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post #1 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 05:11 AM Thread Starter
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Broadband Phone Service

So what has everybody heard about this? I can get 500 outgoing and unlimited incoming minutes from Verizon for $19.99 a month where I'll be living. It's a better deal than Cox, considering my limited usage of a home phone.... Are there any major drawbacks to this type of phone service?
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post #2 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 06:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LOUD98ES
So what has everybody heard about this? I can get 500 outgoing and unlimited incoming minutes from Verizon for $19.99 a month where I'll be living. It's a better deal than Cox, considering my limited usage of a home phone.... Are there any major drawbacks to this type of phone service?

You mean a VOIP service? If so, I have Vonage, it works great, never have a problem with it. $25 a month, unlimited calling nationwide, every imaginable feature (call waiting, call forwarding, 3 way calling, etc) all free.

Only drawback i have come across, is that it's dependant on both Electricity and the Broadband internet access. If either service fails, so does the phone...
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post #3 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 09:37 AM
 
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I'm running VOIP which let's me talk to the Philippines unlimited for $35/mth(wife is from there). Service is great, pretty much like a regular landline but ya, you do need internet and electricity for it to work.
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post #4 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 10:16 AM
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By the statement "...where I'll be living" I am assuming you are moving someplace new (I lose track of who is moving on this board). Since the others are dead on with both broadband and electricity needing to be on, you might 'interview' your new neighbors and see how often electricity or broadband goes down. If its seldom and you have a good cell phone signal there, I would not worry about it.

I have great service at my house due to it being a newer neighborhood and all utilities are buried. I literally have lost my electricty for a period longer than 10 seconds exactly ONCE in almost seven years of living there. I won't let my parents get VoIP because it seems like their cable goes out every time the wind blows.
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post #5 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 11:15 AM
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VOIP

I have it, just like you said $19.95 a month, if you travel, it is very cool because you can take the box with you, and plug it in anywhere you have an active ethernet connection, so you can take your line with you, no extra charge. In most cases you can also port your old phone number, weather its Verizon or AT&T, also cool is simultaneous ring feature, ring both your home phone and cell phone at the same time. For another $7.95 or (give or take a buck I can't remember) you can also add a phone number (they share the same line) from almost any area code, so you could potentially have your friends and family call from a distant area code without any charges, if you dont' find an active prefix ie I am in a 215 area code with most of my friends/family in the 215-968-xxxx or 215-493-xxxx, but I can't find a prefix to avoid local charges for them yet, so they could still be charged local charges even if they are with in the same area code, but outside the LATA (local area transfer area). And the voicewing website is very easy to navigate, they have done a nice job. Most importantly the quality of the line is pretty good also.

Tom
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post #6 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 11:17 AM
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Only drawback that I would really consider is that you will loose your 911 ability and in some areas your number is not a local number but the number in the nearest city.
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post #7 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 01:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcarlos2000
Only drawback that I would really consider is that you will loose your 911 ability and in some areas your number is not a local number but the number in the nearest city.
With Vonage, you tell them your zip code, and what city you are in ahead of time, and when the time comes to call 911 they will direct the call to the proper place. You have to set it up though, or it will not work..
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post #8 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 02:41 PM
 
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It is a simple matter to get rid of traditional POTS phone service (Broadband, VOIP, CableCo, TelCo, etc). Quite simple.

If the cell phone service in your area is reliable, have a look at cell phone 'docks' such as the CellSocket and Dock 'n Talk. Both of them let you tether a compatible cell phone to your home wiring. As such, you can answer your cell phone from anywhere in the house. I have my Cell Socket feeding a Vtech 8 handset cordless system. Works very well.

The CellSocket is discontinued and only works with a group of older phones (TDMA, CDMA, and GSM). The CS is a true docking station as it will recharge your cell phone and augment the antenna with some cell phones. Operation is damned simple, drop your cell into the CS and you're all set. However, the CS is well thought of by people who use them and as a result prices on ebay are still relatively high for a discontinued piece of electronics. There are several models of the CS which are specific to certain brands and models of cell phones.

The Dock 'n Talk is a Bluetooth base station that will work with almost any Bluetooth capable phone. The DnT does NOT recharge your phone and you will have to manually activate the correct BT settings in the cell phone. If your cell phone supports 'profiles' you can set up a special profile for home use with a DnT to simplify things.

The obviously nice thing about doubling up your cell phone as a 'wired' home phone is that you'll have one phone # and voice mail no matter where you are. The 'standard' for a cell phone plan these days is a cost of around $40 which gets you 500 'prime time' minutes plus several thousand minutes of off-peak usage and free calling between phones on the same cell phone company.

You can go cheaper or more expensive depending on your needs. I've got a Cingular $40 rollover plan that accumulates unused peak and off-peak minutes from month to month. Minutes that are 'older' than a year get dropped from the plan. Both Verizon and TMobile have similar (but different) plans with their own marketing quirks.

