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Even in a robust economy, smart businesses and households are constantly managing their recurring expenses. One way to save, potentially, hundreds of dollars each year is to switch from a traditional landline or a modern cell phone carrier to a Voice over Internet Protocol or VoIP service. And, you can do so with very little or even no training or additional expense.
All you need to join in on the VoIP calling revolution is to have a high-speed internet connection with a computer. Businesses and most homes have these items so signing up for a VoIP service is typically very simple. Many, but not all, VoIP providers will send a special adapter or phone device that is plugged into the router. Another of the many advantages to switching away from traditional phone service to VoIP is the ability to block unwanted calls like robocalls and telemarketers.
Tuesday, August 16th
With 1-VoIP, you can pick from among three types of service, and three additional plans under each system.
For residential, the Value plan costs $8.97 per month with unlimited incoming minutes and 500 outgoing North America minutes. The US & Canada Unlimited plan bumps the minutes to unlimited for both incoming and outgoing calls for $17.97 per month. The World Unlimited plan jumps to $23.97 per month and offers unlimited incoming and outgoing minutes to 30 countries.
All residential plans include hardware and no term commitment. Only the US & Canada and World Unlimited plans have free hardware shipping.
1-VoIP features voicemail to email attachments, virtual fax, a whitelist and blacklist to control who can call you, digital call forwarding with priority designations per phone, and anonymous call rejection. You also get a softphone for your computer or smartphone to send or receive calls and manage the service. Another nice touch is music on hold for your callers when you need to pause the call. But, a really outstanding feature is the ability to stop robocalls and telemarketers through a partnership 1-VoIP has with NOMOROBO, a service that filters out unwanted calls.
The three Business plans range from $14.97 to $19.97 to $29.97 per month per extension with all features and a wide variety of phones included in each plan. The first plan is pay-as-you-go at 2 cents per minute. The middle plan is a lower monthly cost. Only the highest cost plan requires a commitment but has a phone number included with each extension and a lower starting cost.
The SIP Trunking option is a turnkey system for easy setup of a phone system of your own that you control. A US & Canada number costs $4.95 per number per month. Add $25 per month for a stackable 2,000-minute bundle. For $5.95 per number per month you can also get a toll-free number.
1-VoIP is a sophisticated system, but one mainstream reviewer gave it only 3 stars because it lacked certain SMS and video conferencing features as well as configuration and customization options that other products have.
Still, other consumer-level reviewers gave it solid marks for installation, quality, features, price, reliability, and support. They liked the web interface, the mobile apps, the call quality, and the price. Several expressed happiness with the robocall blocking features and responsive and helpful support.
If you want your VoIP solution to run interference against robocallers as well as provide good support, high call quality, and robust features at an affordable price, 1-VoIP is the best VoIP service available.
If you want low-cost residential phone service, Ooma has great pricing. The free residential plan is the cheapest at $0 per month but will set you back about $99.99 for the equipment plus whatever telecom taxes and fees are charged for your zip code. Still, that's a pretty good price. Even if you upgrade to the premium plan, you'll still pay less than a traditional landline. There is a mobile app for iOS and Android so you can use Ooma from anywhere. You'll get toll-free nationwide calling in the U.S., call waiting, 911, a call log history, caller ID, and voicemail.
The Small Business phone plan is a minimum one-time cost of $119.98 for equipment and setup. Then the monthly charge is $19.95 per user per month. That can get expensive if you have more than just two or three employees who need their own phones. But, there are no contracts and you can cancel at any time. Also, for existing businesses that want to switch over to Ooma from another provider, there is free number transfer.
Once you are an Ooma customer, it's fairly simple to turn on their home security and camera services and devices as well.
Reviewers gave Ooma fairly high marks for mimicking a basic landline experience while delivering affordable hardware and no monthly fees. Where they said it was less capable was that the cheapest hardware option is for Ethernet cable only, not WiFi. The WiFi option requires a different device for $50 more, plus an additional wireless USB dongle to interface with your network.
The USB dongle requirement wasn't the worst thing in the world. The other features and quality, plus no monthly fees more than make up for a small hardware inconvenience. Ooma is an excellent VoIP experience for your home or business.
VOIPo has a unique approach to billing for their services. You can purchase a 2-year calling plan for $149, which equates to $6.21 per month. You can also sign up for a month-to-month service at $15 per month. There is a 30-day money-back guarantee to try the service risk-free and all you have to do is return the VoIP adapter to get the refund.
For international calling rates, you pay about 2 cents per minute, plus you get 60 free minutes to selected destinations.
The Home and Small Business plans both include unlimited calls to the US and Canada, SMS text messages, a free rollover line, and free VoIP adapter. You also get a softphone, online call logs, distinctive ringtones, and inbound/outbound SIP address routing for custom configurations.
