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The Best VoIP Services

What's the Best VoIP System on the Market Today?

If there's one constant about standard cellular phone providers, it's that the bills add up. Since the early internet folks have been switching to VoIP services to lower their bills, and that still holds true today. Depending on your current cellular plans and needs, switching to a VoIP provider could potentially save you hundreds of dollars.

What is VoIP? VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol. It's a fancy way of saying that instead of utilizing cellphone towers and frequencies, a VoIP connects to your home or business internet, and sends that data over the internet.

Monday, April 15th

2024 VoIP Service Reviews

Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Ooma Review 5 Star Rating

Ooma

5 Star Rating
  • $99.99 upfront for $0 U.S. calls
  • Multiple smart-home integrations
  • Robust International Calling plans
  • $149.99 upfront, $29.99 per month LTE blackout-resistant option
Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Ooma is a company that we at Top Consumer Reviews have been keeping an eye on, and we're happy to report that their continually-improving service has earned its way to the top of our list.

Continuing innovations

With its initial roots in offering plug-in-and-talk 2004 VoIP services, Ooma has expanded and improved its service to include smart home integrations, a good range of plans and offerings, and even home security systems. In short, their experience in the field seems coupled with innovations in their offerings: an unequivocal plus for us.

Best at the basics

Where other providers usually have a (confusing) bundle of subscription and hardware costs, Ooma sets itself apart with its basic plan: a $99.99 upfront cost for their "Ooma Telo" , and free calling in the U.S. (plus taxes and fees). Ooma earns extra points from us for transparency: they provide a tax and fee calculator for their customers based on their area code. While the "Ooma Telo" (their proprietary, basic plan internet to VoIP connecter) doesn't appear to differ greatly from competitors aside from its integrations with Amazon's "Alexa" , the high initial cost may be worth the low monthly bill for customers without international calling needs: in fact, it's one of the reasons why Ooma is our top choice.

Premium and International options

Ooma also offers a "premium" plan for an added $9.99 a month, a "world plan" for $17.99 per month, and a "World Plus Plan" at $26.99 per month. Their premium plan offers suspicious call blocking, enhanced voicemail options, calling to Canada, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, and integration with Nest, Google Voice, Dropbox, Amazon Alexa. In short, you get quite a bit for that $9.99 per month. Their "world plan" lets you call landlines in 60 countries and mobile phones in ten, while their "World Plus Plan'' offers unlimited calls to landlines in 70 countries and cell phones in 40. In short, while their premium and international calls are a bit pricey, they offer a definite value for the price.

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Multiple hardware options

In addition to Ooma's smart home integrations, Ooma has a range of hardware options beyond the basic Ooma Telo: the Ooma Telo Air ($129.99) and the Ooma "LTE" ($149.99, with a $29.99 per month cellular access fee). Where the Ooma Telo Air lets you go cordless, placing your connector anywhere in your home, the Ooma "LTE" includes all the features of the Ooma premium plan, with a backup battery for calling during blackouts, and doesn't rely on broadband internet. If you live in an area with severe weather, or somewhere that broadband internet service is inconsistent, the LTE system may be a good choice.

App gets mixed reviews

Ooma's softphone application has received overall mixed reviews, with customers complaining of calls not ringing through the app, and bugs regarding voicemail notifications. However, these mixed reviews are better than the apps of their competitors, so mixed customer reviews may speak to the nature of smartphone apps more generally, as opposed to Ooma in particular.

Attractive deals

While Ooma's initial hardware costs may be pricey, their website advertises partnerships with major home and technology retailers, potentially saving you a nice chunk of change. So, if you're willing to pay the higher upfront cost for an Ooma system, be sure to check for deals. When combined with savings from partnerships with major retailers, an Ooma system just seems more compelling, and as such we recommend that you browse their offerings as our first choice VoIP service.

Voiply Review 4.5 Star Rating

Voiply

4.5 Star Rating
  • BBB rating of A+
  • No contracts, but a Pre-Pay Discount
  • $8.95 per month plan
  • Adapter included

While some legacy VoIP providers are content to rest on their laurels and let service slide, Voiply's 10 years in business have translated into a successful and attentive service.

