Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

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Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Polar_Ice » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:41 pm

I have AT&T DSL and VOIP phone service now but would like to lower my phone bill by dropping the phone service with AT&T.

I have been looking at VOIP providers and trying to decide. There are a lot of companies with complaints about bad call quality. My first requirement is great phone quality and then price. I hate a bad connection.

So what VOIP providers do Bogleheads use?
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby jebmke » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:45 pm

Ours is supplied by Atlantic Broadband. Part of their "triple play" type service.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby RYD » Wed Jul 25, 2012 5:59 pm

VOIP or Voice over IP is a bit of a confusing term.

Comcast and others offer VOIP at prices close to AT&T but a bit lower. The extremely low prices like Magic Jack are what are called unmanaged services. Difference is Comcast and others can guarantee bandwidth for the call thereby insuring a certain level of quality. Magic Jack, Skype, Vonage and others are what are caledl "best effort" services. If the bandwidth is available call quality is excellent if bandwidth is not as available call quality may not be so good. There are other items but bandwidth is a key issue.

If the wire line phone is critical that AT&T and managed VOIP is probably the best bet,but if you are a casual user low cost unmanaged VOIP is a good way to go.

Note wire line phones/calls are rapidly fading away as cellular becomes the main phone for many.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Bengineer » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:10 pm

I've used VoicePulse since something like 2003. Call quality has been good, for the most part, BUT: Call quality depends a lot on your network quality. VOIP is sensitive to variation in the time it takes packets to get from you to the other end. Cable was a problem at times in the past, fiber never (ahhh, fiber, how I loved thee :happy ). I would think DSL might have issues, but have no experience with it. My home phone is via voip from my current cable provider and seems fine, as do my VoicePulse lines over it. My success with faxing has followed the call quality.

Good point by RYD on the managed services - If you go with a voicepulse / vonage / ... you might need to do a bit of QOS / bandwidth management at your end to avoid swamping your line up or down with that movie up/download and degrading your call.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby tfb » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:14 pm

Ooma!
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Sam I Am » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:21 pm

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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby indexfundfan » Wed Jul 25, 2012 6:24 pm

I use the OBi100 unit with Google Voice and Anveo.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby LazyNihilist » Wed Jul 25, 2012 7:32 pm

If you have an Android phone you can try using its inbuilt SIP account.
Sign up with callcentric.com for a SIP account and use it in conjunction with Google Voice. That is a great combination and costs you almost nothing (only $1.50/month for 911 fees).
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby mikep » Wed Jul 25, 2012 8:31 pm

tfb wrote:Ooma!


I second ooma, the service is great as long as you enable QoS properly. http://www.ooma.com/app/support/learnin ... ervice-qos

I have some $50 off /free shipping coupons good through July 31 I could send you in a PM if interested.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby markbco » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:15 pm

mikep wrote:
tfb wrote:Ooma!


I second ooma, the service is great as long as you enable QoS properly. http://www.ooma.com/app/support/learnin ... ervice-qos

I have some $50 off /free shipping coupons good through July 31 I could send you in a PM if interested.


I switched from Vonage to Ooma 3 months ago and I'm very happy. I pay less than $5/month now, instead of $20/month for Vonage. I liked some of bells and whistles of Ooma Premier (offered free for the first two months), but haven't signed up yet. Not sure I will.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Wolkenspiel » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:31 pm

4th (?) vote for coma. I've used their basic service for close to a year without problems (except when my credit card got cancelled by Amex and the $3.xx payment bounced - not ooma's fault). Voice quality is very good, setup was trouble-free. It even works abroad.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby ram » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:41 pm

Ooma
$4/mo. Very good quality.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby madbrain » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:44 pm

Been using Ooma for over 2 years. It's great.
My main reservation is about faxing which is somewhat unreliable (even with *99). Many businesses still require faxes for claim submissions, in particular my FSA. The only alternative is snail mail.
That was the main reason I signed up for Ooma in the first place originally. Otherwise I might have just used my cell phone.

There are other things that won't work over it such as alarm systems, sadly.

