I had heard the term ‘voice over IP’ dozens of times before I made any effort to learn what it was. Then I clicked on an ad (which I rarely do) from Vonage, advertising the use of your broadband internet connection to replace your phone line.
Having had a horrific time with AT&T, I was pleased to find that they had no contracts – you could cancel at any time. They do have a $39.99 cancellation fee, but if you return the router (you pay shipping) the fee is refunded.
After having used Vonage for several months now, I can’t say I recommend them without reservations, but I would still recommend them with a few caveats. You can keep your old phone number, but it took over 3 months for the transfer to take place. I blame our existing phone company as well as Vonage, but it was annoying to have to wait that long.
Our router burnt out too, which I think was just a fluke. We called them about it and they shipped another one out to us and we shipped the old one back. I guess is was a good thing it took so long for them to switch the number over because otherwise it would have meant we wouldn’t have been able to call them about it.
Other than that, I’ve been pleased. It costs about $18/month, less than we used to pay for a normal land line, but with Vonage you get long distance (250 outgoing minutes a month, if you go over it’s $0.04/minute), free incoming calls, caller ID, voice mail, e-mail notifications of voice mail, the ability to listen to your voice mails online and did I mention the price? It used to cost nearly $100 with our land line and two cell phones, and now it costs us just $18/month.
They have a referral program where you both get two free months of service, so if you’re interested in trying it out, let me know. Feel free to ask any questions you may have about the service in the comments.
There’s also been some postulating that Google may enter VoIP. The Skype software has been downloaded 54 million times around the world, but no large companies have picked up on it yet. It stands to reason that things will change as more people get high-speed internet access, allowing them to have cheaper phone access.