Simple to understand

Voiply's website has a basic setup for a basic service: $8.95 per month with an adapter included, with various home phone bundles as well. These range from $84.95 for a home phone, to $169.95 for seven of them. Advertising that you can "keep your phone number" and install DIY with no issues, Voiply seems streamlined for customers looking for a simple, easy to understand service.

International calling is billed per minute

This simplicity does have its downside though: Voiply has no international calling plans. Though you can call internationally, it is done on a metered per minute rate. Keep this in mind if you're looking for a service to frequently call family or friends overseas.

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Extras and add-ons

In addition to the standard VoIP offerings of call forwarding and voicemail to email, Voiply offers a Webroot antivirus for $2.50 dollars a month, a Robocall defender for $2.50 a month, and an online fax service for $5.00 a month. While unfortunate that they are billed as add-ons, antivirus and anti-robocall add-ons seem useful, and potentially worth the price based on your needs.

Mixed app reviews, but excellent customer service

While less-than-stellar experience with VoIP apps are common, Voiply's generally-positive app reviews consistently reference the company's attentive customer service. This is seconded by reviews of the service itself, which consistently praise Voiply's simplicity, low price, and helpful support.

One of the best for your budget

If budget and customer support are first and foremost for your VoIP, then Voiply will be your best bet. While Voiply's lack of an international calling plan is unfortunate, if you're not frequently making international calls, then don't hesitate to give Voiply a try.

1-VoIP Review 4 Star Rating

1-VoIP

4 Star Rating
  • $8.97 per month for residential services
  • Additional residential numbers at $2.95 per month
  • $14.97 per month for Business VoIP
  • Built in robocall filtering with "Nomorobo"
  • 24/7 Customer Service

The telecom provider 1-VoIP has been in business for over 40 years. Transitioning to VoIP in 2005, 1-VoIP is known for their prompt 24/7 customer service and their affordable VoIP plans. With a long history of reliable service, 1-VoIP is a stable and dependable player in the VoIP field.

Three services, three plans each

1-VoIP offers three types of VoIP services: residential, professional, and SIP trunking. Conveniently, each service offers three independent plans depending on your budget and needs.

Cost efficient residential plans

1-VOIP offers 3 residential plans to choose from: For all residential plans, users pay on a monthly basis with no required term commitments. Additional numbers on a residential plan cost $2.95 per month, something to keep in mind if you're looking for multiple numbers. The 3 plans include:

  • The Residential Value Plan will set you back a mere $8.97 per month, and features unlimited incoming minutes and 500 outgoing minutes.
  • The US & Canada Unlimited Plan costs $17.97 per month and gives you unlimited calls in the U.S. and Canada, with the added plus of free shipping for the necessary hardware.
  • The World Unlimited Plan is a good choice for cross-country callers. At $23.97 per month, it offers unlimited calls to thirty countries and free shipping for hardware. This works well for those with overseas family or friends.

Interesting extras, inconvenient app

All of 1-VoIP's residential plans include voicemail to email, an "anonymous caller" reject, whitelist and blacklist functions, a "virtual fax" service, and customizable digital call forwarding between phones. That being said, 1-VoIP does not currently support video-calling on their residential plans, and their "softphone" app for desktop and smartphone has received poor reviews. Users report crashes, inconvenient user-interfaces, bugs, and a messy SMS system. If you rely heavily on your smartphone for texting or video calling, then you may want to look elsewhere for your VoIP provider.

Robocall blocking

1-VoIP's partnership with Nomorobo - an award winning robocall blocker service - is a standout from other competitors, and a key consideration for anyone fed up with the (seemingly endless) increase in spam calls.

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Affordable SIP Trunking

If your business utilizes a PBX phone system, then you may want to consider 1-VoIP's SIP trunking service. SIP trunking is similar to VoIP, but has no incoming call or extension limits, so you won't need to pay-per-extension. 1-VoIP offers a $4.97 per number SIP Trunking service, and $25 per month "minute bundle" for a total of $29.95 per month with one number. They also offer a metered toll free number should you require it, costing $5.95 per month with an additional 3.5¢ per minute meter for US calls, and 5.5¢ per minute for Canada.

