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What is the deal w/ VOIP services?

by blksmk605 / January 20, 2006 10:16 AM PST

I constantly see and hear about Vonage, and Verizon's Voicewing internet telephone services... and now Comcast... What is the benefit of VOIP compared to regular telephone? I mean, Yahoo and MSN messengers allow you to talk to people for free on there... while dumb-*** AOL wanna charge you... stupid move!!

But what really is the benefit!! I have a cell phone anyway, so do about half the country... hoem phones are obsolete nowadays, but I jus wanted to know....
Thanks...

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Just another toy. . .
by Coryphaeus / January 20, 2006 10:32 PM PST

I've often asked these people what happens if the connection goes down. What happens if you loose power? Simple answer is that you loose your connection. The way I see it it's just another toy.

I've used ICQ and Yahoo Messenger to play around with voice and my web cam, visiting with friends across the country. But I surely wouldn't want to trust an important phone call to an ISP.

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re:
by vixenk / February 2, 2006 12:41 AM PST

I just recently became a Vonage customer, mainly because while regular land line service ran me about $80 a month for the feature set I had, Vonage costs less than $30 for the feature set I had and more I didn't have. I can't even get regular plain phone service without any long distance for that much. Land lines aren't any more reliable than power lines - they're both above ground, ran on the same poles, and neither of the companies where I live ever bother to get rid of tree limbs over the lines. If one goes out, the other goes out as well, so it doesn't really matter which one you rely on.

Yes, Yahoo and MSN lets you talk to people for free, BUT you can't actually call outside of their clients *as far as I know* AND you don't have an actual phone number or anything like that that people can call you at. In other words, they're not REAL phone services.

Some of the things I like about Vonage is the ability to check your caller id online, the ability to view your entire call history both inbound and outbound online, and the ability to download your voicemail messages online. Plus it doesn't hurt that you get a normally $80 Linksys router for free with signup. They also have the BEST phone support I've seen any company have in a long, LONG time, especially a phone company.

Yes, you can rely on a cell phone if you don't make or recieve many calls... but cell phones aren't cheap enough yet to be able to completely replace the land lines of those of us who do make/recieve a lot of calls.

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re:re:
by vixenk / February 2, 2006 12:43 AM PST
In reply to: re:

I might also want to add that I have had NO service problems in the past two months I've been using Vonage - which is more than I can say for Bellsouth.

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What Service?
by jkdeasy / February 11, 2006 10:15 AM PST
In reply to: re:

What service gives you a free Linksys modem?

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re:
by vixenk / February 11, 2006 11:01 PM PST
In reply to: What Service?

Vonage gives you a free Linksys phone adapter + router *worth $80* when you get their VOIP service. Happy

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Here's the deal ...
by ChazzMatt / February 10, 2006 7:18 PM PST

Vonage is interent phone service -- but it uses real phones, real phone jacks -- not geeky headsets. You pick up the phone to make a call to ANYBODY on the planet or answer it from anybody. I had my Bellsouth phone number transferred to my Vonage account.

Vonage works by plugging your phone into a special Linksys router (has phone jacks as well as ethernet jacks on back) that connects to your cable modem. You get dial tone, busy signals. If you have a voice mail, you get the stutter beep, just like with regular phone service. It IS regular phone service, but over the internet for a third of the cost. It's magic.

I'm paiying $15 + a couple dollars in taxes and fees for same stuff I was paying Bellsouth $50 + long distarnce for. I get local phone calling, long distance, call waiting, caller ID, call forwarding, voice mail... I can check my voice mail ONLINE if I want (which lets me choose the order of messages) and can even download or forward the voice mail as sound files (much like mp3s). I'm using the same phone number I've had for years -- my friends don't' see any difference in the year I've had Vonage.

Cell phones are OK, but in my apartment I can't get a good signal. With my cell phone, the call either goes straight to voice mail or I'll talk for a minute or so and the signal is lost. So, I like having a home phone. Plus, I don't necessarily want everyone to have my cell phone number.

