Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Broadband VoIP Phone Service; Should You Make The Switch?

Although Broadband VoIP is relatively new, it's become one of the most talked about and used new technologies in recent time. But is it ready for you to make the switch to from your existing phone company? Or even more importantly, why should you switch?

As a small business owner, I asked myself the same questions.
  • Is the service reliable?
  • Can I get 911?
  • What are the advantages?
  • How much will it cost, or save me?
Well, after a year of using the Vonage VoIP service, and testing others (including the more consumer oriented Skype) several months ago I decided to make the switch and move my home and business telephone service to VoIP.

Was it the right move?

Three months after leaving my local phone company, here are my results.

First, there are the cost savings.

Old phone service:

$33.00 base + 0.06 cents per minute long distance. Average bill: $49.00
$49.00 base + 0.06 center per minute long distance + toll free line ($10)
+ incoming toll free calls. Average bill: $72.00 +
$45.00 + toll costs over 500 minutes. Average bill: $59.00

Total communication costs:
Approximately $180 per month.

New VoIP phone service:

Home and Business:
$29.95 base + $5 toll free number + $5 second line. Monthly bill: $39.00 (Includes unlimited long distance in US and 200 minutes of incoming toll free number calls)

$45.00 Average bill: $45

Incoming and outgoing calls, mostly international. Outgoing calls approximately 0.02 per minute world wide. Phone number, approximately $15 per quarter and $5 a month for outgoing toll calls.

New total communication costs:
Approximately $94 per month.
Savings of approximately 50%!

Costs are only one benefit, I've found many more:

Travel: When I travel, I take my laptop and either use my Skype Out service at $0.02 cents per minute, Skype In service for $5 a month, or with my phone adapter, make and receive free calls. I rarely use my wireless phone, saving the costs of overages and usually only take incoming calls from those that have my cell number for conveniece. Most hotels have Broadband service and WiFi hotspots are growing in numbers daily. Skype doesn't require broadband service.

Quality: Sound quality is outstanding on all services I've used, including Vonage and Skype. The calls are at least and usually better quality than my old land line phone service.

Reliability: One of my previous concerns has turned out not to be. Vonage provides a roll-0ver service in case my broadband connection isn't available and routes my calls to my cell phone. Also, I always have my cell phone to call out in case of an outage, which has not occured since I've began using the service.

911: My VoIP provider, Vonage, includes 911 service as long as I am physically at my registered location. If I move, or am traveling for an extended period, I have to register my new location to get 911 service. This 911 service is a benefit to me.


I've only found one, but I'm not sure it's a disadvantage. No phone or telephone book listings (as of this time). Having my phone number out of the phone book may be a benefit, no cold sales calls! :) With so many other marketing avenues available, the phone book may only benefit a certain type of retail business (I don't have a retail business).

Overall, I couldn't be happier with switching over all my phone services to VoIP and will continue to experiment with additional services (like video VoIP and WiFi wireless phone sets) as they become available. I predict more residential and business users will try and eventually switch over to VoIP as the services continue to add features and more reliable services.

If I can help answer questions, feel free to contact me at (remove the AT).

All the best!


Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Vonage Testing VOIP Handset, Video-over-IP

Vonage is in tests to offer a VoIP handset telephone for their customers. The price point looks like it will be around $100 and will initially run as WiFi sets. Vonage also announced it was testing video-over-IP with business customers.

Read more at: Yahoo! News - Vonage Sets $100 Price Point For VOIP Handset

Thursday, April 07, 2005

AOL Launches VoIP Service

AOL today launched its much anticipated VoIP telephone service. To start, it's available in 40 US markets and will run $29.99 a month for new users with unlimited local and long distance calling, increasing to $39.99 a month after 6 months. Current users pay $13.99 a month (going up to $18.99 after 6 months) for unlimited local and regional calling. The plans seem to be priced higher than comparable plans from Vonage and Packet8, although they are bundling their online service to set themselves apart. Read more at:

My Way News

Monday, April 04, 2005

VoIP Videophone Is Here: Packet8

Looks like the videophone may now be a reality, and in reach for most people. Packet8: not only has standard residential and business VoIP service, but also a high quality videophone service as well.

The videophone service requires purchase of the videophone hardware, and of course the party you wish to video conference with must have the same hardware as well. You can make regular (non-video) calls to any number and customers report the service as excellent. To get best quality, you'll need about 256K bidirectional bandwith which is standard with most cable internet services, but may not be available with some DSL services.

Comparing the Packet 8 service to others, it offers similar plans (unlimited residential, business and toll international calls) at a reasonable monthly cost. Packet 8 sets itself apart by offering the videophone service, which is not readily available as well as an enhanced business service called "Virtual Office". The business service includes a conference bridge (up to 20 connections), an auto attendant, voicemail, custom features and unlimited calling to any US and Canada telephone for each extension. This is great for any small to mid-sized office that needs PBX style service at a fraction of the cost.

The standard features included with all plans include all the normal functions you'd expect, plus distinctive ringing, fax, 3 way conferencing, caller id blocking, call return and anonymous call blocking. You can port your current phone number, although it may take up to 6 weeks. During this waiting period, you'll be assigned a temporary number to use.

You can select your phone number based on area code, although all areas aren't avialable, they have a good coverage area. You can select a number from any area they offer. Currently, only US numbers are available. Vonage offer US and UK numbers, and Skype offers US, UK, Hong Kong and France (note, Skype is mainly for personal use at this time).

Packet 8 also offers optional services including enhanced 911 service, virtual phone numbers, toll free numbers and do not disturb options. Note that the 911 service incurs an additional monthly cost; in comparison, Vonage includes 911 service at no additional cost.

Whether you're looking for home/home office, small-to-medium business, or video conferencing VoIP telephone service, you'll find Packet 8 offers high quality plans at a fraction of the cost of traditional phone service.

To get more information, visit Packet 8.