Most internet users must have been hearing of VoIP for years now. Maybe you had poor experiences with it in the past.
Well things have changed since then. Just like when video was first available on the Internet with postage stamp size "moving pictures" on 33.6K modem dial up speeds, as compared to now with services like YouTube. With broadband or faster internet access, VoIP has made a "comeback" just like how video did. Obviously with faster internet connections, things work better, look better and sound better !
Now VoIP is often marketed as Digital Phone, Broadband Phone, or even internet Phone service. Simply put, it refers to using your internet connection to talk to people where phone calls go through the internet instead of traveling through traditional phone lines.
Today there are lots of free programs to let your computer act like a telephone call softphones, add a mic and headset, and your computer becomes a phone. By getting an account from various providers, you can start calling around the world if you keep enough money in your account. Skype of course is the most well-known of the lot.
But given the natures of telephones and the fact that people don't really enjoy talking and sitting in front of their computers, it's becoming more common to purchase specially made devices that are separate from their computers but still use their internet connections. These devices, either ATA (phone adapters) or IP phones lets you use a normal phone with your Internet.
These devices must of course be tied to an account with a service provider. To make a call, just pick it up, dial a number and talk just like you would with a traditional phone service. It does not matter if the person receiving the call has VoIP or not, because that is taken care of by your VoIP service provider.
Compared to traditional phone services, VoIP is often more cost effective especially since such calls bypass regular Telco charges, the companies using broadband can offer much lower rates. Plus mst service providers offer FREE IP to IP calls. So if you have a friend who is a subscriber of the same service, you could call and talk to him for FREE !
VoIP looks set to be the future of communications. While currently the broadband phone services may not offer quite as much reliability and quality as traditional phone lines, the technology is improving constantly and wont be far behind.
Anyway, since you are already paying a fixed monthly charge for your broadband to your ISP, there is no real incremental running cost to start with VoIP today. In fact VoIP will probably save you a bundle !
Here are couple of links to licensed VoIP service providers in Thailand :If you know of more providers in Thailand, add their links please.