Lingo offers a free first month with additional months coming in at $23.95 on the World Unlimited plan, which provides free unlimited calling to the 45 countries listed below. It doesn't include calls to cell phones in most countries, a common limitation on VoIP plans. $14.95 per month covers calls across the U.S. and Canada. Lower cost plans are also available, for example, $9.95 per month gets you 500 domestic minutes.
While the important thing with VoIP is always call quality, we can't help but notice when a product is well packaged and presented. Lingo sends you a nice little package and a slick, fairly detailed instruction booklet. The Lingo hardware itself is not remarkable; it's the fairly standard Linksys VoIP router. The setup is very thorough, just about the opposite of ViaTalk's four steps. The steps here are very exact, and we suggest you follow them to the letter. If you need more help, Lingo also offers an interactive online setup help tool. We were up and running with Lingo pretty quickly.
Call quality seemed ok, though maybe not as nice as ViaTalk's. There was a slightly far-away staticky sound, though it was otherwise audible. As with ViaTalk, there's a bit of a delay between dialing and ringing.
Although Lingo has a smaller feature set than most of the other VoIP services we reviewed, the company does offer the basics, including voicemail to email, caller ID, three-way calling, call from your computer, and E911 service. Customers switching to VoIP from traditional telephone service for enhanced features may get more bang for their buck from another company.
Lingo's outsourced tech support was easily reached, but it was scripted and trying. Cancellation was particularly frustrating, as they try to start your 30-day trial period from the order date, and not the day you received your equipment. Cancellation also requires that you go to two different extensions, the second of which seems engineered to force you to give up.
If you prefer to get your support online, Lingo also offers an FAQ section, feature guides, and supplemental installation information.
Lingo no longer requires a yearly contract, and has dropped its annual contracts and annoying refund and rebate recovery fees. Since you're paying month-to-month, you can cancel at any time without penalty. You will owe any unpaid minutes, taxes, or monthly service fees. Should you decide not to send back the equipment, they'll charge you $75.00, so make sure to mail it back.
We had some trouble getting through the support structure when we tried to cancel, so if you cancel your service, be prepared for the process to take some time.
Lingo has recently added several tiers of international coverage, including packages that let you call landlines in 45 countries, those landlines plus mobile phones in 25 countries, or a full list of 65 countries. Calls to countries not covered by Lingo's plans are billed per-minute, as are calls placed after you have used up your international minutes for the month, if your plan has a limit. You can look up per-minute rates on the Lingo website.
Countries covered by Lingo Smart Talk. The ** indicates that calls to mobile phones are also included:
Brazil (Rio De Janeiro, Santos, and San Paulo only)
Peru (Lima only)
Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg only)
US Virgin Islands
Lingo comes out cheaper than Vonage, but is more limited in terms of international coverage and calling features. We also give it a knock for the hassle we experienced during cancellation and the slightly flawed call quality.
|Plans:||World Unlimited: $23.95/mo|
America Unlimited: $14.95/mo
America 500: $9.95/mo
|Setup Fees:||$14.95 S&H|
|$ Back Guarantee & Cancel Policy:||None unless equipment is not returned|
|Promotions:||Free first month for World Unlimited, America Unlimited;|
Free activation & equipment
|Countries Included:||World Unlimited - U.S. and 45 countries;|
America Unlimited: USA and Canada
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