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Vonage In The News
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Salt Lake City: impressions after several months
Salt Lake City: impressions after several months



Review: My First Day With Vonage, Excellent!
Review: My First Day With Vonage, Excellent!



Great Price, No Complaints
Great Price, No Complaints



You need some common sense.
You need some common sense.



Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...
Vonage Customer Review: One month with Vonage, and...




Vonage Reviews

Vonage VoIP Forum Digest - May 1, 2008


Vonage VoIP Forum Digest

May 1, 2008

By Daniel Connor

After a short hiatus, the Vonage Voip Forum Digest is back!

Let's jump straight to two Vonage Forum threads, one about call screening and call blocking with Vonage, and then the other thread is a poll & discussion on "Is Vonage Secure?". Then we'll check in on Vonage's stock price.

First, here's an oldie (Nov 2007) but a goodie from the Vonage forums. papasmurf writes, "When will Vonage be adding call screening or call blocking? Their competitor Comcast and Clearwire has this feature with Voip services. This feature will allow the customer to add phone numbers to block when they get those calls from companies claiming to have a prior working relationship so they are entitled to call or those who call to do a survey they claim will only take a few minutes."

It's a two part question, so let's break it apart. The first part asks about call screening. Currently, Vonage does not support live real-time call screening as a caller is leaving voicemail. But this isn't just Vonage that lacks this feature. Most, if not all of the broadband Voip service providers don't have call screening. SunRocket was the sole exception with their SunRocket Signature Message Screener software, which did enable real-time call screening. But we all know about SunRocket's demise. Sure, TeleBlend took over parts of SunRocket's operations, but they're not accepting any new customers. But I digress here. It appears papasmurf is going to have to wait awhile before 'call screening' comes to Vonage.

But wait, not all hope is lost! CallWave offers hosted voicemail services that do have call screening capabilities. Of course, you'd have to pay for it (though they have trials) and you'd lose all the cool Vonage voicemail features. CallWave also has a neat Voicemail-To-Text feature that transcribes the voicemail and lets users read voicemail in their email.

As to Call Blocking in Vonage, there's a couple options. The first option is to simply dial *77 from your Vonage phone and listen to the prompts to activate "Anonymous Call Block". You will not receive any calls from anyone who is blocking their Caller ID. Instead, they will be greeted by this message:

"This call will not be completed because the party you are trying to reach is not accepting calls from callers who do not allow delivery of their Caller ID information. Please hang up and try your call again with your Caller ID unblocked. Thank you - B190". To de-activate "Anonymous Call Block", simply dial *87.

Another option that is more flexible and powerful is PhoneTray, a piece of software that sits in your System Tray which constantly monitors incoming calls CallerID information. It can identify callers and zap telemarketers with this FREE Caller ID software. The software shows Caller ID on your PC screen, speaks name and number and logs all your incoming calls. You can configure it to reject any unwanted call, zap telemarketers with special tone or play Federal do-not-call warning to remove you from their lists - by law. If you want to get fancy like I have, you can configure it to play specific WAV files depending on the CallerID. I have one WAV file that when a certainly friend calls, it plays Captain Picard saying "Red Alert!" with the background of the Enterprise's red alert alarm going off in the background.

With the Trekkiness out of the way, let's move onto the second thread which is also a poll. skboss says:

I have been a Vonage customer about 8 months and for some security reasons I started to doubt about my Voip service. I have read couple of webbsite about how secure Vonage is. and all of them showed that Vonage isn't safe at all. Here is a quote from one of the webpages--
"Unsuspecting Vonage users might find themselves vulnerable to account hijacking, eavesdropping and denial-of-service (DoS) attacks, Sipera System's VIPER lab said last week.
"These attacks actually do happen out in the wild," said Eric Winsborrow, Sipera's chief marketing officer. He said many of these exploits were straightforward and preventable if proper security protocols were followed.

Possibly the most serious of the vulnerabilities was the ability of an attacker to forge a user's identity and take over his session -- a registration replay attack.
Sounds pretty scary, eh? Not to worry. This is a lot of hullabaloo over nothing. Sipera is in the business of providing Voip security solutions, so they have a vested interest in spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) when it comes to how secure various Voip providers are. In fact, Charlie Sahner, a spokesperson for Vonage, explained that Sipera is in the business of providing "VoIP solutions" and that Vonage declined to be a customer of Sipera's products. Sour grapes, perhaps? Chris added, "VoIP systems like Vonage are actually more secure than landlines," he said.

Citing legal counsel, Vonage declined to comment further on the security allegations.

In The News
Last week, Vonage announced that it has signed a non-binding letter of intent with a third party financing source to provide $215 million in private debt financing.

Vonage expects that a senior secured credit facility will supply approximately two-thirds of the financing, and one-third will be provided through issuance of convertible secured notes. The letter of intent is a proposition that will be used as a resource for financing and does not signify a commitment.

The net proceeds from this finance backing, plus cash on hand, will be used by Vonage to repay, take care of or redeem its present convertible notes, which can be put to Vonage on December 16, 2008 and have a principal amount due of approximately $253 million.

As of March 31, 2008, the company had approximately $190 million in cash and cash equivalents of which $42 million was limited and $148 million was unlimited.

John Rego, Chief Financial Officer at Vonage, said, "We are pleased with our progress at this stage of our refinancing efforts, particularly during this extremely challenging time for the credit markets."

The company hopes to have an update on the progress of its refinancing efforts when it reports first quarter 2008 earnings on May 8, 2008.

Vonage Tip of the Day
Vonage Call Transfer lets you direct a live call to another phone number anywhere in the US, Puerto Rico, and Canada at no extra charge.
You can use this feature for example to forward your Vonage landline phone call to your cellphone if you are on your way out the door.

How to:
    Just press the flash button or switch hook, dial #90, dial the phone number you want the call transfered to, and hit #.

Vonage Stock Report
Vonage's stock this week has steadily hovered just under $2.00 and in fact it opened on Monday at exactly $2.00. On Wednesday, Vonage stock closed at $1.96 a share, which is an 4 cent (-2%) drop from Monday's $2.00 a share close. The good news is that Vonage opened April 1st at $1.87 and closed the month of April at $1.97, which is a 10 cent (5.3%) increase for the month of April.

That's what's hot about Vonage today. Check with us Monday for our next edition of the Vonage Voip Forum Digest.



 
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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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