Traditional home phone packages bundled with a broadband plan are becoming a thing of the past, phased out and replaced with new technology. Lots of young people forego the traditional home handset for their mobile phones, as mobile phone plans these days can be dirt cheap with unlimited calls. However, there is still merit in having a home phone, but the way a phone call is delivered these days can be vastly different. Enter the realm of Voice over Internet Protocol – or VoIP for short.
How Does VoIP Work?
VoIP simply works by converting analogue voice calls into little packets of data. VoIP basically means you’re using the internet to make phone calls, and your voice is transformed into little packets of data that are then deciphered on the other end. This is similar to using a multitude of other things over the internet – email, instant messages etc.
With Voiceover IP, you can still call a landline or mobile phone, but you’ll be using your internet connection to do so, rather than a phone line connection. This can represent a solid alternative and can work out to be fairly cost-effective.
VoIP has emerged as a popular alternative to a copper home phone line amid the rollout of high-speed fixed-line broadband, Wi-Fi and mobile 4G, along with the rapid adoption of the smartphone. High-speed internet access is virtually wherever we go and has enabled a whole new communications boom.
- Landline telephones have been left in the dust: With VoIP, users plug their phone connection into their modem, bypassing a direct copper home phone line.
- New NBN connections also commonly prefer the use of VoIP as the country moves away from copper connections.
- VoIP can be cost effective: Many internet providers charge for ‘home phone line rental’, which is basically paying for the privilege to access and have an active copper home phone line in your home.
- VoIP bypasses this need by plugging directly into a compatible Wi-Fi modem.
We’ve established that VoIP has a strong foothold in the future of home phone calling in Australia, but how much data does it actually use, and will it limit internet speeds in any way?
How Much Data Does VoIP Use?
Perhaps the best thing about VoIP is that, unlike many other things used over the internet, it does not require a lot of data or particularly fast internet speeds.
- A single phone call requires download and upload speeds of only 100Kbps, with 3Mbps a second now recommended. Given a lot of providers these days boast 20Mbps download speeds with 1Mbps upload speeds on ADSL2+, bandwidth for VoIP is usually not an issue.
- As far as data used, 13 megabytes per hour tends to be about the norm. Given that most broadband plans are unlimited these days, this is likely not a major issue, unless you have a data-limited plan
- This low data use is also good for mobile phone data connections as many plans nowadays boast over 1GB in data inclusions. This begs a question: Could you forego calls and texts, and just base everything entirely on the internet?
The communications landscape is fundamentally changing, with VoIP services allowing Australians to communicate both at home and on the move. Evidently, the humble fixed landline has been politely told to vacate the premises. So with VoIP appearing to be a solid alternative, what services are out there, and what can you expect to pay?
Australia’s Top VoIP Home Phone Internet Plans
With the NBN nearing completion, most ISPs currently provide VoIP plans as an alternative to fixed-line telephone plans, with consumers able to use their regular home phone to access these services. Generally speaking, VoIP services frequently come as an option with a naked DSL plan, while traditional DSL providers prefer the bundling of a traditional home phone line. There are exceptions of course. The following is a selection of some of the top ISPs offering VoIP plans. Keep in mind that all NBN services use VoIP for home phone connections, as it’s what the technology allows.
Telstra VoIP Plans
Telstra offers VoIP plans as a part of its NBN offerings. Australia’s most popular telco offers NBN 25, NBN 50 and NBN 100 speeds, with a call pack bundled into every NBN plan at no added cost:
- Local calls, Mobile calls and National calls are all unlimited, bar certain numbers including 19XX numbers
- Customers can get 500 calls per month to 13 numbers. Over this allowance, you’ll be charged 40 cents per call, excluding certain numbers
- Calls to other countries are included, and vary in rates
As Australia’s biggest telco, there’s a lot to love in getting a bundle plan. You can also pick up an entertainment bundle with Telstra including a Telstra TV, and get three months of BINGE streaming with any NBN plan.
The below table features a selection of published Telstra NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers. These are products with links to a referral partner.
