The Lowdown on Vonage

By: Amy Quinn

Many internet users have recognized that using the Net for voice communication is far cheaper than using the conventional telephone. Enter VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, which is used to carry voice signals over the IP network. Vonage is one of the several players in the category. Sprint, Verizon, BroadVoice and AOL are some of the other names synonymous with VoIP.

Vonage has carved out a niche for itself. It is known as "The Broadband Phone Company" that is "Leading the Internet Phone Revolution". It prides itself in providing an all-inclusive phone service. The subscriber can make local and long distance calls anywhere in the US, Canada and Puerto Rico for one low price. Add to this that calls to some select European countries come free with its unlimited plans. Its aggressive consumer marketing in the US, Canada, UK and other countries globally has almost single handedly ushered in the era of VoBB (Voice over Broad Band) services.

As a VoBB service provider it gives its subscribers a whole lot of 'must-haves' and 'add-ons'. Features like Keep Your Phone Number, Live Customer Support, Money-Back Guarantee, Great International Rates, Bandwidth Saver, Billing Information, etc. provide ease of use as well as economy to the user. Frequent referrals to the service make the service more economical for a user. Add-ons like adding multiple phone numbers to the user's Vonage account, providing virtual phone numbers as secondary numbers, providing own toll free number and dedicated fax line service provide additional advantage to a frequent traveler. These facilities come with a small individual price tag but help the user to customize his service to suit his or her needs.

Vonage has an unlimited plan priced at $24.99. Up till now it was quite an unbeaten price. Recently another VoIP service provider, Verizon, had priced its unlimited plan a wee bit lower at $24.95. But most current subscribers to Vonage services are still content with the comprehensive package that the company has to offer. Basic 500 priced at $14.99, Small business unlimited at $49.99 and Small Business Basic at $39.99 are some of the other popular options that a user gets to choose from.

There are a few un-met expectations from the service, however. Though the 'Keep your phone number' feature is known to work well, some users have in the recent past complained about change of number problems. Apart from this some users feel that the service provider should add 'anonymous call rejection' and 'do not disturb features' as part of the service. Another common complaint is that though Vonage replies quite consistently via email, when the caller tries to access the customer care by phone he may have to be on hold for a longer duration than what may be generally acceptable. And lastly, some subscribers have experienced setup problems. But overall the general sentiment is that once Vonage is installed properly, it works well and saves money!

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