VOIPo also offers a cloud VoIP service where you can get VoIP service entirely in the cloud and no equipment is required. On the cloud system, outbound domestic calls are only 1 cent per minute. Adding a U.S. or a toll-free number to the cloud costs $3 plus $36 per year or $4.95 per month.
And, for $20 per month, you can get an advanced VoIP PBX for your business phone system, including call queues, IVRs, Auto Attendants, and more.
Even though it earns somewhat positive reviews for features and price, VOIPo is a bit on the low end as far as reviewer satisfaction, earning low marks for quality, support, installation, and reliability. For example, one 10-year customer complained of recent problems with getting hacking attempts that make it impossible to use the phone. Another complained of problems with their ISP's router upgrade knocking their VOIPo device off the Internet. Support was not very helpful in either of these two instances.
VOIPo is probably not your best choice if you want an up-to-date router and a good customer support experience, though it does seem to have good features and pricing for those who aren't having problems with it.
Using any high-speed Internet connection, you can call anywhere domestically or worldwide using the PhonePower VoIP service. When you sign up, PhonePower will send you an adapter which you plug into your Internet router and then plug into your phones. It's a very simple setup process.
With PhonePower, you get a free second line, the Failsafe™ feature for forwarding calls in case of a power outage, a voicemail viewer, and simultaneous ring. You also get a softphone app for making calls at no additional cost from your mobile device and computer.
PhonePower has numerous other features that we've come to expect in a mature VoIP solution, including keeping your number, web-based call logs, 3-way conference calling, anonymous call rejection, and much more.
Prices are distributed in three tiers in each of the Domestic and International plans. The Domestic plans include a Pay Upfront 1-year prepaid plan for locking in a rate of $8.33 per month. You can also pay monthly under a 1-year contract for under a dollar more at $9.95 per month. Or, you can pay as you go with no contract at $19.95 per month.
For International plans, the most basic level is unlimited calling to 28 countries under the World plan for $19.95 per month. The mid-tier plan is World Plus, which gives you unlimited calling to 75 countries at $25.95. And the top plan is World Premium, offering unlimited calling to 87 countries at $49.95 per month.
All plans allow you to keep your existing number, call with your mobile phone, and come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Consumer feedback on PhonePower is fairly positive, with the majority of positive reviews praising installation, price, features, and quality. One reviewer loved the telemarketer blocking feature and several enjoyed the pricing and savings PhonePower offers them. PhonePower seems to not enjoy as many positive reviews in terms of support and reliability, with customers saying that their phones suddenly stopped working and that toll-free support was unable to fix issues like bad call quality and billing problems.
At the end of the day, despite its flaws, PhonePower's domestic and international VoIP system is a capable choice.
AXvoice offers three different categories of VoIP calling plans: residential, business, and international. Each plan includes some combination of free equipment, free incoming calls, or free in-network calls.
AXvoice plans include more than 30 outbound, incoming, call forwarding, and advanced features. The shortlist of features includes caller ID, enhanced voicemail, call forwarding, simultaneous ringing, failover, do not disturb, online account management, and call logging. Optional features include a virtual number and toll-free numbers Toll-free phone numbers are charged at between $3.99/month and $5.99/month at $4.99 cents per minute in the U.S. and Canada.
Pricing for AXvoice residential plans is $8.25 per month for USA/Canada Unlimited, $5.99 per month for US/Canada 200 for 200 minutes, and $4.99 per month for Pay as You Go. Business plans start at $14.99 per month for the Home Office (SOHO) plan and go up to $29.99 per month for their Small Business plan.
The reviews we read showed general dissatisfaction with AXvoice across the board in terms of quality, installation, support, and reliability. Only features and price were slightly better than the other criteria. One reviewer stated that AXvoice positives include a bandwidth lowering feature, third-party software and hardware integration, good prices, and a 15-day money-back guarantee, but that the negatives were lackluster features, no mobile version, and that the money-back guarantee had too many conditions.
AXvoice is a passable choice but suffers too much from issues of fewer features and too many conditions on its money-back guarantee to rate it much higher on the list.
When you sign up for RingCentral services, you get a phone system with standard and advanced calling services, such as call recording, instant messaging, a contact center, call logs, screen sharing, video meetings, call forwarding, fax, virtual numbers, conferencing and 3rd party integrations.
You can control your costs with a RingCentral plan, which is billed per user per month. As you add or remove users, your cost goes up or down, respectively. If you pay annually, you get a 33% discount and your costs will range from $29.99 to $59.99 monthly for just one user and from $19.99 to $49.99 monthly for two to 99 users. The closer you get to 1,000 or more users, the lower your costs go and the greater the number of features you get.
RingCentral offers 4 types of VoIP plans:
Every plan comes with a free trial so you can get a chance to test how it will work for you.