Reasonable business plans...

Business plans range from a 2¢ per minute metered plan at $14.97 per month per extension, a $19.97 per extension middle plan with a lower monthly fee, and a heftier contractual " professional" plan at $29.97 per month with phone numbers for each extension and a low initial price. All plans come with the benefits of a VoIP service, and multiple options for phones included.

...but hidden "add-on" services

No matter your plan, if you want a virtual fax line, the ability to make conference calls, or a toll free number, you'll need to pay an extra monthly fee. You wouldn't know that to begin with though - the information is hidden at the end of the ordering process. We think that generally, it's better to let customers know about added monthly fees for crucial services before they are ready to complete their order. Reviews from business customers have also reported errors with 1-VoIP's call forwarding system and confusing charges involving unwanted extensions.

A good choice, but not for everyone

If you are looking for a no-frills, affordable, and spam filtered residential VoIP service at a reasonable price, you'd do well with 1-VoIP. However, if you rely on your smartphone, 1-VoIP's softphone app may leave you feeling frustrated. In addition, business customers may want to check if services they require are billed as "extras" in their chosen plan and consider accordingly.

AXvoice Review 3 Star Rating

AXvoice

3 Star Rating
  • $8.25 yearly unlimited residential plan
  • $16.58 per month international plans to 45 countries
  • Virtual number for $3.99 per month
  • Business plans starting at $14.99 per month

AXvoice offers residential, international, and business-oriented VoIP plans. While all plans feature free equipment and free incoming calls, your choice of plan may be determined by your specific residential, international, or business-calling needs.

A home and budget phone focus

AXvoice's residential plans are divided into three tiers: a $4.99 per month "pay as you go" plan, which charges 1.5 cents per minute, a $5.99 per month plan with 200 minutes included, and an "unlimited" plan with additional features and unlimited outgoing calls. While their unlimited plan is advertised as $8.25 per month, keep in mind that you'll need to pre-pay for a year to get that price. Otherwise, their unlimited calls will run you $14.99 per month when opting to pay-as-you-go.

Two international plans

For those with international family or friends, AXvoice offers two international plans: a Residential International plan with calling to 45 countries, and a Residential International Plus with calling to 65 countries. Where the cheaper Residential International plan has flexible monthly ($25 dollars per month) and yearly prepaid ($16.58 per month) plans, their pricier Residential International Plus option has no yearly contract and weighs in at a hefty $30 per month. Keep in mind you could add a "virtual number" in your chosen country for $3.99 per month: good if you would like a way to receive international calls, without making your callers pay international fees.

PBX systems for your small business

Should you need an integrated PBX service, AXvoice offers business plans starting at $30 dollars per month with 1,500 minutes included, to a smaller $14.99 per month "Home Office (SOHO)" plan with 200 minutes included. Because AXvoice's business plans include a PBX system, conference calls are included at no extra cost.

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Fair price, standard features

AXvoice offers thirty plus features with all residential plans; however, they are fairly standard VoIP features, including music on hold, call forwarding, a caller blacklist, voicemail to email, anonymous call blocker, and online account management. While it's nothing out of the ordinary, if you're not looking for bells and whistles, then that shouldn't be an issue. While they do offer a "virtual number" for $3.99 a month, and toll-free options for business, these don't necessarily compare to the extras offered by competitors.

Bare bones and mixed reviews

AXvoice does not offer an in-house softphone; however, they are apparently compatible with any softphone provider. If you primarily use a smartphone to communicate and would prefer a supported in-house application with your service, AXvoice may not be the service for you. While AXvoice does provide the necessary adaptor to connect your modem to your VoIP, they do not offer phones; you must purchase a touchtone telephone beforehand, and all plans appear to include a $20.00 shipping fee for necessary equipment, so don't be caught off guard. In addition, while customer reviews applaud the low price when compared to competitors, they consistently pan AXvoice for their slow and unhelpful customer service

Budget price, budget support

In sum, if you're looking for a budget plan for your residence or make frequent international calls to one of the 45 countries in their International Residential plan, then AXvoice may be right for you. However, keep in mind that if you pay their yearly reduced-price plan, that may be a year spent with an unfortunately poor customer service team.

