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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!

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Great Price, No Complaints

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You need some common sense.

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

Vonage Reviews

VOIP: A Personal Experience

Vonage In Print News

VOIP: A Personal Experience

December 12, 2003

By Gregory J. Teets

It's widely known that technology analysts like to try new things, especially when there's a device or new technology involved. I'm doubly cursed since both my wife and I are engineers by schooling, which greatly amplifies the level of technical curiosity.

About a week ago, I decided to give VOIP(Voice over Internet Protocol) a try. After the cursory consultation with my wife, I signed up for Vonage's "DigitalVoice" Voip service. Vonage is a privately-held, venture stage company with about 80,000 subscribers.

My rationale was this: We make a fair number intrastate and interstate long distance phone calls that result in a total monthly long distance bill of $30 to $50, before taxes and regulatory fees. Since my wife will be starting maternity leave shortly, I am anticipating a dramatic increase in the number of long-distance phone calls made. Using the DigitalVoice service, we can keep a lid on our long-distance costs.
In my mind: Low Cost + New Technology = Sign Me Up!)

Vonage offers three plans for consumers:

  • Residential Premium Unlimited Plan - $34.99/month for unlimited calling throughout the U.S. and Canada.

  • Residential Unlimited Local Plan - $24.99/month for unlimited local calling plus 500 minutes of U.S. long distance and Canadian calling.

  • Basic 500 Plan - $14.99/month for 500 minutes of United States long distance and Canadian calling.

    Installation was a breeze.

    After unpacking the device, I connected the Motorola VT1000 device to my 4-port Linksys router. [The most difficult part of the installation was finding an outlet for yet another wall-wart (AC/DC adapter).]

    After plugging in a phone, I thought we were ready to go, but there was no dial tone. Rebooting the DSL modem, router, and VT1000 solved the problem-now we have dial tone.

    In talking with Vonage, they noted that they switched over to Motorola premise equipment from Cisco because the Motorola equipment included a router, which makes installation easier for non-technical clients. (When
    using the Cisco CPE customers also had to purchase a router if they wanted to share the connection with their PC.)

    The user experience is encouraging.

    Voice Quality. We have made several calls so far and the quality appears comparable to a traditional fixed line.

    Vonage allows users to vary the bit rate (30-90 kbits/sec) of the voice codec (encoder/decoder) to increase or decrease voice quality or save bandwidth.

    Features. The flat rate monthly fee Vonage includes feature like: voicemail,caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, etc and can manage those features through Vonage's website.

    Additionally, the website offers a near real-time log of phone calls.

    E911. E911 service is the only sticking point with Voip services. Because users can select their area code, it's necessary to log onto Vonage's website and input your physical location.

    Vonage also noted that E911 calls are directed toward a general number rather than the E911 service number.

    Implications: More pressure on local operator margins.

    Because I use DSL for my high-speed Internet connection, I can't drop my basic wireline service altogether, but I will make some changes. First, because we intend on making the Vonage line our primary line, I'll drop the advanced services like caller ID. Second, I'll eliminate our long-distance plan that charges us a monthly fee. (The figure below illustrates the changes I've made to my wireline telecommunications spending over the past week.) Of course if I had a cable modem, Vonage's service could be run over
    it and the local phone company would probably be cut out of the loop entirely. Fortunately for the local phone company, my opinion of our local cable TV company is quite low, so I won't rely on them for a basic service like telephony.

    During the last year, I've cut my monthly spend by 30% to 40%. The longdistance carrier was the first to get axed when we switched our service over to our local phone company last year. Now the local phone company has lost
    "wallet share" as I've gotten a cheaper rate on my DSL service, eliminated long-distance service, and dumped my advanced features.

    The progression of my monthly phone bill

    1 Year Ago 1 Week Ago Today

    Basic Local Line $18 $18 $18

    Add'l Features $ 9 $ 9 0

    DSL $50 $30 $30

    Long Distance $30-$50 $30-$50 $25+

    Total Bill $107-$127 $87-$107 $73+

    (Prices exclude taxes and fees.)

    Relative advantages and disadvantages of VOIP.

    Advantages Disadvantages

    *Cheaper price *E911 calling must be set up

    *Web management tools

    *Pick your area code internet service provider

    *No electricity=no phone service

    Analyst Certification Statement:

    The views expressed in this research report accurately reflect my personal views. I receive no compensation that is directly or indirectly related to the specific views contained with this report.

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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 for details.

    ** Certain call types excluded. is not an official Vonage support website & is independently operated.
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    All other content is © Copyright 2002 - 2013 by 4Sight Media LLC.

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