Best VOIP Services
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With the economy in its current state we're all looking to reduce our monthly expenses to make ends meet. One way that many people are saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars a year is by placing and receiving phone calls through their existing internet connection. VoIP services (Voice over Internet Protocol) allow this to occur with little to no software or special training.
Some estimates show that the majority of internet users will utilize VoIP for all their phone needs in as little as 5 years. Surprisingly, the required equipment consists only of a high speed internet connection and a computer, both of which are a common staple at many homes. While some VoIP service providers require a special adaptor or phone, that is not the case across the board.
The Via:Talk business and residential Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) plans offer a lot of flexibility. Each of the Via:Talk plans include: enhanced voicemail, call record, outgoing caller ID with name, simultaneous ring, call waiting, operator services, internet forwarding, call return, 3-way calling, free 411 directory service, voicemail notification via SMS text messaging, local and long distance dialing, e911 support, do not disturb, caller ID block, anonymous call rejection, and more.
Via:Talk offers several different types of VOIP plans to choose from. For example, their vt500 plan starts with 500 minutes and (depending on whether you pay monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, annually, or two years) can cost $14.95 per month or as little as $9.95 per month. The vt-unlimited plan can be paid monthly or annually for $22.95 per month or $199 per year. Via:Talk also offers business VOIP plans ranging from $34.95 per month to $42.95 per month depending on the plan you buy.
Via:Talk's website is professional and offers a lot of helpful information. You're able to see client testimonials, detailed VOIP plan options, a frequently asked questions page that includes information on the e911 service (which is different than normal 911 service), and much more. If you have more questions, it's easy to get support via online chat or an 800 number.
Via:Talk is an excellent VOIP service. Based on the myriad of services provided, website ease-of-use, and competitive pricing, Via:Talk earns our highest rating.
Axvoice, founded in 2005 is an incredibly deep, feature rich VOIP (Voice over internet protocol) service for residents or businesses. Simply put VOIP uses your internet connection versus the standard public switched telephone or cable network. The great thing is all of Axvoice's features are included within the monthly fee, a great advantage over many of its competitors. They also provide a well-designed, professional website that offers clear and concise information to assist the customer with finding the plan right for them.
Standard Features Include:
We liked that Axvoice offers a number of plans to meet the needs of just about any residential or business customer. But, in short, $14.99 provides unlimited incoming or outgoing domestic calls - a huge savings over a land line or cell phone service. Not only does Axvoice surpass standard phone service in features and price many users report excellent call quality (a typical issue for VOIP) even on international calls and no dropped calls.
While Axvoice has garnered some complaints, reviews are overwhelmingly positive. This is the result of Axvoice's diligence with addressing customer's issues. Customers will also find a 15 day money back guarantee and no contract requirements.
For those looking for a quality VOIP service, Axvoice is a company to consider. Their huge list of features, commitment to quality, flexible plans and affordable pricing push them to the top of our list of VOIP providers.
1-VOIP is all about freeing you from expensive phone bills. They offer several different types of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) plans for you to choose from. They also have a business plan application they offer.
The 1-VOIP plan features include: anonymous call rejection, caller ID, call forwarding, call return, call waiting, caller ID block, do not disturb, find me/follow me, international call blocking, music on hold, speed dial, 3-way calling, and more.
To use the 1-VOIP service plans you simply need a phone, a broadband connection, and a VoIP router. The Premier Basic plan starts at $14.97 per month with unlimited incoming and on-net calls. Premier Unlimited runs $23.97 per month and includes unlimited calling to US and Canada. Premier Global Unlimited costs $29.97 per month and includes unlimited calls to over 30 countries.
The main issue with this provider is that, depending on your service area, the 911 operator may not have access to your physical location when you call. This is very different from your landline or current cell phone 911 services and something you want to be aware of.
1-VOIP offers a user forum to help users help each other. There is also customer support available, frequently asked questions and much more helpful information available on the website. Outside of the 911 limitations, this provider offers a decent service.