Lingo Review 2.5 Star Rating

Lingo

2.5 Star Rating
  • $10 dollar referral system
  • $4.99/three month, $9.99/nine month global plan
  • Special plans for calling to and from the Philippines
  • A "Startec" plan with an area code of your choice

Lingo was founded in 2018 in Macon, Georgia, and is currently located in Atlanta, Georgia. In December of that year, they acquired Impact Telecom and integrated that customer base and infrastructure into their business. In short, while a somewhat new company, they appear to be a fast growing one, with a particular focus on international calls. At the time of this review, their residential services were managed under "Impactconnect" , while their business operations were still headed by "Lingo."

Budget international calling

Lingo offers five different standard VoIP plans, and three "Unlimited Philippines to Globe ''plans. Their "one" plan costs $4.99 per month, with 100 minutes included, and their "Unlimited" plan at $6.99 per month offers unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada (excluding Alaska, Hawaii, and the Northwest Territories). Their "Global Unlimited" and "Global" plans seem to be identical: though both are a yearly contract, the former costs $4.99 for the first three months, and $9.99 afterwards, and the latter $9.99 for the first three months and $14.99 afterwards. The only difference appears to be a "free rental" for their "VoxBox" hardware which is not a good deal (more below). If you want to easily receive calls from family or friends outside the U.S., their $4.99 "Startec" plan allows you to set up a phone number with the area code of your choice: a good plan if you don't want family or friends to deal with international calling fees.

Philippines-specific plans

Because Lingo's (and most other) standard international plans don't cover calls to the Philippines, they offer three "Unlimited Philippines to Globe" plans, though they aren't all unlimited. Lingo offers an "essential" plan at $14.99 per month with 2,000 minutes to five chosen numbers, a "1 year term" at $24.99 per month with 4,000 minutes to ten chosen numbers, and a similar "no-term" plan that costs $29.99 per month for the convenience of not having to pay upfront for a year.

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What's in a VoxBox? Not much

The biggest drawback to Lingo is their policies regarding their "VoxBox" . This hardware is nothing special - it's just an Analog Telephone Adaptor (ATA), and can easily be found for less than their price. All it does is connect your home internet to your VoIP phone/softphone, and is offered for free by other companies. However, they don't necessarily tell you that and include it in the bill as an "optional" $60 dollars, a $9.95 shipping fee, and advertise its "free-rental" (shipping still included) as the only difference between their Global and Global unlimited plans. In other words, all "free rentals" require a 1-year agreement, and you'll be on the hook for damages. A customer who hasn't done their research might realize that other providers offer such hardware for free, and that it can be found for cheap, so keep that in mind when choosing your provider and plan.

App bait and switch

While their international plans are attractively priced, customer reviews as to their "ImpactConnect" app are mixed. Some customers complain that it often just doesn't work, while more than one has stated that their "Unlimited Plan" doesn't apply to calls and texts made through their app, and that they were billed extra. When we tried to verify this in their Terms and Conditions, the link from their plans page was broken, and we had to google them separately. In short, beware the app if you don't want any surprise charges.

Not our favorite

At the end of the day, Lingo/Impact Connect fails to impress when compared with other VoIP options on the market. We don't love what feels like "sneaky charges" in their pricing structure, especially with the adapter that most rival providers include at no extra charge. You may want to consider this service if calling to/from the Philippines is a priority, but other than that you'll get more for your money with a higher-ranked service.

Vonage Review 2.5 Star Rating

Vonage

2.5 Star Rating
  • North America plan for $9.99 per month
  • International plan for $14.99 per month

Founded in 1998 as one of the first companies offering VoIP service, Vonage has grown into one of the largest providers on the market, pivoting heavily into VoIP support for mid-level and large businesses in the mid 2010s.

