Given the upcoming holiday, I decided to do a light post about my favorite phone service. As we all know, there are plenty of heavy-hitters in the VoIP marketplace: Vonage, Skype, Google Voice, Magic Jack, Jupiter Jack, etc. But Vonage (VG) is the best of them based on my own subjective opinion. Here’s why.
First off, Vonage is different from its competitors because you do not need a PC to utilize it. Basically, you connect the Vonage box to a digital modem (either DSL or Cable), and then you unplug your regular phone from the wall and instead plug it in to the Vonage box.
The service costs $25 a month, for which you get Caller ID, voicemail, three-way calling, free calls to land-line phones and cell phones within the United States AND free calls to sixty other countries’ land-line phones. A few of those countries (including Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and Thailand) allow you to call cellular phones for free, too.
As I mentioned, you need a Vonage box to use the system. The box is where Vonage pulls itself ahead of its competitors. You see, when you travel, you can take your Vonage and your telephone with you. Just plug it in to any live Internet connection while you travel. The Vonage service is not bound by geographic barriers because, well, neither is the Internet. So, say you’re visiting your in-laws for a week: bring along your box, plug it in to their DSL/Cable modem, and viola! You’ve brought your phone number with you on your trip.
(It is possible to forward your Vonage calls to your cell phone, too.)
So, not only can you take your phone number with you while you’re out of town or out of the country, but you can use Vonage with any Internet connection anywhere. And the quality is pretty outstanding — I’ve used Skype, too, and Vonage is much better than that — so I’m not trading value and portability for phone calls that sound like they’re being made from a barrel at the bottom of Niagara Falls.
Vonage has even revolutionized voicemail. It sends you your voicemail messages as email attachments, which is fairly standard for phone services, but it goes the extra mile by transcribing your voicemail and including that text in the body of that email message. This way, I can easily read my voicemails from my smartphone, wherever I am!
I’m in love with Vonage. I love that you don’t need a PC to use it. I love the quality and I love that it only costs $25/month. I love that I can read my voicemails in an email message.
In fact, the only problem with Vonage is the same problem that exists with all VoIP formats: if the power goes out, you’re out of luck.
Any other suggestions for a VoIP service that is better than Vonage?