Vonage Review - VoIP Service Provider

CES: Vonage
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Vonage is the most popular phone-based VoIP service provider and it tops my list of the best VoIP service providers. Vonage has been doing well both in terms of technology and marketing; no wonder why it attracted more than two million subscribers. This adds up to their user relation experience and momentum. On the user's side, it is more serene to sign up for a service which you know many other people have signed up for.

Pros

  • Ability to use the same line in a different place, with Vonage Pro
  • Huge number of subscribers, over two million
  • Gives you an ATA along with the service
  • Money back guarantee (14 days)
  • Supports phone number portability
  • Many features
  • Low international rates
  • Supports 911
  • Offers a second line for only $9.99
  • Sophisticated and user-friendly web interface, for online account management

Cons

  • Does not have numbers in all cities
  • Setting up the service requires a minimum skill
  • Many users report poor customer service
  • The 911 service is difficult to handle

Included (Free) Features

Features That Can Be Added On

  • You can upgrade to Vonage Pro, which allows you to use the same line with at other locations.
  • Add a Line - Allows you to add multiple phone numbers to your existing Vonage account.
  • Virtual Phone Number
  • SoftPhone - which you can use on your desktop or laptop computer, with 500 minutes included for local and long-distance calls.
  • Toll-Free Number
  • Fax Service - separate fax line for $9.99 a month.
  • Enhanced 411 services.

    Service Plans

    Vonage offers 4 different service plans:

    Vonage Pro

    A service above the residential premium unlimited plan, that allows users to use the same subscription to make and receive calls anywhere, with a PC over which a softphone is installed.

    Residential Premium Unlimited Plan

    • $ 24.99/month
    • Unlimited local and long distance calling anywhere in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

    Residential Basic 500 Minutes Plan

    • $14.99/month
    • 500 minutes of local and long-distance calling anywhere in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 3.9¢ per minute after the first 500 monthly minutes.

    Small Business Premium Unlimited Plan

    • $49.99/month
    • Unlimited local and long distance calling anywhere in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico for business customers. Free, dedicated fax line.

    Small Business Basic 1500 Minutes Plan

    • $39.99/month
    • 1500 minutes of local and long-distance calling anywhere in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico for business customers. 3.9¢ per minutes after the first 1500 monthly minutes. Free, dedicated fax line.

    Guide Review

    Vonage service delivers good quality at a good price. It is not the cheapest service on the market, but it is not at all expensive, compared to the service it offers. Getting back to voice quality: it depends a lot on the connection you are having.

    To get satisfaction with Vonage VoIP service, you have to have a good broadband connection, at least 90 kbps. Dial-up simply won't work well.

    Vonage has the greatest number of features among providers. Some are very interesting and useful, like voicemail and 911. You can also add a new line, or get a second number for a fax for only $9.99. If you are on the move and want to carry your Vonage service along with you, you can take a laptop and install the Vonage softphone (Also see the Vonage Pro plan) on it. You can then use it with a headset wherever you are, as long you have a good broadband connection.

    Two features I find very interesting are the weather forecast and the traffic information service. If you are using Vonage service, you can dial 700-WEATHER on any Vonage phone, followed by the 5-digit ZIP code of your location; you will have the local weather forecasts recited to you. You can also listen to traffic reports on your Vonage phone by dialing 511. Your location for the traffic reports will be that of the 911 location you registered for.

    Vonage allows you to save money on hardware by providing you with a Linksys ATA, against a termination fee of $39, which is refunded to you when you terminate your service and give the ATA back in good condition.

    Vonage also allows a 14-day trial, with a money-back guarantee; so that you can try the service and decide whether to adopt it or not.

    Before deciding, you also need to note that many Vonage customers have complained about their less-than-good customer service and some occasional drop in quality. Also, the setting up is a little bit difficult. But these still don't prevent Vonage from being a good provider.