FTC fines and penalties

Vonage has a bad history of negative consumer practices: they were forced to pay $3 million in settlements due to confusing and exploitative marketing, and for the inability of many customers to cancel their service. And, in 2022, the FTC made them pay $100 million dollars for the same thing: preventing customers from canceling. While Vonage offers plans for a reasonable price, exploiting their customers seems to be a feature, not a bug, for Vonage.

Standard, well-communicated plans

Vonage's North America plan at $9.99 per month comes with unlimited calls to Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Canada. Their international plan will set you back $14.99 per month and get you unlimited calling to 60 locations across the globe. Each plan has a range of standard VoIP features, including digital call forwarding, voicemail to email, and so on. Keep in mind that some options - such as their "virtual number" feature, if you don't want folks calling you from abroad to pay extra - can cost anywhere from $4.99 to $9.99 per month. So, if international calling is what's bringing you to Vonage, be sure to keep that in mind.

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Litigation reflected in customer reviews

Customer reviews can shed some light on Vonage's legal troubles. An overwhelming majority of complaints cite difficulty canceling, and purposefully poor and confusing customer support. Many users state that when they would attempt to cancel, Vonage would instead keep trying to sell them various plans, and sometimes just hang up on them.

Perhaps the FTC says it best

The writeup from the Federal Trade Commission reflects these reports, and states that "since 2017, Vonage has consistently made it difficult to cancel by forcing customers to do so with a live customer representative, imposed surprise previously undisclosed "cancellation' fees on customers, and continued to charge them after they canceled" . Even now, though you can technically cancel with Vonage online, they make you submit a cancellation form and "review important plan information" (translation, they try to sell you stuff and make it a pain).

A middling product, a bad history

In addition to being an unethical company, Vonage's product doesn't really stand out. Its softphone hasn't been updated since 2019, and it offers nothing exceptional compared to similarly priced competitors on our list. With Vonage's bad history, we think there are better, more reliable, less exploitative VoIP providers on the market. Even though Vonage is one of the biggest VoIP providers in the industry, Vonage earned its market share by systematically overcharging and exploiting its customers, and for that, we advise you to steer clear.

Phone Power Review 2 Star Rating

Phone Power

2 Star Rating
  • Free second line
  • $16.07 per month unlimited USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico contract
  • 30 day money back guarantee

In the VoIP business since 2005, Phone Power has been providing VoIP service for some years, offering both pre-pay, contract, and monthly USA/Canada plans, and a range of international calling options. However, with a higher price than competitors, and low user reviews, Phone Power ranks low on our list of residential VoIP providers.

Bait and switch monthly cost

Phone Power offers three USA/Canada plans: an $8.33 per month yearly prepay, a $9.95 per month contract, and a $19.95 per month no contract option. Each of these plans features 60 minutes-per-month of international calling, a 30 day money back guarantee, fax capabilities, and a second line. However, that is not their true monthly cost.

The truth behind the plans

Each plan comes with upfront costs not included in the initial monthly fee, and additional costs not included in the advertised price. These total $ 186.05 (!) upfront for the yearly prepaid (including a $35.64 per year charge), $21.07 for the yearly contract (including $2.97 per year) with an actual monthly cost of $16.07, and $22.23 for the no contract monthly plan (including $2.97 per year) with an actual monthly cost of $27.23. While this information isn't hard to find, we think it adds a significant yearly cost to their pre-pay plan, and should have been labeled accordingly.

Monthly international plans

Phone Power also offers international plans, though without any yearly bundles or deals. Their $19.95 per month option gives you unlimited calling to 28 countries. Their $24.95 per month lets you call 75 countries, while their $49.95 per month option lets you call 87 countries. Keep in mind that there are first month and yearly charges comparable to the domestic plans.

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Standard VoIP features:

Phone Power's VoIP features are standard but appreciated, with voicemail-to-email, call routing/forwarding, and free in-network calling. However, these extras don't hold a candle to competitors with automatic robocall blocking and smart-home integrations, which are often features of rival plans.

