Lauren recently wrote with the sort of technical question I usually route to the Get Rich Slowly forums. (The forums are a great place to get help with your specific financial situation.) She’s looking to ditch her landline for VOIP (voice over IP) telephone service. I’ve had several friends ask me about this subject, so I figure it has fairly broad appeal. Lauren writes:

I’m trying to find real information on savings for phone service — not hype from a service provider.

The cost for my landline is getting outrageous. I know that new competition is a benefit to me — I can even keep my same phone number — but what’s the best option?

I need a long-distance phone line since my clients are across the country. Due to my need for quality voice communications, a cell phone is not an option. I have to talk to clients and not experience dropped calls. Several friends have mentioned Skype, Vonage, and other Internet-phone services, but I can’t find good information on the options available.

I was wondering if Get Rich Slowly readers could offer their opinions, both pro and con, on what they’ve experienced: price, service, access, etc. How does a person choose VOIP telephone service?

I’ve only been on the receiving end of internet-based phone calls. None of them sounded as good as an actual land-line, but they generally sound better than a cell phone. I have no idea how much they cost. I don’t know the pros and cons of the various services.

What’s the most cost-effective means you’ve found for obtaining quality internet phone service? Are there other considerations Lauren should be aware of? Do you have any general advice on the subject?