Last edited by '98-ESer; 10-25-2005 at 02:43 PM.
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post #9 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 04:35 PM
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I have the VOIP service at home, and a prepay cell phone that i hardly ever use. With the Vonage service (and it seems like the other VOIP providers have this to...) i get a feature called Simulring, where it will ring my home phone, and up to 7 other lines when somebody calls me. I have it setup to ring just my home phone and my cell phone together. So i just give out one number, and i can be reached wherever i'm at.

I honetly put about $25 on the cell phone every other month... so, my total phone bill is:

Vonage - $25/month
Cell - $12.50/month

$37.50/month...

I was paying $50+ for my old SBC land line.... Not including the cell phone
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post #10 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 04:44 PM
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Here's a screen shot from Vonage's website, listing all the features and options:

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post #11 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 05:21 PM
 
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Like others have pointed out, the major downside of Vonage is that you are depending on your broadband connection *and* the electric power to be up and running for service. Even if your local broadband provider is up and running there is no guarantee that a regional Internet outage won't isolate you from the Vonage switching center *or* that a regional phone outage will prevent the Vonage center from making calls into your area.

Remember that your voice path with a Broadband service is from your home, over the broadband provider, to the internet, to the VOIP provider (Vonage), into the PSTN, then back into your area (assuming a local call).

With a cell phone 'solution' all you need is a charged battery. In extreme cases you can recharge in the car or with a cheap solar panel. The voice path for a cell call is often from your cell phone to the closest operational tower and then (more times than not) ISDN or an OC3 to the closest local phone switch.

The issue is 'lifeline' phone service and the guarantee of functional dialtone and call connectivity. All it takes is one 'incident' where the phone 'service' is not there when you absolutely need it and the potential savings of a dollar or three a month gets eaten up in funeral costs.

Last edited by '98-ESer; 10-25-2005 at 08:25 PM.
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post #12 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 05:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by '98-ESer
Like others have pointed out, the major downside of Vonage is that you are depending on your broadband connection *and* the electric power to be up and running for service. Even is your local broadband provider is running there is no guarantee that a regional outage will isolate your from the Vonage switching center *or* a regional phone outage will prevent the Vonage center from making calls into your area.

Remember that your voice path with a Broadband service is from your home, over the broadband provider, to the internet, to the VOIP provider, into the PSTN, then back into your area (assuming a local call).

With a cell phone 'solution' all you need is a charged battery. In extreme cases you can recharge in the car or with a cheap solar panel. The voice path for a cell call is often from your cell phone to the closest operational tower and then (more times than not) ISDN or an OC3 to the closest local phone switch.

The issue is 'lifeline' phone service and the guarantee of dialtone. All it takes is one 'incident' where it's not there when you absolutely need it and the potential savings of a dollar or three a month gets eaten up in funeral costs.
which is precisely why i keep my 5 yr old nokia pre pay phone around. I've had Vonage for a year so far, and it went down once on me, when we lost power. I will keep the cell phone for emergancy purposes.
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post #13 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-25-2005, 08:24 PM
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The only time I have lost service with Vonage is when we had a power outtage. I dare say my Vonage service has been much more reliable than my traditional land line ever was.
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post #14 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-26-2005, 01:49 PM
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Here is a question. We have AT&T long distance plan on our home phone line. With that plan we have a calling card. My wife dials into the 800 number for the calling card and makes calls to Singapore that get charged through AT&T at the .10 a minute rate. If we were to switch to Vonage would that flexibility be lost?

I am thinking about switching because I'm paying $36/month for my comcast phone plus calls to Singapore at .10 per minute. We are averaging about $100 per month to AT&T. With Vonage I could doing the 14.99 plan and the .05 per minute to Singapore I could save $70 per month.

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post #15 of 20 (permalink) Old 10-26-2005, 05:25 PM
 
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The cheapest way to do your calls to Singapore is to have the people there get a PC or MAC VIOP client along with a mic/speaker/headset and maybe a webcam.

After you buy the hardware and software your calls are essentially 'free' for the (already paid) cost of your local broadband providers. The disadvantage of this is that your hardware/software investment only allows you to talk/see others who have similar hardware/software. The upside is that the hardware/software is dirt cheap.

The advantage to Vonage is that it interfaces you to the public phone systems allowing you to call nearly anyone in the world.

The prices for Vonage and the hardware are pretty damned close to buying discounted pre-paid cards and minimal home dialtone from the local phone company.

Have you priced out the local phone company for their minimal 'lifeline' phone service. By law every phone company has to offer a bare-bones plan with no frills. These things are usually in the $10-15 a month range. Couple that with our use of pre-paid LD cards and the overal price/min is pretty low.

Whenever you compare the cost of Vonage to cell phones and wireline with pre-paid cards you MUST take into account the cost of the Vonage hardware and divide that across the amount of calling you do to get a true cost-per-minute price. If you ignore the cost of entry (hardware) you are not doing a proper analysis.
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