Hardware optional, poorly reviewed apps

One thing we appreciate is that Phone Power doesn't try to sell you overpriced hardware, and lists all compatible hardware with their service. Should you not have the necessary VoIP hardware on hand, they will lease you what you need for free (shipping not included). While Phone Power advertises their iPhone and softphone apps for calling outside of the home, customer reviews for their apps are consistently poor, citing frequent crashes, trouble playing voicemail, trouble receiving phone calls. and poor integration with online accounts.

Nothing exceptional for price or product

With an actual monthly cost that ends up being much higher than competitors, and no bundling contract or pre-pay options for international callers, Phone Power does not prove optimal on any metric, and should likely be avoided.

Via:Talk Review 1 Star Rating

Via:Talk

1 Star Rating
  • 2-year, $189 contract ("1 year free" )
  • 1,200 international minutes for an additional $8.95 per month

Viatalk is a longtime VoIP provider offering domestic calling plans with international add-ons. While they may at one time have provided services, their outdated website and poor reviews reflect what overall seems to be a lackluster option.

Today only! Every day...

Viatalk offers a monthly plan and a two-year "Today Only" prepaid plan. Their $15.75 per month "unlimited" includes two lines, equipment, and 60 minutes of international calling. Their "Today Only 1 Year free!" plan is not actually a time-limited "today only" plan according to customer reviews, and has the exact same features as the monthly plan. The only meaningful difference is that you pay $189 upfront for two years of phone service. We generally frown upon deceptive marketing tactics, and fake urgency is certainly one of them.

International "upgrades" , not plans

While Viatalk offers international calling with their "VT world" , it is a $8.95 a month "add on" to an existing plan. You don't get much for this added $107.40 dollars a year: 1,200 minutes of landline calls to 60 countries. Considering that you can only call cellular devices in 12 of those countries, Viatalk's international calling services are far from impressive compared to competitors.

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Standard features and add ons

Viatalk features all the standard accoutrement of a VoIP, including call forwarding, free in-network calling, and a desktop-only softphone. You can apparently refer friends or family to Viatalk to receive "points" ; this, however, hasn't been updated since the iPod was the peak of points-based rewards. The whole referral program may be counterintuitive, as friends and family likely won't talk to you - on the phone or otherwise - if you're the one who referred them to a service as poor as Viatalk.

Poor reviews reveal a company left behind

In addition to bare-bones features, Viatalk's customer reviews frequently cite poor customer service, and frustrating surprise charges often involving their adapters: customers rant about Viatalk hounding them for equipment fees they already returned, refusal to replace equipment, and a general deterioration of service from 2012 to the present. While at one time Viatalk's limited options may have been acceptable, they are now eclipsed by competitors on almost all counts, and we don't recommend them for your VoIP.

VOIPo Review 1 Star Rating

VOIPo

1 Star Rating
  • $6.21 per month, two-year plan
  • VoIP adapter included

Voipo is a California-based telecommunications company that provides Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service for residential and business customers in the United States and Canada. The company was founded in 2006 and has been offering VoIP services since then. Voipo's website is outdated, and this seems to represent the company as a whole, which does not seem to have updated its service since its founding.

Standard plans, sub-standard advertising

Voipo is a budget VoIP service that offers two "plans" : a $15.00 per month "monthly" plan, and a 2 year pre-paid $149 a month. While the two-year plan is marketed as "Today Only, one year free!" complete with a countdown timer, user reviews show that it is not in fact a today only deal. So be sure not to fall for the scammy advertising.

Basic features

A Voipo plan will get you unlimited calling in the U.S. and Canada, and 60 minutes of international calling per month, in addition to basic VoIP features such as call forwarding and voicemail-to-email. Voipo's standard features however rely on the service actually working, which according to reviews, is not always the case.

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Poor reviews

Customer reviews are consistently poor: not only do they reference frequent service outages lasting weeks at a time and terrible customer support, but Voipo apparently has a habit of automatically renewing customer contracts after customers have canceled. We have no clue how this company managed to score an "A+" rating and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, because customer feedback is about the worst we've seen here.

