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Post new topic   Reply to topic  Vonage® VoIP Forum - Vonage News, Reviews And Discussion » Vonage V-Phone & SoftPhone
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VOIPshopping
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 2:16 am    Post subject: Softphone for Main Unlimited $24.99 Residential Service Reply with quote Back to top

To ask simply and directly as possible, why can't you use Softphone software feature as part of the $24.99 unlimited service? It appears that as soon as you use the softphone, calls are no longer considered "unlimited". I just want to use my unlimited $24.99 with Softphone without a dongle. Just use a headset and a mic. Why is there an additional charge of $9.99 a month an additional charge for usage over 500 minutes? Exactly why do the terms change just for using the Softphone?

There seems to be a lack of clarity about using the Softphone feature with your main/primary number with the $24.99 Residential Service that is being offered by Vonage. At least it is unclear to me.

When I spoke to a rep on the phone I was told there would be an additional $9.99 charge for this service per month and that the first 500 minutes were free and there would be a 3.4 cent charge for every minute after that. On top of that you have to have a separate number for just the Softphone usage. Of course it is in addition to the $24.99 for the "unlimited" calling plan in the US and Canada.

I asked 2 separate reps and their "supervisor" over the phone as to why this was. None of them could explain. They just kept repeating if I wanted to use the Softphone feature that was what I was going to have to pay in addition to the whatever service plan I chose. I asked to speak to the supervisor's supervisor or a tech that could explain this problem or the reason why you couldn't use the Softphone with the advertised unlimited residential rate. After a promise of a transfer to somebody who could answer my question I was promptly hung up on.

Really, all I want to do is connect to Voip and be able to dial out without using this additional dongle or connection equipment. From what was explained to me by both reps on the phone is that I have to carry this additional equipment around with me so I can plug an analog phone into it. Am I expected to carry around an analog phone with me when I travel to other offices or stay at hotels that only use digital phones? I guess this works fine if you only call from home as you will always have an analog phone connected to the included equipment. But to carry this extra Voip device and analog phone is really a hinderance to frequent travellers.

I did search the forums but did not see a response from a Vonage employee. Just some speculation from internal subscribers about how someone could use use a PBX to service an area with one account and some telemarketing exploit. While I can see both points, this could be easily remedied by a Terms of Service or be expressly forbidden under pain of cancellation as part of a usage agreement. A software solution to monitor this could also be rendered but probably some type of written agreement is cheaper and takes less to implement operationally. But just to reiterate this was not the official explanation Vonage gave only the opinions of avid posters on this forum.

Please, could I get an official Vonage explanation to my orginal question?

Thank you for your time.
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jnuzzi
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 7:57 am    Post subject: Re: Softphone for Main Unlimited $24.99 Residential Service Reply with quote Back to top

VOIPshopping wrote:
Please, could I get an official Vonage explanation to my orginal question?

If you would like an official explanation from Vonage then you need to speak with Vonage. There are some Vonage employees that donate their time to reading this forum and trying to help the people that post here. However, this is done out of the kindness of their hearts, not as an official Vonage service. Wink

As far as your question goes, I am not 100% sure that the reasoning behind this is technical at all. I would be willing to bet that having the SoftPhone as an additional charge with limited minutes is more of a business decision similar to an ISP charging you more money to have a static IP address. It is technically possible, but the business wants to make some additional money.

Anyway, that is just my 2 cents and is definately NOT an official Vonage explanation. Smile


Jim
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VOIPshopping
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 11:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Thank you very much for your reply..

And what you say could very well be true.

In any case, I do appreciate the time you took to reply!
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ToddlerTN
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I don't have SoftPhone, but I'd guess it's partly to discourage you from sharing it among all your friends? After all, the line adapter can only exist in one physical location in the world, but you could have that SoftPhone all over the place, right? Or am I missing something?
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peterwemm
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I wish they'd figure out something reasonable soon. I'm not buying the 'too many calls' excuse, they control the software, the billing and the gateways. Even ISP's like earthlink can figure out a reasonable solution for the "concurrent use" problem - they say you can use it in multiple locations, but if there is any concurrent use then you pay by the minute for the overlapping time. Simple, easy and earthlink gets $$ in the process.