Aussie Broadband VoIP Plans
Aussie Broadband is a popular ISP, which has had a lot of big wins as a provider, especially as the recipient of Canstar Blue’s Most Satisfied Customers award for NBN Providers. Aussie Broadband offers NBN 12, 25/10, 50, 100, 250 and 1000 speeds, which can each have a VoIP service stacked on top of them for a small additional fee. Aussie Broadband offers PAYG plans as a baseline for all NBN plans, although you can pay an additional fee for either an Everday or International Calls bundle:
- PAYG calls are included on each plan, and offer Local Calls for 15 cents, Mobile Calls for 22 cents, and National Calls for 15 cents. International calls vary from country to country, and in-network calls are unlimited
- The Everyday call pack is $10 per month on top of an NBN plan, and includes all Australian number calls
- The International Talk call pack is $20, and includes Australian number calls and calls to select international numbers
- Across all three VoIP plans, 13/1300 numbers are 35 cents per call
With the International Talk bundle, Aussie Broadband offers a service called “Talk Time” for international calls and 13/1300 calls. Calls to certain numbers and destinations will be free to a credit of $10 per month with Talk Time – though after this threshold you may have to pay certain rates to these numbers. Calls to different countries vary.
Below you can find a snapshot of Aussie Broadband plans from our database. listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers. These are products with links to a referral partner.
Dodo VoIP Plans
Dodo is a popular Australian provider that offers NBN 25, NBN 50 and NBN 100 plans, and VoIP plans coupled to these speed offerings, with four choices. Dodo also offers standard line rental.
- PAYG calls: Local calls cost 25 cents per call, National calls cost 29 cents per minute (39 cents flagfall), Mobile calls cost 39 cents per minute (39 cents flagfall), 13/1300 calls cost 44 cents per call. Calls to international numbers varying from country to country
- Unlimited call pack: $10 per month for unlimited calls to local, national and mobile calls (13/1300 number rates and international calls are listed as above)
- International landline pack: $15 per month for 2000 minutes of landline calls to the top 25 countries, on top of unlimited calls to Australian numbers. 13/1300 number rates are listed as above
- International landline and mobile pack: $20 per month for 2000 minutes of calls to landline and mobile numbers in the top 25 countries, on top of unlimited calls to Australian numbers. 13/1300 number rates are listed as above
The below table features a selection of published Dodo NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers. These are products with links to a referral partner.
Flip VoIP Plan
Flip offers NBN 12, 25, 50 and 100, along with three VoIP packs on top of these speed tiers. 13/1300 calls are 33 cents per call across all three VoIP packs, and international calls vary between countries:
- Basic: $2.95 per month for PAYG phone calls – 20 cents per local call, 20 cents per minute for national calls and 33 cents per minute for mobile calls
- Standard: $9.95 per month – unlimited calls to local and national calls, with 33 cents per minute for mobile calls
- Bonus: $19.95 per month – unlimited calls to local, national and mobile numbers in Australia
If you’d like to see Flip’s NBN offerings, see the table below.
The below table features a selection of published Flip NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers.
iiNet VoIP Plans
iiNet offers its Netphone VoIP service with its residential NBN, VDSL2, cable and naked DSL plans, and it’s priced at $9.95 per month.
- Netphone comes with included calls to other Netphone numbers, along with local and standard national calls, while calls to Australian mobile numbers cost 29 cents per minute, which are billed in 30 second increments
- International calls are from 5 cents per minute (with call inclusions varying plan by plan)
- Dependent on the contract, you can additionally purchase a VoIP international call pack for an additional $10 a month. This includes all calls to landlines in 20 different countries, including popular ones like the UK, New Zealand, Canada and the USA
- For an additional $10 per month you can buy a VoIP Mobile Call Pack – this includes all calls to standard Australian landlines and mobiles
iiNet’s VoIP plans come with no minimum term, although they are only available when bundled with an iiNet fixed line broadband service, and the broadband service may come with a minimum term.
Netphone works by plugging a standard phone into a VoIP-enabled broadband modem, or for those without a VoIP modem via a VoIP adaptor, ATA, device. Below are some iiNet plans you can expect to see bundled with a Netphone.
The below table features a selection of published iiNet NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers. These are products with links to a referral partner.
Internode VoIP Plans
Internode is a subsidiary of TPG and perhaps unsurprisingly has several broadband plans with the ability to add a VoIP service. Internode’s VoIP service is called the ‘Nodephone’ and Internode packages this service with many NBN plans.
- NodePhone plans start at $0 extra per month, which comes with PAYG rates, while other plans can be had from $5 per month.
- PAYG: Local and national calls are untimed and charged at 18c each. Mobile calls are 29c a minute while international rates start at just 15 cents flagfall.
Internode may be a subsidiary of TPG but what it offers is quite different. 250GB data can be had from under $60 a month, remembering that a NodePhone with credit can be bundled from an extra $5. Internode does not seem to offer any ‘packs’, rather relying on relatively cheap call rates to see customers through.