Avoid this VoIP provider

Unless 2 years of poor customer service and surprise bills is something you're looking for, you'd do well to avoid Voipo. Fortunately, there are a number of higher-performing services out there, and we strongly recommend that you start your search for a VoIP provider among our higher-ranked options.

Call Centric Review 1 Star Rating

Call Centric

1 Star Rating
  • Customizable set of plans
  • A pay per text SMS app
  • Helpful but outdated softphone guides

Callcentric has been offering VoIP services for business and residential customers since 2005. While they certainly have experience, that experience might be most of what they have: with a very outdated website and poor support for their (metered) SMS features, Callcentric might work for you, if you enjoy reading fine print.

Customization? More like confusion

Callcentric offers a wide range of customizable options. However, we aren't exactly certain that's a good thing. For example, their "pay-per-call" offering - at $0 Per month - conveniently leaves out how much exactly you have to pay per call (about 2 cents per minute, a standard rate). In addition, Callcentric separates their "incoming" and "outgoing" call features as a separate billable service. So, for example, if you want to get unlimited incoming calls ($5.95 per month) and want unlimited outgoing calls to the U.S., Puerto Rico, and Canada ($29.95) per month, then you would be paying a whopping $38.00 dollars per month. A clear increase from most competitors' unlimited plans, with less support and a poor user interface to boot? Why?!

Standard, well-explained, boilerplate features

While Callcentric's website is outdated, and their customizable plans seem purposely confusing, they do clearly lay out their benefits in an alphabetically ordered, easily navigable way: a nice change of pace from most services, which hide actual benefits behind flashy banners. Callcentric's features are a boilerplate VoIP service, which include a blacklist, call forwarding, unlimited in-network calling, a web portal to manage your account, and most things you would expect a phone to do.

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Pay-Per-SMS and poor app reviews

While Callcentric offers an app for their SMS service, they are priced per message, and user reviews cite frequent bugs. Particularly aggravating, some customers will receive a notification long before they are able to open their message, leading to failures in two-factor authentication. In the era of free messengers, an unreliable paid service receives no marks from us.

Third-party softphone

That being said, while Callcentric provides no in-house softphone, they do include a list of supported softphones with how-to's on the process for downloading and configuring each of them. While this is a welcome and helpful resource, it appears to be out of date, and as software is constantly changing, these guides may no longer be as helpful as they once were.

A VoIP Service for infrequent use

If you rarely use your phone, and don't mind navigating a confusing (and potentially exploitative) set of customizations, then you may want to give Callcentric a try. However, the fact that their optional plans seem likely to make their customers overwhelmed and overpay means we don't recommend Callcentric for most residential customers.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

One of the main advantages that people look for in a VOIP system is cost-effectiveness. VoIP calls are transmitted over the internet, which can result in cost savings compared to traditional phone systems, especially for long-distance and international calls.

Another advantage of VoIP is flexibility. Phone users can make and receive calls from anywhere with internet connectivity, using a variety of devices such as traditional land phones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. This makes VoIP ideal for users who require mobility and need to stay connected on the go.

VoIP also offers a wide range of advanced features such as call forwarding, voicemail, call waiting, caller ID, call routing, conference calling, and more. These features are sometimes included at no extra cost to your system, making VoIP a cost-effective solution for people who like these features.

What should you look for in a Residential VoIP provider? While switching to a VoIP can be a smart and budget-friendly choice, not all VoIP companies are the same. The field is rife with confusing plans, coercive marketing, and scammy business practices.

