Is it possible for one person’s long-distance bill via home phone service to total more than $3,000 in a year? The answer is yes and this is based on a true story. In the early 1990s, a close friend‘s partner decided to work overseas. There were no Skype or messenger apps so my friend consumed a massive amount of long-distance minutes and paid for it dearly. I jokingly nicknamed him “Prince of LD” because long-distance calling back then was so expensive due to BC Tel’s monopoly (now Telus), only royalties could afford it.
Fast forward 25 years, long-distance calling rates (both nationally and internationally) have steadily declined because of increased competition. Also, due to the rise of VoIP (Voice-over-IP) technology, low-cost home phone providers powered by VoIP are more than ever before. In this article, I will compare long-distance rates and home phone services offered by Telus and VoIP providers.
Traditional Telcos vs VoIP Providers
First, let’s look at today’s long-distance rates from different providers. To make the rates easier to compare, I have compiled a table below.
|Home Phone Long Distance Rate Comparison (cost per minute)|
|Big Phone Company||VoIP Provider||VoIP Provider|
|Company Name||Telus||VoIP Much||Localphone|
|Canada||5 ¢||1.9 ¢||1.3 ¢|
|USA||5 ¢||2 ¢||1.3 ¢|
|India||5 ¢||1.9 ¢||3 ¢|
|Iran||20 ¢||5.9 ¢||13.8 ¢|
|Iran (mobile)||20 ¢||7.9 ¢||13.8 ¢|
|Germany||5 ¢||1.9 ¢||1.3 ¢|
|Germany (mobile)||20 ¢||5 ¢||3.8 ¢|
|South Africa||5 ¢||4.9 ¢||3.2 ¢|
|South Africa (mobile)||20 ¢||24 ¢||4.4 ¢|
|China||5 ¢||1.75 ¢||1.9 ¢|
|Japan||5 ¢||2.9 ¢||3.2 ¢|
|Japan (mobile)||20 ¢||14.5 ¢||6.3 ¢|
|New Zealand||5 ¢||2.9 ¢||1.9 ¢|
|New Zealand (mobile)||20 ¢||25 ¢||7 ¢|
|Unlimited Monthly Plans||
|Notes: Rates listed above subject to change without notice.||Rates applicable to Telus Home Phone/Home Phone Lite customers only.||Rates applicable to Yak Digital Home Phone customers only.|
VoIP to the Rescue
The long-distance rate comparison table above is between Telus and two VoIP providers: Yak and Rebtel. Yak is best-known for its home phone service but also offers long-distance service. Rebtel, on the other hand, specializes in long-distance calls only. From the table, I have highlighted the lowest calling rates in yellow. As you can see, none of Telus’ long-distance rates in this table are the lowest. However, Telus does offer unlimited long-distance plans for certain countries. For instance, Telus’ unlimited plan for India is cheaper than a VoIP provider. Unfortunately, its basic home phone service costs more than most VoIP providers which negates the saving (more info below).
Between the two VoIP providers, Rebtel has better long-distance rates (9 out of 14 lowest rates are from Rebtel). Rebtel’s long-distance service could be accessed via a smartphone app or by dialing an access number. This means anyone can use its service with or without a smartphone. To access Rebtel’s long-distance rates, a Rebtel account is required to purchase credits or subscribe to one of its long-distance plans. Payment options include credit cards and Paypal. Rebtel offers an auto top-up/recharge option so long-distance credits and subscriptions are always available. Yak’s rates are better than Telus but not as low as Rebtel in some countries. Like Telus, Yak does offer the convenience of calling long-distance from your home phone without the need to sign up or prepay for credits.
Now, we will examine home phone services offered by Telus and its VoIP competitors. For residential phone service, Telus offers two service options: Home Phone and Home Phone Lite. The main difference between the two is Home Phone includes 9 calling features while the Lite version contains only 1 calling feature. The home Phone option is $40 per month while Home Phone Lite is $30. You can save $5 per month by bundling with another Telus service. There are also promotional discounts of $5 for stand-alone service and $10 for bundled service for both service options for the first 3 months.
So, how do VoIP providers fare against Telus’ home phone service? At first, I wasn’t sure which VoIP provider to pick for the comparison. Therefore, I visited www.gonevoip.ca which offers comprehensive information on VoIP providers in Canada. After researching www.gonevoip.ca, I quickly came to the conclusion that all VoIP providers offer cheaper home phone service than Telus’ cheapest offering even including all the bundling and promotional discounts from Telus. The reason is simple: most VoIP providers charge less than $10 per month for their service. Combining this low price and a long list of free calling features makes VoIP home phone service an exceptional value and make Telus’ high price stands out like a sore thumb.
To summarize, long-distance rates and home phone services offered by big phone companies like Telus are still too expensive when compared to VoIP providers in general. If you are seeking the best long-distance calling rates regardless of who your home phone service provider is or you only own a mobile phone, you should take a closer look at Rebtel. Going back to my friend’s story in the opening, if his partner went to China today, his long-distance bill will only be less than $80 ($6.35 x 12), not $3,000 for the entire year using Rebtel with unlimited calling.