Vonage Review: VoIP
|Visit Vonage Website|
|Included calling to 60+ countries w/ Vonage World, great quality, no set-up fees, money-back guarantee|
[Editor's Note: Vonage has set up an exclusive 800 number where NextAdvisor.com visitors can speak to a Vonage representative to ask questions and order by phone. If you'd rather order by phone than online or just have more questions, please call 1-800-910-8108.]
Plans and Pricing
The Vonage World plan helps put Vonage a notch above other VoIP providers. Vonage World includes unlimited1 calling to anywhere in the U.S. and more than 60 other countries (see list at the bottom of this review). With the current promotional price of $9.99 for your first three months (with a 1-year agreement2), then $25.99 per month afterwards* (plus fees and taxes), we think it's priced very reasonably for what you get.
The service includes free activation, a free V-Portal adapter and free shipping. If you don't sign up for the 1-year agreement, you still get free activation and a free adapter, but you won't get the special promotional pricing. You should get your welcome package in 4-5 business days after ordering. With the addition of the free international calling, we believe Vonage World will now save many people not just hundreds but thousands of dollars a year compared to traditional phone service. Also, Vonage is the only VoIP provider we recommend that does not require you to use a credit card; you can pay from your checking account instead.
Vonage has a wide range of plans to suit every customer's needs. While we've focused our review on Vonage World as we think it is the best value of all the plans the company offers, just click here to see if another plan might be a better fit for you.
Equipment and Setup
We ordered Vonage ourselves as part of our testing of residential VoIP providers. Vonage's welcome package comes in a very Apple-esque box, which unfolds to reveal your Vonage adapter, ethernet cable, power supply, and two guides, one of which is designed to get you up and running quickly. It really does, too; we had no problems with the installation. All the ports on the adapter are color-coded and labeled. If you have trouble, Vonage also provides an interactive online installation guide.
The adapter itself is pretty neat. It's a little retro; its black body with orange stripe make it look like it came from the '80s, but it's far and away better than the adapters offered by other companies. After a frustrating experience with a competitor's adapter, it was nice to see the Vonage adapter tell us exactly what it was doing during setup. Once it's powered on, little LCD icons tell you if there's a phone, Internet, or computer connection. It also provides access to important network information, should you need to diagnose any problems.
We had no real complaints about Vonage call quality. Everything was pretty clear. When tested with the same phone against the analog line, neither we nor our callers could distinguish any big difference. VoIP in general may sound a bit colder than a normal landline, but in an age of cell phones, we doubt anyone will really notice.
Vonage World's unique and useful features help separate it from the rest of the VoIP pack. In particular, the Vonage World plan adds some incredibly useful and cool new voicemail features that further cement its position as the VoIP leader. Users of Apple's iPhone will immediately understand the huge benefits of Vonage Visual Voicemail. Rather than having to call up a number and listen to each voicemail individually, users can simply log into their Vonage account and see who called, when, and the length of the message. This can be an incredible time saver for heavy voicemail users. Its other extremely useful feature is free text transcription of all your voicemails. You can have the text (and, of course, the audio) of any new voicemail emailed to you as soon as it arrives. This service is particularly good for highly mobile people and enables you to get your voicemails in places you normally couldn't. While the transcriptions aren't always perfect, they almost always give you a clear understanding of the message.
Vonage World also includes a full feature list with more than 25 standard features like caller ID, call waiting, enhanced call forwarding, do not disturb, 3-way calling and anonymous call block. Check the Vonage website for a full list and descriptions of all Vonage's features.
From a customer service standpoint, Vonage is okay. When you call the billing line, there's a voice-recognition system to get you to the appropriate place. It can be a bit of a maze. The support itself is outsourced and a bit scripted but generally helpful.
Vonage also provides an online help section, where you can find troubleshooting information and articles on how to use all of Vonage's basic features.
All Vonage plans carry a 30-day money back guarantee, so even if you sign up for the one-year agreement, you can cancel your service with no penalty in the first 30 days after ordering.
Below is the full alphabetical list of countries included in Vonage World. The ** indicates that calls to mobile phones are also included:
U.S. Virgin Islands**
Disclaimer: Excludes certain call types such as calls to non-geographic and premium numbers. Calls to cell phones may be included depending on destination (they're included if they have a ** in our list). Subject to change.
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 (for example, U.S. & Canada 300), 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.
Get peace of mind with our 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee offer! We offer a 30-day Money Back Guarantee ("MBG") if you terminate your service within 30 days from the date of your order. Your Order Date is the date you order service or the date we successfully process your payment, whichever is later. The MBG applies to the first line only and covers the monthly charge, taxes and any shipping or activation fees. Additional lines are not eligible. Our MBG does not cover any charges for international calls or usage outside of your service plan, calls to Vonage toll free numbers, any monthly charge for ExtensionsTM and features or services not expressly included in your monthly plan fee. In addition, not all of the taxes that you paid may be refundable.If you purchased your adapter from a retail provider, you can return your adapter only to that retailer pursuant to their return policy. Vonage does not refund the price of adapters purchased from retail providers under its Money Back Guarantee.
Next Advisor, Inc. has an affiliate relationship with Vonage.
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