I'm on the verge of cancelling our Vonage primary line because of this silliness. Having to use a second analog->digital converter just allows more possibilities for things to go wrong. It really annoys me to have a SIP connection come in over the net, get converted to analog, then back to SIP again for our in-house phones. We don't have analog phones in the house except for the line for our tivos.

(The only thing stopping me is that we've moved since porting our number across. LNP is risky enough at the best of times...)
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ToddlerTN
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

peterwemm wrote:
I wish they'd figure out something reasonable soon. I'm not buying the 'too many calls' excuse, they control the software, the billing and the gateways. Even ISP's like earthlink can figure out a reasonable solution for the "concurrent use" problem - they say you can use it in multiple locations, but if there is any concurrent use then you pay by the minute for the overlapping time. Simple, easy and earthlink gets $$ in the process.

That doesn't apply to the issue. The question was, why isn't unlimited use of the SoftPhone software included with your $24.95?
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peterwemm
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2005 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

I'd happily give them their motorola ATA back and pay the shipping if they'd only let me talk SIP directly. Sigh.

Heck, I'd even pay a minute rate if they'd let me move my "captive" main number to a softphone account with a known login/password.

_________________
Vonage customer since March 2004. Customer of just about every other Voip provider out there too.
Asterisk PBX software, using Vonage softphone. ATA VT1005, rarely used.
ISP: Comcast (8M down, 768K up) *and* Sonic.net ADSL (1.5M down, 384K up) for Voip
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VOIPshopping
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

ToddlerTN,

I wish I would have worded the subject the way you just did. Very to the point.

I have been searching the web for other service providers with unlimited softphone software usage and here's what I have found. Either it's not offered or they have adopted a similar pricing structure for use of the Softphone software.

Bottom line, so far no provider, in my limited research, is offering unlimited Softphone usage as part of the core package.

I just wish a reputable provider would offer this service as part of the core package.

I agree with PeterW about Vonage being able to implement some type of gateway or monitoring solution to prevent whatever use/misuse they deem objectionable or not in the spirit/intention of the service.

The search goes on!
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peterwemm
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:58 am    Post subject: It seems they can do it after all! Reply with quote Back to top

Actually, what is really damn annoying is that Vonage *do* offer multiple line, IP-PBX etc service. Their "Business Plus" service (Vonage Business Plus) is a BYO Hardware/Software system. If you read the existing Terms of Service, there is even a section in there talking about the 'Business plus' thing and how there are no early termination fees, using your own hardware or software etc.

But the price! Man, that is brutal! $300 for 12,000 minutes, 8 concurrent lines and 3.5c/min for excess minutes. Holy ****!

But at least it shows that they can do it. They just dont have a sanely priced offering for mere mortals who only use a 200-400 minutes per month.

They can count and control concurrent session use. They can count minutes. They can work with third party hardware and software, including IP based pbx's and IP-phones. They already have the infrastructure. The service above even shows that they can port numbers with a service like this and freely intermix softphones, PBX and hardware devices. Now if only they'd make it within the reach of mere mortals...

Vonage's current Terms of service document:
Quote:
1.2.3 Business Plus Use of Service ..... Customer is responsible for supplying the standard SIP based Customer Premise Equipment (CPE) ("device") for use with the service. Business Plus customers are solely responsible for providing, operating and supporting the device they use in conjunction with Vonage's service....


Now why can't they do the same for mere mortals on a reasonably priced "you're on your own" basis?

_________________
Vonage customer since March 2004. Customer of just about every other Voip provider out there too.
Asterisk PBX software, using Vonage softphone. ATA VT1005, rarely used.
ISP: Comcast (8M down, 768K up) *and* Sonic.net ADSL (1.5M down, 384K up) for Voip
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VOIPshopping
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote Back to top

Wow very informative post about the business offerings.

I have taken some time to email Vonage to ask why it is not offered. Especially after the previous post. I was not aware the business services offered those features.

I will have to look into this myself some more to confirm, but if true there isn't a compelling operational issue as to why the softphone shouldn't be included with the unlimited residential plan! Oh the convenience and portability!!! I would let the issue die if they just came out and said it was just another revenue stream. Just the fact that they offer softphone functionality tells us that it is possible.
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