If you want a home phone, there's no need to pay one of the Bells an arm and and a leg. Use Vonage.

I chose the Vonage "$15 - 500 minutes" plan which gives me over 8 hours of talking (local or long distance). They also have an "$25 - unlimited" plan, but I don't talk that much. On the 500 minutes plan (sort of like a cell phone plan) they charge you per minute over the limit, but in a year of using Vonage I've never gotten to $25. You have to talk for like another two hours past the 8 hours to hit $25. But, if you talk a lot -- and you know who you are -- get the $25 unlimited plan.

With Bellsouth I was paying $30-something for basic phone service, $5 for voice mail, and naother $10 for options package (included caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding of calls to my voice mail if the phone was busy.) Just the stuff you need, nothing fancy. But with fees and taxes, it all came to $50 per month. AND THAT'S NOT EVEN INCLUDING LONG DISTANCE CHARGES -- which was sometimes another $5 to $10 per month. So, $50 at minimum for BellSouth, sometimes $60. With Vonage, the same service (including any long distance) is $15 + a couple dollars for taxes and fees.

As for quality, most times it sounds like a regular phone call. Occasionally -- very occasionally -- it will degrade to the quality of a cell phone call. Not a big deal -- some people only use cell phones and they live with that all the time. In the past year, I've had dropped calls 3 or 4 times. In a YEAR. Again, not a big deal. For less than $17 per month, I can live with that. People say, but what if you lose power or your cable goes out? Oh, stop it. I'm not paying 3 times as much just for ''what if'' scenarios, OK? Power goes out, cable goes out -- that's what cell phones are for. Except in my case I have to step out to my parking lot to make a cell phone call because my cell phone doesn't work as good as my Vonage in my apt. My Vonage is great, I love it.

However, be wary of outfits jumping on the voIP bandwagon, like Comcast. I use Comcast cable modem (fantastic speed, good service) but I will NOT use their voIP plan. They want to charge as much as Bellsouth but just include long distance for free. Huge profit for them but the consumer is not seeing much benefit. Vonage is much better. Lower costs, lots of features, great service.

THAT's the deal with VOIP.

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p.s.
by ChazzMatt / February 10, 2006 7:37 PM PST
In reply to: Here's the deal ...

BellSouth keeps sending me "please come back" love letters. I'm not kidding. Two of them looked like romantic cards ("Relationships can go wrong for many reasons")-- I was trying to figure out which ex-girfriend it was from until I opened it and it was from BellSouth. They even generously offered me $5 off my phone bill for six months if I rejoined the chain gang. Be stil my heart!

Let's see $50 - $60 per month with Bellsouth (minus $5 for six months, then back to full price) or $16.94 (last month's Vonage bill)

Sorry, BellSouth, I've dumped you for someone better.

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Vonage
by Bozz5384 / February 11, 2006 12:36 AM PST
In reply to: p.s.

I switched to Vonage back in November, from Verizon. We were paying Verizon $53 a month for just basic service, with caller id, etc. This didn't include ANY long distance, we used cell phones for that.

Vonage costs me 50% of that, and nobody can tell! The calling features are great, account management easy, router is small, and I can talk as much as I want for $27.24 a month (with tax).

Why would I pay twice as much for LESS service?

Bozz

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Switching from Verizon to Vonage....
by Russtuc / November 19, 2006 7:13 AM PST
In reply to: Vonage

I have some questions about switching over my service....how long does it take to get one's existing phone number switched over? I also wonder how my wireless router will work - I have a home network which includes one desktop and a wireless Laptop with a Linksys PC card. So, how would I set-up my system...currently I have a Modem, Wireless Router. I also have Direct TV...which requires a phone line for all of their boxes you use in your house for the TV service. Can I use Vonage and also have a line for all of my Direct TV boxes on the same line? Can you reply back to my questions before I make that switch? I don't want to go thur the problem of trying to switch and find out that my Direct TV service isn't workable with Vonage. Thanks in advance.

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