The below table features a selection of published Internode NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers. These are products with links to a referral partner.
iPrimus VoIP Plans
iPrimus’ range includes two VoIP plans, which can be purchased on top of its broadband plans. All plans come with Pay As You Go (PAYG) included, although there are two plans you can buy on top of this These are:
- Australian Calls: Unlimited Local, National & Mobile calls (excluding 13/1300 numbers): $10 on top of your NBN plan
- Australian + International Calls: Unlimited Local, National & Mobile calls (excluding 13/1300 numbers) and 2000 minutes of landline and mobile phone calls to 25 countries: $30 on top of your NBN plan
On the PAYG plan, local and national calls are priced at 20 cents per call for local calls, with national and interstate calls costing 20 cents per call, Australian mobile calls costing 36 cents per minute, with $1.17 being the cost of a standard two minute phone call to a mobile. 13/1300 numbers cost 44 cents per call.
As of the time of writing, you’ll need to couple an iPrimus VoIP to an iPrimus NBN plan, which is why you can only pick one up at the checkout of your NBN purchase. iPrimus offers NBN 25, 50, 100 and 250 on month-to-month and 12-month contracts, with either unlimited or 250GB data plans.
The below table features a selection of published iPrimus NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers.
Southern Phone VoIP Plans
As if the name didn’t give it away, Southern Phone offers VoIP plans both as a standalone service and on top of its NBN 50 and NBN 100 speed tier offerings. Offering some decent deals as far as NBN plans go, you can order several different types of VoIP service through Southern Phone.
- VoIP Small: A PAYG service costing $10 per month for local calls. It costs 10 cents per local call, national calls cost 10 cents per call, mobile calls cost 37 cents per minute (capped at $1.49 for 10 minutes), and calls to 13/1300 numbers cost 40 cents per call
- VoIP Medium: An unlimited local calls service costing $20 per month. Includes unlimited local calls, unlimited national calls, 37 cents per minute of a mobile call (capped at $1.49 for 10 minutes), and 40 cents per 13/1300 call
- VoIP Large: An unlimited local calls service costing $20 per month. Includes all of the incentives of VoIP Medium, with unlimited mobile calls, and 40 cents per 13/1300 call
- VoIP X-Large: An unlimited calls service costing $40 per month. This service includes all of the incentives of VoIP Large, with unlimited international calls to select countries and 40 cents per 13/1300 calls
You can order South Phone VoIP packs separate from Southern Phone NBN plans, although if you’re interested in Southern Phone’s NBN offering, see below.
The below table features a selection of published Southern Phone NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers. These are products with links to a referral partner.
Tangerine VoIP Plans
Tangerine is an up and coming star in the Australian ISP game, with a range of great NBN plans for all kinds of people, and typically some of the cheapest on the market. With this in mind it makes sense that the fruity telco would sell a VoIP offering.
- Tangerine doesn’t offer a PAYG plan, however does offer a “Home Phone Plan”, which you can bring your old number to
- Tangerine’s Home Phone Plan is $10 per month on top of your NBN bill, and includes line rental, local, national and mobile calls
- 13/1300 calls are billed at 45 cents per call
- All calls on the landline are to Australian numbers only
Tangerine plans revolve around the NBN offering, and you can also get a modem and a mobile plan at the checkout. See below for the NBN plans on offer.
The below table features a selection of published Tangerine NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers. These are products with links to a referral partner.
TPG VoIP Plans
TPG is one of the most popular NBN providers, offering some of the cheapest internet plans on the market, on top of offering VoIP plans. You can pick up a TPG NBN plan for as little as $29.99 for a 10GB NBN 12 plan, although TPG offers a lot more, up to NBN 100.
Every TPG NBN plan comes with VoIP added in, with the PAYG set as a baseline. additional call packs cost a bit more.
- PAYG calls: Available on every NBN plan, and includes local calls for 25 cents per call, calls to landlines for 25 cents per minute (capped at $2 for up to 20 minutes per call, national call rates after that), calls to mobiles for 39 cents per minute (Capped at $2.48 for up to 20 minutes per call, mobile call rates after that), international calls varying from country to country and 30 cents per call to 13/1300 numbers
- Oz Talk: For $10 per month, you can get unlimited Local, national and mobile calls to Australian numbers, with International Calls and 13/1300 calls set at PAYG (rates listed above)
- Big Talk: For $10 per month, you can get unlimited local and national calls, with 13/1300 calls and mobile calls set as PAYG (rates listed above). 100 international minutes per month are also available on this plan
- Extra Talk: For $20 per month, you can get unlimited local, national, and Australian mobile calls, along with unlimited calls to select countries. 13/1300 numbers are PAYG
The below table features a selection of published TPG NBN plans from Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of cost from lowest to highest. Use our comparison tool to see plans from a wider range of providers.