Do realize that it requires your Internet to stay up.
Our (business class !!!) Comcast cable went down for the last 4.5 days. We were without home phone.
In our new location, cell phones don't work reliably in the house - we have to go outside to dial. So we were without any incoming phone at all.
Try explaining to Comcast that you don't have a callback phone number when you want your cable fixed.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Polystallion » Wed Jul 25, 2012 10:54 pm

Ooma. Ditto about the faxing. Perfect otherwise. However, my landline has almost become useless aside from political surveys.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Polar_Ice » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:41 pm

Ooma sounds like a good choice.

I have been seeing deals for the Ooma lately and like the idea of allocating bandwidth by setting the QoS properly like recommend.

So does Comcast & AT&T U-verse have parallel connections just for the phone portion and your internet connection is separate?

I got a 12Mbps/download 1.5Mbps/upload connection now.

I was looking at this (like the international calling 60 mins/ month in plan):

http://www.phonepower.com/voiphome.aspx

I got a coupon to sign up for this for $119 for two years $5/month (. 30day money back guarantee.

http://www.phonepower.com/features.aspx

I tested my connection and it said the quality would be great.

http://www.phonepower.com/speedtest
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby BogleBrit » Wed Jul 25, 2012 11:47 pm

Converted to Ooma about 4 months ago and very happy so far. For those having trouble with *99 for faxing try *98 which solved the problem for me. Saving about $25 a month since switching so it pays for itself in about 10 months.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby FrugalInvestor » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:03 am

I set up Ooma for a family member a couple of years ago and it's been flawless. The downside to Ooma for me is that I need a couple of features that they include only in their 'Premier' package so that raises the potential cost for me to somewhere north of $130 per year.

I've been with Voipo for over three years. I was very happy with it for the first couple of years but the call quality has been deteriorating over the last year - so I can't recommend it today. However, I've been paying about $90 per year for the service so am staying with it for now in hopes that their announced service upgrade will improve the situation.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby madbrain » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:07 am

BogleBrit wrote:Converted to Ooma about 4 months ago and very happy so far. For those having trouble with *99 for faxing try *98 which solved the problem for me. Saving about $25 a month since switching so it pays for itself in about 10 months.


*98 is for the current ooma telo model. Won't work on my older Ooma hub.
I was using $6 metered AT&T rate which actually cost $14 with all the taxes added on. It still paid for itself fairly quickly.

Maybe I should upgrade to the Telo if faxing really works better on it. But that upgrade would never pay for itself.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby madbrain » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:13 am

Polar_Ice wrote:Ooma sounds like a good choice.

I have been seeing deals for the Ooma lately and like the idea of allocating bandwidth by setting the QoS properly like recommend.

So does Comcast & AT&T U-verse have parallel connections just for the phone portion and your internet connection is separate?


No, they are both VOIP. If your internet service goes down, so does your phone service.

IMO, the VOIP services from both Comcast and AT&T are way overpriced. They cost more than a dedicated phone line. There is not much point except simplifying the wring.

Best to get a cheaper separate VOIP service IMO, like Ooma or other.

I got a 12Mbps/upload 1.5Mbps/download connection now.


Other way around.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby pc95 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:18 am

A coworker has OOMA and likes it - I travel alot for work and Skype does pretty well for me with that. Sometimes I get poor call quality, but usually not. I also like that my wife can use my skype account on her IPOD Touch interchangeably without any additional equipment - just an available wifi and my login. For the last couple years Skype has had bulk discounts when buying a year's credit....usually translates to $2-4 per month. I kept my home line up, but for $20/month am considering replacing it with OOMA. Of course then I'll be completely dependent on Network for phone calls
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby moolman » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:32 am

Rookies.... And your ooma crap. Google obitalk, go to amazon and order it, it works just as well as the others and there's no fee. Use google voice for the service, never look back.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Polar_Ice » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:41 am

moolman wrote:Rookies.... And your ooma crap. Google obitalk, go to amazon and order it, it works just as well as the others and there's no fee. Use google voice for the service, never look back.


It says:

Works with Google Voice for FREE calls to the USA and Canada through the end of 2012

What happens after 2012? Sounds like they are getting everyone hooked and then will start charging. Probably will be competitive though.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby madbrain » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:52 am

moolman wrote:Rookies.... And your ooma crap. Google obitalk, go to amazon and order it, it works just as well as the others and there's no fee. Use google voice for the service, never look back.


