VoIP? This post will explain everything you need to know.
Using Your Phone Plan Less
The first and most straightforward way to start costing yourself less on your mobile phone bill, is to avoid making calls using it whenever possible. In other words, when you have the opportunity to call over WiFi (whenever you have a good WiFi connection), you should do so.
There are many different apps you can use to call this way, ranging from Skype, to Facetime, to Slack, to WhatsApp. As long as you have at least a moderate signal on 3G, you will be able to chat with minimal lag.
So how does calling this way reduce the amount you pay? Of course it doesn’t, seeing as a lot of people will pay monthly! So the solution then is to switch back to a pay-as-you-go plan. That way, you will only pay for the minutes that you use!
And of course whatever deal you’re on, this will save you money when making calls overseas.
Another option, is to switch to a plan with very few minutes and then to make calls using VoIP.
Of course, most people these days will use iMessage or WhatsApp to send their messages instead of SMS, which can likewise save a lot of money – especially when it comes to sending images.
Using Your Mobile Data
EVEN if you use your 3G connection rather than WiFi – which of course you also pay for – you’ll still save money by using VoIP.
That’s because the audio files that transmit your voice are actually only very small. On average, you’ll only use a megabyte of data per minute of conversation. Now if you consider that there are 1,000 megabytes in a gigabyte, and that a very basic plan might give you 3GB… that’s 50 hours of talk time probably less than $10 per month!1
With more and more people choosing to use VoIP as a way to save on their monthly plans, it was only a matter of time until some companies started offering this as the de-facto service.
For example, if you choose to use Google Fi as your carrier, then you will find that you save a lot of money by using that method precisely.
Google Fi is Google’s first serious attempt at running a carrier business, and it is leveraging its considerable influence and tech savvy to offer something a bit different. Fi works essentially by switching users between different carriers to make sure they remain on the fastest signal at all times2. Specifically, Google Fi can “piggyback” off of three separate networks: Sprint, T-Mobile, and U.S. Cellular.
What makes this all the more impressive though, is that Google Fi will usually opt to route you through WiFi using VoIP instead. This can significantly reduce your bills if you spend a lot of tie in the home or in the office.
Google Fi doesn’t support all devices, but does work on most major handsets.
Whatever you decide, the point is that VoIP now offers a very viable alternative to using your usual cellular data. This can save you a lot of money as only a small amount of data is needed, and especially if you rely mostly on the WiFi you already pay for (or your boss already pays for!). You can even use VoIP when speaking in cafés and other locations!
The best part is that as data is constantly getting cheaper and cheaper, and we might even see free internet around the world someday3, this is only likely to become an increasingly affordable option in future.
For all these reasons, you should consider switching to VoIP calls when you can. And next time you are renewing your contract, think twice about paying more for all those minutes and texts. You may not need them!