To subscribe to a VoIP service you will need:
- to contact a VoIP provider
- new equipment (eg a VoIP modem/telephone)
- a broadband connection.
Things to check with a VOIP provider
VoIP providers offer different services. The Communications Alliance encourages all VoIP providers to supply information about:
- services they offer
- equipment needed to access the services
- costs related to the service
- limitations of the service
- your rights regarding complaints about the service
For more information see the Communications Alliance booklet So you want a VoIP phone service.
The following checklist will help when choosing a VoIP service.
- Does the service let you call mobile numbers, normal home lines, international numbers, 13 numbers, 1800 numbers, and other VoIP services?
- Can you receive calls on your VoIP service, and are you assigned a phone number that other people can call?
- What are the call costs for people wanting to call your VoIP service?
- Do you need to purchase software or extra equipment such as an analog phone adaptor to use the VoIP service?
- What is required to setup/install the service?
- Is a high level of computer literacy required to install or set-up the service? Is there an available helpline and adequate customer service?
- Is there a test number that can be called at any time, particularly during setup or installation, to check if the service is working properly?
- Are there any arrangements for access to emergency calls, and what are they?
- What is the quality of the service like? What will the company do if the service is unavailable?
- If the VoIP provider is based overseas, is the pricing subject to currency fluctuations?
The ACMA has specified telephone numbers in the 0550 range as available for use to supply location independent communications services using new technologies such as VoIP. These numbers can be issued to customers who use their service from locations other than the one the service is billed to.
If a person makes a call from a 0550 telephone number to an emergency service number, the emergency service operator will ask for the address of the person using the service. This is designed to make sure emergency assistance is dispatched to the correct address.
Customers should speak to a VoIP provider before subscribing to a VoIP service as the ACMA has announced an intention to consult in the short to medium term on the possibility of removing these numbers from the Numbering Plan. Before making this change to the Numbering Plan the ACMA will publicly consult with persons who may be affected by this change. Further information about this announcement is available here.