Such an informative post ! What is so wrong with ooma ?
What is so great about obitalk ? obitalk.com doesn't have much information on it at all.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby cacophony » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:21 am

I tried obitalk (obi110) with google voice and found the call quality unacceptable compared to my AT&T landline. I also tried using callcentric instead of google voice and it wasn't any better. In addition to the quality issues there were also compatibility issues with my answering machine. In the end I decided it wasn't worth the savings. I wonder if Ooma has better sound quality.

BTW, my ISP is cable modem service that reliability runs at 12-15 Mbps, so the quality issues weren't related to bandwidth.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby linuxizer » Thu Jul 26, 2012 7:51 am

I'm going to add a category to the discussion:

Managed VOIP - Offered by traditional phone/cable companies. Expensive. Possibly worth it for some.
Unmangaed VOIP advertised on TV - Offered by larger upstarts.
Unmanaged VOIP not advertised on TV - Offered by small- and medium-size upstarts.

Obviously the best deals are in the latter category. VOIP is a commodity. Minutes get traded wholesale among providers on a market just like every other commodity. In other words, the call quality is all essentially the same (with the exception of the managed services which can "guarantee" bandwidth and ping times. I use quotes there because they do not guarantee anything on a consumer line, as we all know when our internet service goes down.

I have been very happy with VOIPo, in the third category. Costs about $7/month when purchased during their annual sale; they provide the router/VOIP bridge (e.g. no fixed cost). Found them from reading ratings on one of the VOIP forums.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby mike143 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:07 am

Here is a good forum on the subject: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/voip also the GBU: http://www.dslreports.com/gbu

Some of the more common ones over there are: VoIP.ms, Anveo and Call Centric.

I have a Gigaset C610A IP at the house on Anveo. We use VoIP.ms and Cisco/Linksys ATAs at project sites but will be switch to IP phones and Anveo on future projects. VoIP.ms service has declined in the past year or so. Anveo has been flawless so far.

I like Anveo because of all the visual call flow builder and the ability to spoof our cellular numbers selectivly. I pickup the phone dial *01 and it will spoof my cellular number my wife can do the same with *02.

You will always get a better experience from pure IP VoIP calling. ATAs(including OBi) always degrade the quality due to the Analog to Digital conversion.

Google Voice on Android via Groove IP is a pretty cool option I was playing with the other day for free incoming and outgoing.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Eric » Thu Jul 26, 2012 9:52 am

Which of the services mentioned in this thread transmit Caller ID name information to the people you call? Does Ooma?

I find that if you want people to answer your calls, it's helpful to have your name (not just your number) show up on their Caller ID. So that's an important feature for me.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby linuxizer » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:07 pm

Eric wrote:Which of the services mentioned in this thread transmit Caller ID name information to the people you call? Does Ooma?

I find that if you want people to answer your calls, it's helpful to have your name (not just your number) show up on their Caller ID. So that's an important feature for me.


VOIPo does.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Eric » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:15 pm

linuxizer wrote:
Eric wrote:Which of the services mentioned in this thread transmit Caller ID name information to the people you call? Does Ooma?

I find that if you want people to answer your calls, it's helpful to have your name (not just your number) show up on their Caller ID. So that's an important feature for me.


VOIPo does.


Thanks for the tip! Last time I checked VOIPo didn't. But I see from this thread that they just started.

VOIPo wrote:FYI, we've finally reached an agreement with our core carrier partners to offer outbound name. Once the new vPanel launches into BETA later this month [July 2012], you'll be able to submit a name request in it to have the name associated with a number updated in the Caller ID databases.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby mike143 » Thu Jul 26, 2012 12:54 pm

Eric wrote:Which of the services mentioned in this thread transmit Caller ID name information to the people you call? Does Ooma?

I find that if you want people to answer your calls, it's helpful to have your name (not just your number) show up on their Caller ID. So that's an important feature for me.

Here is a dialog on that concern: http://www.dslreports.com/forum/r266970 ... bound-CNAM

Response I got from Anveo on the subject, guess I can try it out on my personal number.
Dear Mike,

We do not support outbound CNAM; however, some users are using online
services like listyourself.net to associate their phone numbers with company
name and after a few weeks that information gets provisioned to other phone
providers.

