Update: I have used Vonage for a little over two years now and must say it has been a pleasant experience. Their basic rate is $25, but I pay an additional $10 for a second number on the same line. Two major things tend to stand out to me when I consider my experience with this VoIP provider.
The first point relates to sound quality. When I first got the service I thought the sound quality was comparable to “ma bell”, except when I was using the internet intensely (using file-sharing while watching YouTube) in which case the other party reported I sounded garbled. This may have actually been an issue with my router, though, because I changed routers ten months ago and haven’t had issues in about a year. What some people may not notice, though, is when you call someone else with Vonage. I honestly believe the quality to be crystal clear in such cases. There’s less distortion than on phone lines. When you hear a TV or talking in the background, the voices remain distinct. Another case I have for better sound quality is when calling my friends abroad. They no longer sound a mile away due to signal loss. I almost never get a bad connection now and I would say that in those rare occasions I would have to blamed it on the Egyptian telecommunications, because what few times I do get static it’s usually during the afternoon in Cairo. If you have pen-pals abroad, this service is a must-have. The other issue or lack there of would be regarding usage charges.
Though I only just started getting free calling globally (and still at the same low price which I’ve paid without a rate hike for twenty-six months), I’ve experienced significant international savings throughout my history with Vonage. My former phone provider, MCI, could charge me as much as $80 a month for the limited calling I placed to my old college friends in Egypt and Ireland. As soon as I got my first Vonage bill, I noticed the huge difference, at all times paying less than a dollar a minute for international calling, even to rural places that most providers charge an arm and leg to call. Now, I can call for hours without a worry or care. I haven’t had to worry about long distance charges since even before Vonage, but, with MCI, I was paying nearly $75 for unlimited long distance.
I would definitely recommend anyone looking into VoIP to give Vonage a try.
I have used Vonage for quite some time after reading a VoIP review, and I absolutely love it. The price of the service includes long distance in the United States and Canada, and some other countries as well. For the countries that are not free, the rates are excellent.
As far as quality goes, the sound is about as good as a cell phone call, and it is not as clear as a landline. I have found that a corded phone works better than a cordless one. Many of the bells and whistles that regular phone companies charge for are included in the price.
You get voicemail, call forwarding, call waiting, and other features included in the bundle. In addition, you can chose to have voicemail messages transcribed and e-mailed to you for an additional price. In addition, you have the option of adding a “soft phone” to your account. This is a phone number assigned to a computer. This is especially useful for people who travel abroad often, as you can make phone calls to the United States at no extra charge, as long as you have an internet connection.
Billing is also very convenient. You must provide Vonage with your credit card number, and the company then charges it automatically every month. You can log into their website to see your bill and usage. One drawback is that you do not receive paper statements.
Another drawback is that your actual bill will be about ten dollars higher than the nominal charge, because of taxes, fees, and surcharges. Emergency calls (911) are different from a regular landline. Since Vonage works anywhere you have internet, your phone number is not attached to a physical location, so the 911 dispatcher has no way of knowing where you are located. If you want the benefit of the emergency dispatcher knowing your location, you must register your address through the Vonage website. You must do this every time you move.
Though I believe Voice over IP technology has a long way to go in order to become as clear and reliable as landlines, the price is a huge incentive to switch. I would not go back to a regular landline after using Vonage for a few years.