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Topic:
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On Oct 24, 2017 at 22:29:48

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On Jun 24, 2017 at 09:15:34

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On May 02, 2017 at 17:28:06

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In The Forum:
Vonage UK
Topic:
How do you call 999
On Apr 27, 2017 at 18:52:02

Trafford Posted:
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In The Forum:
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Topic:
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On Apr 27, 2017 at 10:42:50

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In The Forum:
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Topic:
IP PBX for small business
On Mar 28, 2017 at 12:42:33

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In The Forum:
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On Feb 23, 2017 at 18:33:52


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Salt Lake City: impressions after several months
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Review: My First Day With Vonage, Excellent!
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Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...
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Cheap Talk

December 1, 2004

By Joe Waller

International Travelers Are Finding Big Savings Where Phone Technology Meets The Internet.

Richard Cowell, an information specialist for the British consulate in New York, resides in Manhattan, but when he calls his parents, who live in England—and when they phone him—the calls are free.

Both Cowell and his parents are part of the legions of new Voip subscribers. VoIP, or Voice over Internet Protocol, is a method for routing phone calls via the Internet by breaking the voice signal into small data packets—similar to the way an e-mail or Web page is sent. And, as with e-mail, the cost is the same no matter where you’re calling: Provided you have Internet access, the connection is free.

Voip technology has been around for years, but it has only recently hit the mainstream as broadband connections become more common (the faster speeds allow instantaneous transmission of your voice and better clarity) and major phone and cable providers begin to offer the service. The Yankee Group, a telecommunications research firm, predicts there will be 17/5 million Voip subscribers by 2008, up from one million in 2004.

Voip service comes in two flavors: one that only allows you to contact other Voip subscribers and one that lets you call any telephone—cell or landline. The best provider for the subscriber-only service is Skype (skype.net). Once you sign up (there’s no fee), you download software called a softphone, which looks like a telephone dial pad on your scream. With a headset or a microphone plugged into your computer, you can use your softphone to ring up other Skype subscribers for free anywhere in the world you find a high-speed connection, including Wi-Fi hotspots.

Skype’s new SkypeOut service allows you to use your account to call any phone in the world. SkypeOut isn’t free, but the rate is only two cents per minute to 22 countries, including the United States and most of Europe. Other places cost more, but just a few remote spots, such as the Cook Islands, are more than a dollar a minute.

The other option for calling non-VoIP subscribers is to open a Voip account with a major provider such as AT&T, Verizon, or Vonage by signing up on the provider’s website. This service works more like a traditional phone line—you can use your regular phone to reach any landline or cell. Plans range from $15 to $40 a month for unlimited domestic calls, with overseas rates rarely topping five cents a minute. Once you subscribe, you’ll receive an adaptor—a small black box—that links your phone to your broadband connection. Going on a trip? Bring along the adaptor and connect it the same way in your hotel (assuming your room has a high speed Internet connection). You may have to pay the hotel a fee for Internet access, but you won’t be charged the hefty long-distance rates. (For an additional $10 a month, Vonage offers a softphone, so you can leave the black box at home and make calls from your laptop.)

Voip providers let you choose your area code no matter where you live (although not all area codes are available). Both Cowell and his parents are Vonage subscribers with New York numbers, which means there is no charge for calls between them. And when Cowell visits the United Kingdon, he simply takes his adaptor—and his New York number—with him. “I have friends calling up expecting to get me in my apartment, and instead I’m in London,” he says.

Voip still has a few wrinkles: If your system crashes or the power goes out, so does your Voip line; and softphones may need some reconfiguring to work with firewalls and other network security. But in general, the systems have become very simple to use. “You just pick up a phone and dial,” Cowell says. “It’s like dragging an extension cord across the Atlantic.”



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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