Regards,
Anveo Support
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby moolman » Thu Jul 26, 2012 1:12 pm

Sorry for the quick tongue in cheek reponse for Obitalk...haha..
So if you're having voice quality issues with say Obitalk or any other service, most likely you're going to have issues with all of them. If not, it's because usually the QoS settings is not setup correctly, especially if you have a very high speed connection. For example, if you use Obitalk and get very bad quality and don't know how to fiddle with your router settings. You can hook up the Obitalk directly and use it as a router too, this applies to the more expensive Obitalk model that goes for $75, that way the QoS is setup correctly and you'll get really good voice quality. There's ways to make any VoIP better and if one service is working perfectly and another doesn't, you may need to fiddle with settings. The good thing about VoIP from your cable company or whoever is that they give you a router that makes voice a priority over everything else that is setup perfectly, hence no quality issues, if ever.

Obitalk is better than Ooma because of initial price, no continual fees for taxes. Google voice has been saying they may charge for domestic calls for a couple years now, they probably do it just in case they need to charge for whatever reason. I get a feeling that even if google voice did start to charge, it'll be cheaper or equal to Ooma in the future, after all, google voice isn't the main money maker for Google.

Worst case, you buy it on amazon and return it, if it sucks but I would highly recommend it.

I use Sprint for my cell phone and Sprint and Google have google voice intergration. So my cell phone number is my google voice number. When someone dials my cell phone, my home phone rings too since I have Obitalk. Also, when I call out from my home phone, people see my cell number which I like too.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Eric » Thu Jul 26, 2012 2:35 pm

I've used an Obitalk with Google Voice. Voice quality has been fine, but the latency has been frustrating. I keep interrupting the person I'm calling, and vice versa, because of the time lag.

Also, Google Voice doesn't transmit outgoing Caller ID name information.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Polar_Ice » Thu Jul 26, 2012 3:53 pm

I found this helpful to better understand managed vs. non-managed providers and their networks.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Managed_Fa ... ce_Network
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby AnimalCrackers » Thu Jul 26, 2012 4:04 pm

madbrain wrote:Been using Ooma for over 2 years. It's great.
My main reservation is about faxing which is somewhat unreliable (even with *99).


I have Ooma and love it. $3.76 per month.

I was having problems with faxing (claims to my FSA administrator) even using *99, until I went into my Ooma account online, added my FSA administrator's fax number as a contact and identified it as a fax number. I haven't had a problem since.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Leif » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:43 am

FYI, I see Costco has Ooma Telo Air Wireless for $170 if ordered by Aug. 19. It looks like the same deal is $230 on Amazon. I guess I need to decide soon.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby madbrain » Mon Aug 13, 2012 3:39 am

AnimalCrackers wrote:
madbrain wrote:Been using Ooma for over 2 years. It's great.
My main reservation is about faxing which is somewhat unreliable (even with *99).


I have Ooma and love it. $3.76 per month.

I was having problems with faxing (claims to my FSA administrator) even using *99, until I went into my Ooma account online, added my FSA administrator's fax number as a contact and identified it as a fax number. I haven't had a problem since.


I had that done a while ago but fax still craps out once in a while.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby rustymutt » Mon Aug 13, 2012 6:44 am

LazyNihilist wrote:If you have an Android phone you can try using its inbuilt SIP account.
Sign up with callcentric.com for a SIP account and use it in conjunction with Google Voice. That is a great combination and costs you almost nothing (only $1.50/month for 911 fees).
:moneybag



I agree that this is the best way to go if you've got that service. SIP, or session initiated protocol, as it's the latest main software system used by major players in communications signaling.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Mel Lindauer » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:29 am

I upgraded from MagicJack to MagicJack Plus. No longer need to have it connected to the computer and the call quality has improved tremendously. $69 for the hardware which includes the first year's service and $20 a year thereafter. Can now port your phone #. What's not to like?
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby mike143 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:46 am

LazyNihilist wrote:If you have an Android phone you can try using its inbuilt SIP account.

Learn something new everyday. Didn't realize Android had a native SIP app. I will have to check that out and compare it against SipDroid.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Sunny Sarkar » Mon Aug 13, 2012 10:23 am

MagicJack Plus vs Ooma - which one has cheaper recurring costs (disregard the initial equipment cost)?

