Voice Over IP (VOIP) – The New Age Telephone!

With many of our members changing over to High-Speed Fibre Broadband, a new opportunity presents itself around telephone voice services

Once your Fibre Connection is operational, your copper wires are disconnected and your old analogue telephone will cease to work. You will be offered a single phone connection to the Fibre Modem or at extra cost, a loop across to the existing wiring in your house.

There is however an alternative worth considering which moves your phone directly onto the Internet. It’s called Voice Over IP. Remember when reading this that in New Zealand we have complete number portability so whichever option you choose, you can take your “old” home phone number with you and your inbound callers won’t know you’ve changed technology.

At SeniorNet, we recently looked into the possibility of using VOIP and this article was prepared for the Committee by Peter Jones and we thought our members might enjoy learning about it too. So, “take it away Peter“…


What is VOIP?

VOIP or Voice Over Internet Protocol uses the internet to connect your telephone to the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

The following diagram shows how VOIP operates

How does VOIP work?

A VOIP service allows users to make voice calls over the internet. These calls can be made between digital devices (e.g. computers, tablets & internet phones) and from a digital device to a conventional telephone on the PTSN.

Common VOIP services already available from a computer

  • Skype – Skype is a Microsoft product that comes with Office 365. The standard Skype Office 365 package allows users to make audio and audio/video calls to other Skype users, when they are online.  This package also includes 30 minutes of calling to numbers on the PTSN. If you don’t have Office 365, you can still use Skype as a VOIP by pre-loading money onto your account. International calls can cost a little as 2c per minute.
  • Viber – Viber allows users to make audio and audio/video calls from their device (cell phone, computer etc.) to other Viber users when they are online. For a monthly fee, of around $9.00, you can make calls to almost any number on the PSTN from your device.
  • WhatsApp – WhatsApp allows users to make audio and audio/video calls from their device (cell phone, computer etc.) to another WhatsApp users device when they are online. This popular service does not however appear to interface to the PTSN.

VOIP services using a conventional telephone.

There are several service providers in New Zealand who offer a VOIP service that works just like the conventional PTSN system. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • 2Talk (www.2talk.co.nz)  – For a monthly fee of $10.00 +GST this service provides features that include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • 2,000 monthly minutes to any conventional local landline number
      (not mobile phones)
    • 250 monthly minutes to national and selected international landline numbers
    • Voicemail service that can be accessed, via a web page, from anywhere.
    • Call redirection to any number, costs are incurred by you.
    • A log of all calls to and from this service.
  • KiwiVOIP (www.kiwivoip.co.nz) – For a monthly fee of $10.00 +GST this service provides features that include, but are not limited to, the following:
    • 2,000 monthly minutes to any conventional local landline number
      (not mobile phones)
    • 100 monthly minutes to national landline numbers
    • Voicemail service.
    • Call redirection to any number, costs are incurred by you.

Equipment required

 Internet connection

A naked broadband unlimited data plan that provides good speed and a static IP address.

Pros and Cons of VOIP

Pros Cons
Significantly reduced monthly costs If the internet goes down (e.g. because of a power failure) your VOIP phone will stop working.
Provided national and international calling at very competitive rates, and in many cases, it is part of the base monthly fee If you have a low speed internet service, call quality may be compromised.
Call redirection to another phone, when you are away from home, is available. If you don’t have a static IP address your gateway may have to be reset from time to time.
Answer phone service is often part of the service There is a bit of a setup of your gateway that may require some technical skills.
Details of all calls to and from your VOIP service are available from the internet

Submitted by Peter Jones


If you want to know more, why not ask Peter when you next see him (he’s almost always at Q&A!) or leave him message over on our Contact Us page here

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