RingCentral customer reviews show that, while RingCentral has been responsive to negative complaints, the reviewers have not updated their low ratings as a consequence. This could mean that customers didn't get the remedies they sought, or that they just didn't return to update their reviews.
Complaints about RingCentral were poor customer service, sudden inflation of charges on customers' bills, not being able to understand the RingCentral customer service representatives on the phone, and long hold times. Others complained of poor call quality, distorted faxes, and not being able to cancel their service and having to dispute the charges with the credit card company.
Most of the deterioration of customer service has occurred in the past 1-2 years and has signs of being a consequence of RingCentral outsourcing a large number of its operations to the Philippines.
While RingCentral's offerings are technologically advanced, we recommend you first look to other providers for better customer service.
Via:Talk pricing for residential VoIP is $15.75 per month or, if you pay annually, $189 per year for the VT_Unlimited plan. With that plan you get unlimited minutes plus voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, two lines, the phone equipment, and free international calls. You can't do prepayments monthly but you can prepay if you are buying all 12 months upfront. With the residential "bring your own device" (BYOD) plan, and for the same price as VT_Unlimited, you'll get unlimited minutes and the same residential features, plus free shipping, free activation, and free priority setup.
With the business plans, you'll get voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, equipment, and a fax line for $34.95 per month for $1500 minutes and $42.95 for unlimited minutes.
Voicemail features include the ability to check your voicemail toll-free via any phone, via the web, or multiple email addresses. You can have up to three phones ring simultaneously and forward calls to up to 5 different numbers or to any capable device online. You'll also be able to have recorded calls sent to voicemail, take your adapter and use your home phone anywhere free of charge. Calls to other Via:Talk users are free if you're on a limited minutes plan. And you can use a Via:Talk softphone to take calls on your computer.
There are a lot more features that are both included and can be enabled. But, in reviews written by Via:Talk customers, we saw a number of complaints. Some said there were too many dropped or misdirected calls, unclear audio, poor support, and frequent adapter problems. Others complained of loss of service for a week at a time or more.
The number and variety of complaints about Via:Talk make it difficult to rate this service anything other than passable at this point. Perhaps with complaints mounting, Via:Talk will be persuaded to improve its VoIP capabilities, support, reliability, and service.
The website for CALLCentric appears somewhat out-of-date in layout, functionality, and over-complication in comparison to other VoIP service websites we looked at. If you are looking for a la carte solutions, it will perhaps be more useful, but most visitors will be confused by the complicated selection of services and devices.
CALLCentric has an app for iPhone and Android and a softphone for your PC, Mac, or Linux computer. There are free calls to other CALLCentric members, but that will be of little use to most people as CALLCentric is not likely to have enough subscribers to make that feasible.
There is a Features page that lists everything CALLCentric provides, but the page is very overwhelming. You have to click each feature to find out what it is and does. Their list of user agents isn't immediately obvious as to what they are, and there are too many to make much sense of, let alone be able to select the best from among them.
Even though CALLCentric seems to enjoy a good amount of positive reviews, from its website, it seems like it would be a difficult service to sign up for, manage, and configure correctly. One could easily overspend or underspend depending on each month's usage, and to upgrade or downgrade seems tedious.
We recommend avoiding CALLCentric as a VoIP provider for your home unless you really know what you're doing and getting. It may be more appropriate for a business that has IT staff on-site to help make decisions and selections.
JoiPhone might have been a great VoIP service in its day. Prices on packages were affordable and gave several options to choose from. Unfortunately, our most recent evaluation of the service turned up many reasons to avoid this provider for your VoIP needs.
To begin with, the JoiPhone website is severely out-of-date. Even if its signup form didn't lead to a "not found" page, it doesn't have a secure server. Any orders submitted would not protect a user's credit card information from being compromised. It also uses antiquated Flash technology that is now disabled and blocked for security reasons by default on modern browsers.
Other higher-rated providers keep their offering simple. JoiPhone has an overwhelming array of pricing plans and options that are sure to confuse most buyers who won't know intuitively which ones to select. Further, they offer yet another group of add-ons with lots of confusing and wordy selections to choose from. And, of course, even if you're able to drill down and choose a package or service that meets your needs, a broken site that might not even let you sign up is an automatic dead end - leaving you to choose from one of the reliable, higher-rated VoIP services in our review.
It seems to us that this service is unreliable, or perhaps even abandoned. Our recommendation is to avoid JoiPhone as it is a poor service offering.
Who offers the best VoIP service? All of the VoIP providers in our review include the basic staples of traditional landline and mobile phone services: voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, online call logs, and much more. But, compare and contrast the VoIP company services before switching up your services by looking at the features of the top available providers.
Some important things to consider include:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best VoIP services available today. We hope this information helps you find the right VoIP service for you and your home or business!
Select any 2 VoIP Services to compare them head to head
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