The Good Low monthly rates; standard unlimited-minutes plan includes countries in Western Europe; offers an Asian calling plan; 911 support; virtual numbers.
The Bad Inconsistent call quality.
The Bottom Line Lingo offers low rates that will appeal especially to international callers, but its call quality is inconsistent compared to some VoIP services.
It seems that each month brings a new competitor to VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) telephone providers such as Vonage, Packet8, and . New to this increasingly crowded space is Lingo, which comes close to knocking off the competition. Lingo offers the lowest monthly unlimited-minutes plan of all the VoIP packages we've seen at $19.95, which includes not only the United States and Canada, but also numerous countries in Western Europe. Likewise, its plans come equipped with a lengthy list of features: all plans include 911 emergency calling, and business plans include fax capabilities. Unfortunately, Lingo's call quality was inconsistent, with more interference than we've experienced with other VoIP services. Perhaps you'll have better luck with call quality. International callers may want to take advantage of Lingo's 30-day money-back guarantee (plus, you get the first month free) in the hopes of a better connection. If your long-distance calls are primarily domestic, there are more reliable VoIP alternatives. The Lingo installation process is straightforward. When you sign up for Lingo's service, the company sends you a proprietary Primus telephone adapter. Follow the printed setup instructions, which have you unplug your broadband modem and router, connect the telephone adapter to an Ethernet port on your router, then power them back up in a specific order--modem, router, then adapter--to allow the adapter to receive an IP address. Then, when you start up, you have to wait as the adapter downloads the latest firmware. Be careful to read the instructions thoroughly on this point, because stopping the process can cause technical problems for the entire connection.
Once online, you can log in to your account from Lingo's Web site, where you can make changes to your account profile, contact support, and manage your account's various features. Though you have to click in and out of a different page to change the settings for each feature, the forms are clear and usable. We particularly like its clear and easy-to-access incoming and outgoing call logs.
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