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VoIP call features give users more bang for their buck

2006 saw an increase in the popularity of VoIP and encouraged many competing service providers to offer features such as voicemail and Caller ID as standard in their best-selling service plans.

Last year was a good one for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) users who wanted more calling plan features, according to research released recently by VoipReview.org, an online comparison shopping and information source for broadband phone service.

"As VoIP providers compete for their share of the marketplace, you'll see more and more calling features offered standard, with prices staying generally the same."
Eric Laughlin
CEOVoipReview.org

Using data collected from an online search, VoipReview.org found that the average number of free features per calling plan increased significantly over a six-month period. The search was designed to determine recent trends in calling features included in various VoIP calling plans.

Eric Laughlin, chief executive officer of VoipReview.org, said product offerings within the VoIP industry continually improved during 2006, increasingly allowing users to get more for their money from their calling plans.

The results indicate that between April 23 and Nov. 27 the number of available and included calling features in VoIP calling plans ranging from $1 to $30 increased steadily, while monthly fees remained the same. Research from another online data search, collecting data from April 1 to Nov. 30, found that the average cost per month for VoIP plans offering unlimited long-distance hovered consistently around $25.

"As VoIP providers compete for their share of the marketplace, you'll see more and more calling features offered standard, with prices staying generally the same," Laughlin said.

Features rose in number from 23.2 in April to just below 27 in November. The results also determined that these plans' features typically include voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, 911 and number portability.

Laughlin also stated that free calling features are a major reason people switch to VoIP, in addition to the cost savings the technology provides in comparison with traditional analog phone lines.

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