I pay $3.77 per month (taxes) on Ooma, which is $45/year. How much does MJ+ cost per year everything included?
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby smackboy1 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:07 am

I don't have VOIP but I'm thinking about it and play testing it before any $ outlay. If you have an Android phone you can get FREE VOIP for calls within the US (the phone doesn't even need to have cell service, just a wifi connection). All you need are these additional no cost items:

1) Google Voice number
2) Google Voice app
3) SIPDroid app
4) Some patience

Instructions:

http://lucas719.info/function/free_phone

Since these instructions were written SIPDroid has made it even easier. After creating a GV number, start SIPDroid, fill in the information, and it will automatically create a PBXes.org account and fill in all the necessary settings. Once properly set up you can make and receive VOIP calls. You can call any number in the US, receive calls from anywhere, it doesn't use cell minutes.

There maybe a way to do this with iPhone too, but I don't know.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Lon » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:46 pm

I am very happy with VONAGE WORLD and pay $269.99 yearly. We make a fair number of International calls as well as domestic and this plan allows for unlimited calls to both. The sound quality is excellent and the online Vonage web site is equally excellent.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby rr2 » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:53 pm

I just got the Obitalk OBi110 and set it up with a Google Voice account. Works great so far. We make a fair bit of international calls which are quite inexpensive using Google Voice when compared to other VOIP services such as Ooma, Skype etc. We were already using a stand alone Skype phone cordless DECT phone which had dual lines. This same phone is now set up to do both Skype and Google Voice calls.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Kashi » Mon Aug 13, 2012 12:55 pm

I use Google's VOIP through gmail. It has continued to be free, but may have a charge in the future. The call quality has been great, imo. I use it only for making calls to keep extra minutes off my cheap-o virgin mobile cellular plan.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Sam I Am » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:22 pm

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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Mel Lindauer » Mon Aug 13, 2012 1:46 pm

Sunny Sarkar wrote:MagicJack Plus vs Ooma - which one has cheaper recurring costs (disregard the initial equipment cost)?

I pay $3.77 per month (taxes) on Ooma, which is $45/year. How much does MJ+ cost per year everything included?


Hi Sunny:

After the first free year which is included in the purchase of the MJ+, the annual charge $19.95 per year. However, they also offered a 5-year package for $59.95 which I purchased when I first got my regular MagicJack. They transferred the balance of the 5-year deal (I had about 3+ years left) over to the new MJ+. (I think they may have raised the 5-year package price to $69.95, but I'm not positive.)
Best Regards - Mel | | Semper Fi
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby KarlJ » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:37 pm

I have the original MagicJack with years left before the contract runs out.  I have not tried the MagicJack Plus yet, but with the HP all-in-one printer I purchased last year I found that I can now fax using MagicJack as well as making voice calls.
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Leif » Mon Aug 13, 2012 8:53 pm

I doing some research found the following from Clark Howard:

Meanwhile, the June 2012 issue of Consumer Reports rates phone service and AT&T got the lowest score of all 25 companies rated for value and customer service.

The absolute highest score again went to Ooma, the VoIP provider, again for the second year in a row. You buy the Ooma device for $129 - $199 and then pay a $3 monthly FCC pass-through charge and that's it for the life of Ooma.

MagicJack, meanwhile, got poor scores on reliability, call quality and customer service, but the pricing makes it the cheapest option for local and long distance calling. The first year is effectively $60 and each year after that is $30.


http://www.clarkhoward.com/news/clark-h ... ain/nNQhs/
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Toons » Mon Aug 13, 2012 9:09 pm

google voice number(free) and cell phone walmart straight talk 35 a month :happy
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Re: Using VOIP (internet phone)? Which One?

Postby Leif » Mon Aug 13, 2012 11:10 pm

Leif Eriksen wrote:FYI, I see Costco has Ooma Telo Air Wireless for $170 if ordered by Aug. 19. It looks like the same deal is $230 on Amazon. I guess I need to decide soon.


Oh man, I went to order and now they are sold out!
Last edited by Leif on Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Investors should diversify across many asset-classes so that whatever happens, we will not have all our investments in underperforming asset classes and thereby fail to meet our goals-Taylor Larimore
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