Archive for the VOIP Provider Reviews Category

I’ve been getting a lot of questions on how Skype compares to Axvoice, the VoIP Provider which is growing its customer base at a massive rate, and looking to take on the big boys. Here’s the scoop, condensed into an easy-to-understand summary:

Some of the better Axvoice Features

– 30 Day Money Back Guarantee
– Unlimited Calls To 20+ International Destinations
– BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)
– No Signup Contracts
– Free Virtual Number
– Free Number Porting
– Softphone Support
– Paypal payment options
– E911 Coverage
– 800 Toll-Free Access
– G.711 & G.729 Support

Skype Pro Features Summary

– Free Skype-to-Skype calls
– Nothing per minute landline calls* – For calls to landlines within your country.
£21 discount on a personal online number – A SkypeIn number that lets people call you at local rates.
– Save on the move with To Go – International calls from your mobile at local rates.
– Voicemail
never miss a call – Pick up messages when you’re busy or offline.Let’s compare their closest-matching packages:


 
Axvoice Skype
Plan Unlimited International & USA/Canada Plan Skype Pro
Basic Plan Cost $22.99 $3.00
Phone Adapter Free N/A
Incoming Calls Unlimited Unlimited
User to User Calls Unlimited Unlimited
Outgoing Minutes Unlimited Unlimited
Free Countries 23 2
Money Back Guarantee 30 Days 30 Days

Skype compared to AxvoiceWith the number of calls to free countries, the Axvoice option seems best for those going long-distance. However, Skype have a massive user base outside the US, so it’s not unusual for the people you’d be calling abroad to have Skype, and would therefore be free to call.

As a service, the downloadable Skype software makes it simple to make calls with a simple set-up process, but Axvoice is targeting those people who want to retain their own physical phone, but want to get all the benefits that VoIP has to offer.

In short, it’s difficult to directly compare the two services, both having their own merits. To check out the full list of features and package options for yourself, use the links below:

   Axvoice Broadband Telephony

The Demon Voice over Broadband “Pay as you go” solution is free to set up and there are no connection charges and no monthly retainer. Calls to other Demon VoB users are FREE and call rates to International landlines begin from as little as 1p (UK Sterling) per minute. There is no minimum call spend and call charges are billed retrospectively at the end of each month.

All Demon VoB packages include a free softphone, voicemail to email and an 0845 number as standard. With the PAYG service you have the additional ability to make multiple voice calls simultaneously over your Internet connection.

Key Benefits

·         Calls cost from as little as 1p a minute to UK and international destinations.
·         Multiple voice calls allowed simultaneously over your chosen Internet Access.
·        
Speak to other Demon Voice over Broadband users for FREE.
·         FREE softphone plus the opportunity to purchase hardware.
·         Low-cost calls wherever a suitable Internet connection is available.
·         An 0845 number as standard provides business continuity regardless of location.
·         Provides an additional phone line with no increase in line rental charges.
·         Ideal for when you are off-site and on the move: no need to carry an adapter around with you.
·         Online customer self management system for greater efficiency and control which includes:

·         Advanced call routing features
·         FREE voicemail to email service
·         Fax to email service
·         Set up additional numbers and accounts
·         Live call statistics so you can monitor use

·         Uses the industry-standard SIP protocol which can be used with any compatible IP phone or softphone.

There are also other packages offered by Demon, which include inclusive call charges to UK and International fixed lines. The monthly retainer fees are competitive, yet we have yet to hear any reports on the call quality and value of associated features and services. If you’ve used Demon VoB yourself, or have any comments on the service they provide, leave a comment below, and share it with your fellow VoIP Provider Guide readers.