Activ8me VoIP Plans
Activ8me banks on being the rural and regional experts of internet in Australia, offering NBN connections across wired and wireless connections, along with OptiComm fibre and Sky Muster NBN. On top of these services, Activ8me also offers VoIP to customers across three payment plans.
- Internet Phone (Basic): $5 per month for PAYG calls – 11 cents for untimed local calls, 17 cents per minute for national calls, 25 cents per minute for mobile calls and 38 cents for 13/1300 calls. International calls vary from country to country
- Internet Phone (National Pack): $10 per month for unlimited local and national calls. Mobile calls are 25 cents per minute, 13/1300 calls are 38 cents per call. International calls vary depending on the country
- Internet Phone (Unlimited Pack): $20 per month for unlimited local, national and mobile calls within Australia. International calls vary depending on the country, and 13/1300 calls are 38 cents per call
Exetel VoIP Plans
Exetel offers its own VoIP service, ExeFone, with all of its broadband plans. Under ExeFone plans, Exetel to Exetel calls are free, and if bundling a broadband service, the Exefone service is about $10 a month extra. For this customers get local, national, mobile and international calls to 10 countries included.
- Other international rates are available from as little as 1c a minute
Exetel already offers some cheap NBN and ADSL plans, with unlimited data plans across both NBN and ADSL offerings. NBN plans are offered on no lock-in contracts at the NBN 50 and NBN 100 speeds, with prices starting at $69.99 and going up to $89.99.
Foxtel VoIP Plans
Foxtel is most known for its entertainment offerings, although it also offers NBN 50, with four major plans. On top of offering sports, movies and all kinds of entertainment from plan-to-plan, VoIP is also included in all plans, with unlimited local, national and mobile calls available on all plans, with international calls varying between countries.
Mate VoIP Plans
For an additional $9 across all speed tiers offered by Mate Communicate (NBN 12, 25, 50 and 100) you can pick up a call pack with a VoIP service. The bundled-in VoIP service includes unlimited calls to Australian mobile, local and national numbers, with international calls varying from country to country, and 13/1300 calls costing 50 cents per call.
Mint Telecom VoIP Plans
Mint Telecom is a lesser known NBN provider focusing on building your own plan, that offers VoIP bundles with all of its speeds, offering NBN 12, 25, 50, 100 and 100/40. To couple with these speed tiers, Mint Telecom has four VoIP plans you can pick up, all of which offering something a little different:
- Nude: A PAYG plan that’s free on top of Mint Telecom plans. Calls cost 25 cents per local calls, 20 cents per minute for national calls, 36 cents for calls to Australian mobiles, 44 cents per call to 13/1300 numbers, and calls are free to other Mint Telecom numbers
- Starter: For $5 per month, this plan gives you unlimited local calls, along with all of the other costs listed in the Mint Nude plan above
- Middle: Includes unlimited local and national calls, along with the costs listed in the Mint Nude plan
- Ultimate: Unlimited calls to local, national and mobile numbers, with all of the other costs of the Mint Nude plan.
MyRepublic VoIP Plans
MyRepublic already offers NBN plans on NBN 25, NBN 50 and NBN 100 speeds and also offers VoIP plans from a little extra per month. MyRepublic add ons start at $10 per month for Australian landlines and mobiles, and go up to $20 per month for international inclusions. Calls can be PAYG for $0 per month. These voice packs can be added to any plan.
- PAYG call rates are as follows: Local calls are 20 cents per call, national calls are 20 cents per minute + call connection fee, mobile calls are 20 cents per minute + call connection fee, calls to 13/1300 numbers are 35 cents per call, and international call rates vary depending on the country
- MyRepublic’s fixed line NBN plans come with the top three speed tiers as standard, which is 25/5, 50/20 and both the 100/20 and 100/40 Premium speeds.
- Special Gamer plans available, which are optimised for a more premium online gaming experience.
MyRepublic is still a relative unknown compared to the bigger telcos but offers some cheap naked DSL & NBN plans with cheap VoIP call packs thrown in if you so choose.
Optus VoIP Plans
As Telstra’s biggest competition, it makes sense for Optus to also offer VoIP phones. Offering just NBN 50 and NBN 100, Optus allows a phone bundle to be added on top of both speed tiers for an additional $10. Without the ‘Phone Everyday’ add on, all Optus phone plans are $0 per month PAYG. Below you’ll find the pricing for Optus PAYG VoIP plans:
- 30 cents per call for Standard calls to local numbers
- 28 cents per minute to standard mobile numbers and national fixed lines
- 35 cents per call to 13/1300 numbers
- Calls to other countries vary greatly, with calls to India, Hong Kong, China, Canada, Singapore, Thailand and the US unlimited
You can completely waive these call fees by paying $10 per month for the Phone Everyday bundle, giving you unlimited calls to many more countries. Below you can find Optus NBN bundles, including PAYG and Phone Everyday bundles.
