I have been using Vonage as my primarily local phone service since I moved to my current house in August 2003. Vonage is the leading broadband phone service provider. Its VOIP (Voice-Over-IP) technology leverages your underlying broadband connection (either cable Internet or DSL) to make phone calls, but you really cannot tell the difference from a regular landline most of the time. In addition, Vonage phone service is richer in functionality and (much) cheaper price-wise. At the current price structure, $24.99 plus $2.25 regulatory fee every month is all you have to pay for an all-inclusive package with unlimited calls to all 50 states of United States and all of Canada, voice message, call forwarding, call waiting and tons of other features.
I posted a "mixed-bag" review on Vonage back in last November saying Vonage service has certain glitches, but Vonage made tremendous progress in the service since then and almost issues have been resolved. A list of what's improved and what I like the service most:
1) Great voice quality: my wife stopped complaining about voice quality since spring.
2) Voicemail-to-email: you can set up voicemail so any incoming voicemail is forwarded to an email address; now you can get your voicemail immediately when you are working from office. Voicemail is also archived and available from web.
3) Detailed calling history: all incoming and outgoing calls can be retrieved from Vonage website. This allowed to dig out a couple of important phone numbers in the past.
4) Roaming: thanks to the VOIP technology, I can bring the phone with me and take calls from anywhere in the world with broadband connection; people who call me cannot tell you are not at home.
5) All glitches in earlier days have been fixed: Vonage no longer requires you to dial 1 + area code first before calling a local number, CallerID is now complete with both phone number and caller ID, and 911 setup process is much more streamlined (and continues to be free).
6) Price: One may need to pay $40-$50 a month (if not more) for a price service with so many functions from a Baby Bell company. Why don't save yourself $20 or more every month permanently?
If you already have broadband connection, you only need to pay around $40 plus the first month charge for the equipment, activation fee and shipping charges upfront. (All your phone sets for traditional phone service can be re-used.) If you are interested, you can get a sweeter deal by sending me an email for referral; you can get your second month's monthly charge waived (and I will benefit too by having the same amount waived from my bill). I usually respond within 24 hours (and much quicker during business hours). Give me an email if you have questions regarding this service too.
Great job Vonage!
(P.S. Vonage also offers competitive service for small businesses, including a $39.99/month service with a free fax line, and a $49.99/month unlimited service.)
(This post is part of PFBlog Product Review series. Check out more reviews here.)