We've scoured what's there, and found both the best of the best, plus a few general tips for you to keep in mind:

  • Hidden fees: Do you pay upfront or monthly? Is your plan contract, pre-pay, or at will? Does the company have a history of scammy policies like cancellation fees? Sometimes, upfront savings are used to hide a coercive customer structure, so watch out.
  • Hardware and software: Do they offer you the necessary hardware for free, make you pay upfront, or "lease" it to you? In addition, do they offer a "softphone" (desktop and smartphone application for use with your plan), and does the softphone work? Also, do they protect you from spam and robocalls, and does doing so cost extra?
  • Customer service: How easy is it to cancel your subscription? Would they let you do so without fuss, or force you into a series of sales pitches? In addition, are they responsive to technical difficulties, and do they support the easy installation of your product?
  • International calling: what are their international calling plans? Do they offer unlimited plans or minutes? Do they let you set up a "virtual number" in a chosen country to receive calls and no cost to your callers? In addition, do they let you call all numbers in their offered countries, or just landlines?

There are a surprising amount of considerations for a VoIP system, but don't let that dissuade you. Top Consumer Reviews has found excellent companies offering top of the line VoIP systems and support, all of which offer significant savings when compared to their cellular competitors. Whatever your preference, from robust blackout-resistant services to extreme budget friendly competitors, with this guide you'll be sure to find a VoIP service that floats your boat.

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VoIP Service FAQ

Voice over Internet Protocol or "VoIP" is a technology that allows phones to make and receive calls digitally over the Internet, without the use of the typical analog phone jacks installed in homes and businesses prior to the era of the Internet. The result is cheaper phone service than with analog phone systems because the "line" is simply whatever Internet connection you currently have. Calls are routed independently through the distributed nature of the Internet rather than through a large phone company. You also get a number of features with VoIP phones that analog phones simply don't provide.
The quality of a VoIP phone call depends on your Internet connection. If you have a slow Internet connection and a poor-quality phone, modem, and router, you'll experience about the same call quality as with a basic analog phone connection. However, if you have a good connection and choose a VoIP vendor that provides high-quality phone and Internet hardware, your calls will be much better than with analog phone systems.
The best VoIP services and phones provide high-quality audio and video calling, call waiting, call forwarding, outbound and inbound faxing, inexpensive international calling. Great VoIP services will also include an app for your mobile phone as well as for your Mac or PC, advanced conference calling features, anonymous call rejection, call blocking via allow and block lists, and on-hold music. You should also look for free shipping of hardware, monthly billing with no contracts, and high-quality, responsive, 24/7 customer support.
The least expensive VoIP services cost under $10 per month in service fees for residential use. Business VoIP services can cost considerably more depending on the number and types of features they offer. Taxes and fees pertaining to your locality also apply. Look for a VoIP service that doesn't charge a high amount for the hardware. Services that provide free calling or free hardware do exist, but are somewhat rare. Avoid contracts whenever possible so you have the option of switching to a new service on your own terms.
Contracts do exist for some VoIP services and systems. Typically, these are non-residential business-class systems that are built, operated, and serviced specifically for small, medium, and large businesses. Residential contract VoIP does exist but is usually not worth the trouble in the event that another service provider comes along that provides better service and lower cost.
One weakness of VoIP phones is that, unlike analog phone systems, when the power goes out, your Internet service typically will also be deactivated. This is due to the fact that VoIP phones rely on Internet routers and modems that are connected to electrical outlets the same way a lamp or TV is connected to power. There is no electrical power coming from a battery or through the cable Internet wires to the phone. On the contrary, analog phone lines receive electricity from the same jack and wire that connect to the phone, so when the local power grid fails, the phone company still delivers backup power to the telephone. That is why it is important to have a backup phone or mobile phone in the event of a power outage, in case you need to call emergency services.
You do not always need a computer to use VoIP systems. VoIP phones are standalone devices that receive their signal from your Wi-Fi router or are plugged directly into your Internet modem. Sometimes you'll want to chain your VoIP phone through your computer to use certain computer-related features, but it's not a requirement for most VoIP phones. To use the "softphone" application some VoIP vendors offer, you will need to install it on your computer and then turn on your computer each time you need to use it.
Yes, most VoIP plans will include the ability to port your existing numbers to their service. Many will do it for free. However, be aware that some providers will apply a fee per line for doing so. It can also take up to four weeks for a number to be ported from one phone system to another. You may be given a temporary phone number to use while the transfer completes.
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