Origin VoIP Plans
Normally known for being an energy company, Origin has some NBN plans on offer. Origin offers a $10 add-on to all of its NBN plans, allowing for a VoIP call pack. With this you can get unlimited calls to local, national and mobile numbers, with 13/1300 numbers costing 40 cents per call and international calls varying depending on the country.
Spintel VoIP Plans
Spintel is a lesser-known ISP, that has home interesting value and some great things on offer, like data capped plans across NBN 25, 50 and 100 speed tiers. On top of offering NBN plans, Spintel offers some VoIP plans.
- The first phone plan is free on top of an NBN plan, and includes local and national calls for free. Mobile calls are 20 cents per minute, and 13/1300 calls are 40 cents per call
- The second phone plan is $10 on top of your NBN plan, and includes unlimited mobile calls, on top of what’s offered in the free first plan
Start Broadband VoIP Plans
Another lesser-known broadband provider, Start Broadband offers VoIP plans on top of NBN plans. All NBN plans, be them NBN 25, 50 or 100, include a PAYG plan as standard for free, although you can pick up a call package for an additional monthly fee. Start Broadband calls this service “Start Talk”
- PAYG call fees are as follows: Local calls are 20 cents per call, national calls are 20 cents per minute (capped at $3), mobile calls are 35 cents per minute, and 13/1300 numbers are 40 cents per call
- The additional Start Talk Unlimited plan is $20 per month, and offers unlimited local, national and mobile calls.
- International calls vary from country to country.
Sumo VoIP Plans
Sumo is an NBN and energy provider, that naturally also offers VoIP plans if you so wish to pick one up. As a standard, all Sumo plans offer VoIP as an addon, and for $15 you can upgrade to have unlimited calls to Australian numbers if you so wish. Sumo offers NBN 25, 50 and 100.
- For $15, you can get unlimited local, national and mobile calls on top of your NBN plan. 13/1300 calls cost 40 cents per call, and international calls are different costs depending on destination. A once-off fee of $5 applies if you’re transferring your old home phone number.
Where can I get free VoIP?
A range of free (and a combination of both paid and free) VoIP services have emerged amid the high-speed broadband and mobile connectivity boom and are now well-established in the market. Referred to as over-the-top (OTT) services – being delivered over the user’s network service, but not directly from their ISP – these services encompass a combination of functions in addition to voice calling, including video calling, along with text and picture messaging. Among some of the bigger and better known services are:
- Messenger (Facebook)
All you need with these services is a data or internet connection, and away you go. These apps are available via both desktop and mobile devices, across the Windows, Android and iOS platforms. Such services typically allow users to communicate with each other for free within the application, yet cannot be used to contact mobile and fixed line numbers, and in this regard are limited when compared to the paid VoIP services on offer from ISPs.
However, it should be noted that some free services also offer paid functionality, charging users to make calls to mobile or fixed line numbers and operating in a similar manner to paid VoIP services. Indeed, in the case of Messenger, you have the choice to put all your mobile phone contacts into the app and text from the app. It uses data, and not your text credit. This is done by sending text as MMS, instead of SMS. However, text MMS likely does not use much data.
It should also be noted that while these services are free, users will need to pay for the broadband used to deliver them. While many of these texting functions do not use much data, the fact is they employ a lot of multimedia tools that can eat up data. So, keep track of how much data you are using!
These free VoIP services do have their limitations, so it can be worthwhile looking into paid services as well to get the most immersive VoIP experience.
Paid vs Free VoIP: What’s best?
For people in the market for a paid VoIP plan, keep in mind that these services often come with a broadband plan. It may well be worthwhile consolidating your broadband and VoIP needs as one. While you may not be able to rely exclusively on free services, you should certainly explore your options and tailor any paid VoIP plan accordingly. The free VoIP services mentioned earlier seem to work best as an option when you’re out and about, while the paid VoIP services through broadband providers work best at home as a replacement to your home phone.
Certainly, a paid VoIP plan provides further flexibility when used in conjunction with other services, and amid a variety of options, it may well be a case of mixing and matching your various free and paid services. Whatever the case, VoIP services are likely the way of the future, and whether you spell ‘phone’ with an ‘f’ or a ‘ph’, there’s likely a VoIP service out there to suit you.