X

Differences Between VoIP, Landline, and Cell Phone Calls

September 6, 2016

Telephone calls aren’t dead, but they are changing. Each calling option has its pros and cons. Read on for our simple guide to the difference between landline, cell, and VoIP calls. Learn which option is best for every situation.

Landline Calls

Landline calls are a great option for most call situations. While you need a phone and landline telephone service to complete the call, landline calls are reliable and high-quality. And you can’t beat the consistency of a technology that’s been around for over a century. Audio data (your voice) is converted into signals that travel through fiber-optic cables to the person on the other line to ensure clear communication. Landline calls can be completed with a corded or cordless phone.

What is HD audio? HD phone audio uses higher frequencies to produce a crisper, clearer sound on the phone call.

PROS

  • Reliable: While landline services occasionally have downtime, they are most reliable for day-to-day use and in the case of power outages or emergencies. The voice quality is clear and feels immediate.
  • Only basic equipment required: You need a telephone and cables to call via a landline. Some basic telephones can be found for as little as $10.

CONS

  • Need telephone (corded or cordless): You’ll need a dedicated landline phone.
  • Costs: Long-distance or international calls can be costly on some plans. Confirm your rates before you call.

PRICING 

  • Affordable: Home phone plans can run as low as $10 monthly. Make sure to check international rates before you make calls to other countries.

COVERAGE

  • Need phone service at your location: You’ll need landline phone service to conduct a call. You’ll be tied to a specific location for the duration of your call.

Cell Phone Calls

You might use a cell phone every day, but do you know how it works? Cellular telephones communicate with service coverage cells that cover a particular geographical area. When you make a cell phone call, your call and its audio data are transferred wirelessly from cell to cell to reach your recipient.

Most of us use cell phones for the vast majority of our calls these days. In 2015, 47% of households were cell phone-only. According to TechTarget, “An ongoing trend towards fixed-mobile substitution (FMS), in which users cancel landline services and rely solely upon cellular phone service, has resulted in a sharp reduction in the numbers of landline subscribers.” But cell phone calls come with a number of mixed pros and cons, and they may not be appropriate for every situation or need.

PROS

  • Portability and flexibility: You just have to walk down the street to see the complete proliferation of cell phones in our society. You can take your calls anywhere.
  • Ease of use: Basic cell phones are very easy to use. And smartphones can help you do much more than just call.
  • Unlimited long distance options: Most cell phone carriers offer unlimited long distance and international plans, so if you make a lot of calls to far-flung locations, you can be covered. Make sure to check your country’s regulations and confirm roaming fees first, however.

CONS

  • A working cell phone with a charged battery is needed. Without an up-to-date and charged phone, you won’t be able to make a call.
  • Cell service is required. Certain locations don’t have cell service, and you may not know in advance if you won’t be able to make a call.
  • Sound quality and service can vary based on location, phone or headphones, and service provider.

PRICING

  • Pricing for cell phone calling ranges based on the features and coverage you need. Adding data plans, unlimited long-distance, new mobile devices, and more can increase your bill.

COVERAGE

  • International coverage varies by carrier, plan, and device. It’s important to check with your provider before you travel.

VoIP Calls

VoIP calls work by transforming audio data into digital packet files and sending them over the internet (hence the name, Voice Over Internet Protocol). You can make a VoIP call via your computer or Internet-connected mobile device. In recent years, internet call usage has increased dramatically, and it makes sense – many more people have broadband internet connections in their homes and offices than they did in years prior. VoIP calls are often paired with video as well.

PROS

  • Convenience. If you have a broadband internet connection, you can make a VoIP call to another internet user or phone number. This works well for travelers who can call over wi-fi from anywhere.
  • Flexibility. It’s often easy to add extra callers into your call, and you usually aren’t limited by call minutes.

CONS

  • Quality & Reliability. The audio quality isn’t consistent, and if your internet connection cuts out, there goes your call. Calls may hamper your computer performance too.
  • Accessibility: You need an internet connection to make a VoIP call.

PRICING

  • Many services offer free calls for personal use, but confirm that their software functions on the device you want to use to make a call. Some services offer low pay-per-use VoIP calling plans to reach landlines from your VoIP connection as well.

Have you tried a mix of calling types in your organization? Hosting calls through a mix of landline, cell, and VoIP calls can be a great way to make sure you’re covered where quality is concerned while maintaining flexibility and accessibility. Don’t forget to research your options before