If you are really looking for the best deals in residential VOIP services, look at providers with annual subscription rates. Most VOIP providers only offer monthly plans. Vonage for example is currently offering $24.99 per month for its basic unlimited service (free unlimited calling to anywhere in NA and Europe).
But as a way to reward and attract customers, VOIP companies are adopting what cell phone companies have been doing for years: offering the latest and greatest gear for free in return for long term committment.
SunRocket markets a similar package at $24.95 per month or an annual subscription at $199 per year. That works out to about $17 a month. So if you can handle prepaying for your service by the year instead of by the month, then an annual package is a good idea.
Packet8 has also recently adopted the annual package deal. For a flat rate of $199 per year, you get get unlimited calling within North Americal, calling features like voicemail and call waiting and a 100% discount on a Packet-8 enabled UIP1868P 5.8-GHz digital cordless phone system, which can be extended to work with multiple cordless handsets.
Tom Keating recently talked about how to pure VOIP providers like Vonage stack up against the cable and telco companies offering broadband Internet VOIP phone services.
In the article he compares pure VOIP providers like Vonage and Packet8 to telecos and cable companies like Verizon and Time Warner. What do consumers really want? Is cost always the bottom line or are people looking for brand trust, quality of service and reliability over the long haul? His assessment may surprise you.
Click here to read the complete article on his blog.
Who is Tom Keating? He owns the VOIP and Gadgets Blog and is CTO, VP and founder of TMC Labs, one of the leading sources for unbiased opinions and reviews in the VoIP, call center, datacom/telecom industries.
I’ve had a Skype account for awhile, but haven’t used it much because I’d decided to go with Vonage. Now that I’ve cancelled my Vonage service, I’m ready to really put Skype through its paces.
At the time of writing, Skype is up to release 126.96.36.199 so I’ve had to upgrade my Skype software. NOt a problem. Their websit and download instructions are clear enough.
You are prompted to close the existing Skype version if it is running, click the Download button and then the Run button when prompted, and follow the rest of the installation prompts. That’s it.
I recently upgraded my desktop to a Dell laptop, and I had a headset kicking around. A huge Plantronics thing (a) that must have been originally for my husband’s gaming, but works OK for my purposes. Another way to go is to get just a microphone (b) and use the speakers on the computer for sound, like a speakerphone. The third nifty piece of hardware I’d like to show you is a “dongle” (c)that allows you to switch between headset mode (in which all sound is piped through your headset), and regular speaker mode. Since I don’t plan on having my headset on all the time, it’s convenient to toggle between the two modes at the push of a button. This gizmo costs less than $15. Go see your local Radio Shack.
(a) (b) (c)
Well, after eight uneventful months, Vonage and I are parting ways. Perhaps not the most auspicious way to start off a blog about VoIP but I’m being honest here. I’m not going to go into a big rant. Flame throwing just isn’t my style. I don’t hate Vonage. The service just wasn’t financially making sense for me. The phone usage in my business isn’t enough to warrant a fixed monthly plan, even one as low as $24.99. Plus in my area the call quality wasn’t pristine. And some people do get excellent voice over Vonage. But I generally experienced crackling and lag on most calls.
If anyone has comments on Vonage quality in their area, let me know.
From the Vonage forums, it’s clear that call quality varies tremendously from region to region. My advice is that if the VOIP service, Vonage, SunRocket or whatever, isn’t what you expect, try something else. The VOIP marketplace is growing by leaps and bounds, and as a consumer you should shop around.
But now that I’ve done Vonage, it’s time to move on over to other VOIP solutions. Skype, SightSpeed, and Gizmo are the free ones on my radar and make the most sense for me given my business.
Hi and welcome to my blog about VOIP, voice over IP, Internet phone, broadband telephone, or whatever you feel inclined to call it. This is NOT a blog about women, or even necessarily about women who use VOIP services–I mean how boring is that. I called it The VOIP Girl because well I’m a gal. And I want to write about this industry. That’s about it. What really prompted me to get going however, is the fact that there are no women commentators on this subject. I’m curious to see if my perspective will be any different.
I want to write about how consumers (that’s you and me) are doing using VOIP. I don’t necessarily care about IPOs, who’s buying who, and all that insider industry stuff. There are tons of blogs out there talking about all that. In fact I would say that is mostly what you’ll find when you look for VOIP commentary in the blogosphere. It’s great stuff, but really I’m interested in how ordinary folks are using Vonage, Skype, Gizmo, etc., and how is the free stuff stacking up against heavy hitter paid services.