Phone Power is a middle of the road provider of Voice over Internet Protocol (VOIP) plans for both residential and business customers. The initial rate of $9.95 per month seems like a great deal but it is only the three month promotional price. Phone Power offers many of the same services the higher ranked providers but at a slightly higher price.
All residential plans include features like block/allow list, Click2Call, call log viewer, call waiting, caller ID, call waiting ID, do not disturb, simultaneous ring, call forwarding, call hold, 3-way calling, speed dial list, music on hold, call return, and voicemail viewer. 911 services are available for some and not others. Please have this information verified before making a switch to Phone Power.
Phone Power's business plans start at $39.95 per month and include the same features as the residential service. The business plans run on a month-to-month contract.
Overall, Phone Power is a decent choice for VOIP service. Their feature list is long but comes with a slightly higher price. 911 service is available to some and customer service was helpful but hours are limited. This company offers a decent service - no concerns with integrity.
JoiPhone offers residential and business Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) plans. Features include such things as local and long distance dialing, low international rates, voicemail, 911 emergency service, call waiting, call forwarding, caller ID, speed dial, 3-way calling, voicemail forwarding, block anonymous calls, music on hold, simultaneous call, and much more.
Required equipment includes a phone, broadband connection, and the JoiPhone adapter and JoiPhone's basic plan starts at $6.95 per month. This includes unlimited calling between JoiPhone customers, 100 minutes free in US calling, and over 40 other features. For the unlimited plan you pay $14.95 and get unlimited calling in the US and nine other countries worldwide. Their worldwide plan is $16.95 and includes over 40 countries. JoiPhone has plans that cover over 70 countries and go up in cost to $43.95 per month.
JoiPhone also offers business plans starting at $29.95 per month. The plans are similar to the personal ones, but offer more business related services.
JoiPhone ranked lower in customer service support and responsiveness. We had some pretty basic questions that took a lot of effort to answer. Overall, JoiPhone caters to a wide audience but is not as customer oriented as our higher ranked service providers.
Skype is a VOIP service provider that has been in existence since 2003 and is located in Germany. Generally not as well known as many of the other providers but is owned by E-bay. This brings some sense of strength and trust. Skype offers customers the option of one low monthly fee of $2.95 - $9.95 or Skype Credit which includes prepaid low-cost local, long distance and international calling.
Common phone services we use in the US are not available with Skype. No 911, no caller id, and no call waiting with this provider.
Software requirements are lengthy with Skype which helps promote a high quality reception. Users should have Window 2000, XP, or Vista.Windows 2000 users require DirectX 9.0 for video calls. Broadband connections are best for call quality and Skype recommends a computer with at least a 1 GHz processor, 256 MB RAM, and a Webcam.
Customer service support is limited. Customers must rely on user guides for all products and services. If you continue to have a problem you may submit a request through a ticket system and check online for a response. Response timeliness can be periodically slow.
If you only require a bare bones phone service and aren't anticipating any customer service needs, Skype might be the right plan for you. But, for only a little more money each month you can have a full service provider that meets all of your communication needs. We think most will prefer a higher ranked company.
Ooma offers one type Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) at one annual fixed price. This provider has no charge for US calls, second line feature, broadband answering machine, online Ooma lounge, enhanced call-waiting, do not disturb, caller ID and caller ID blocking, low cost calls overseas, and more.
Much like the other VoIP services we have reviewed, all you need to use Ooma is a current phone, broadband connection, and their hub.
This small time provider had limited customer service and information overall. We couldn't get a straight answer on 911 services so we have to assume they don't exist.
Overall, Ooma providers fewer features for more money - we recommend choosing a higher ranked provider.
The traditional call waiting, voicemail and caller id are included in many of the services offered. There are many advantages to switching your traditional phone service to VoIP. Still, before considering a VoIP company you should compare and contrast the services provided by the top companies available. Important aspects of the different service levels 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!
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