Following our recent VoIP Provider review of the “VoIP Your Life” service, I was kindly contacted by Gary Holhouser, from VoIP Your Life, to pass on his thanks for our kind words (though you can be assured of our impartiality at all times!), and to correct us on a couple of statements we made. Here’s his email…

“I was reading through your site and want to tell you that we appreciate your positive reviews on our company. However, I noticed some items listed in the review that I might be able clarify for your readers:

The 1500 minute cap only applies to small businesses that opt for our service. For residential subscribers the plans are truly unlimited. There is a very generous fraud cap to help prevent enterprise accounts from signing up and abusing the service. The typical residential subscriber never notices or comes near this cap. It is far greater than 1500 minutes.

We do not apply 911 or USF charges to customers outside of North America. Consequently, we cannot provide 911 or emergency services for those customers.

While our service for UK customers have not yet been defined, your readers can sign up for a US and Canadian number, provided they have a US or Canadian credit card.” Thanks to Gary for adding clarity to the review. So it’s over to you readers: How have you VoIP Your Life customers found the service? We’d love to get your comments.

VoIP service is a fickle beast. There are hundreds of different services, all offering something slightly different from the rest. So, for those looking for honestly free VoIP service, it might come as no surprise that finding the right one is not a straightforward task. Of course, most services are entirely free. Ignoring the branded ‘Home VoIP Phone Service” companies like Vonage and ViaTalk, there are plenty of simple applications that with the right equipment can help you bypass the big bad corporate giants.

Skype


Skype has been around for awhile now and is the best known and most popular of all VoIP services, paid or unpaid. With a simple download, users can start talking to any other Skype users in the world for free. The only catch is that the other user must have Skype installed and be talking from a computer. While Skype does allow users to call landlines, that’s where the charges start to come in. However, with a few years of successful service, easy to use software and decent call quality, Skype is a great free VoIP option.

VoIP Cheap
VoIPCheap is similar to Skype in that it is a simple software download that operates solely on the computer. However, VoIPCheap goes one step further in that it offers free phone calls to land telephone lines in many countries around the world. There are a few paid locations though and if you use more than 300 minutes on a single IP address in one week, fees will apply. However, for those with limited phone usage and friends in any of the countries they support, VoIPCheap does offer free calling.

Gizmo
Offering a very slick interface and a simple software download, Gizmo is similar to Skype in that it allows users a PC based calling application for use with any other Gizmo users. Additionally, their service allows users to place calls to other Gizmo users’ home and mobile phones with their “All Calls Free” plan. However, users should read through the terms of service here first as there are a variety of carefully worded clauses and rules that might result in fees being applied to your account.

Windows Live
Like many other Instant Messenger services offering voice chat, Windows Live is a straightforward and well crafted service. It allows any Windows Live members to talk with each other via Messenger for free for as long as they want. The only catch is that if a user decides to call a landline or mobile telephone number there are rates applicable. Also, those calls are expected to be kept under 5 minutes in length, making this is a less viable VoIP option, if looking to replace the home phone.

Raketu
Raketu is a relatively new service combining numerous concepts and services into a single site with a definitive image. Their site allows free calls between your computer and landlines/mobiles in 42 different countries. Additionally, users can use the relatively new and still in development TV streaming service that allows users to discuss television shows in real time. While everything is technically free on Raketu, you will be required to pay an upfront fee of $9.95 as a deposit before making any calls. This money is used to cover any calls you might make to a location not covered in their free calling list.

There are numerous other free applications in development or use at the moment that millions use at any given time. Google Talk currently offers only Voice Mail options, but has in the past and will likely in the future reintegrate VoIP service to its client. Yahoo! offers voice chat as well, though theirs is notoriously slow due to the high volume of their services. Regardless, there are plenty of options for those individuals looking to stay away from the high priced, unnecessary fees of the phone companies. If you’re interested in making free calls, a quick download and a new headset should be all you need.

VoIP.com is one of the few original VoIP services that has found decent success and remains near the mid to top of the pack even today. A long time competitor of Vonage, VoIP.com has enjoyed prolonged success by offering slightly cheaper services, affordable international rates, and a decent selection of plans. However, recent months have seen the same kind of service degradation that threatens Vonage’s position in the Broadband VoIP market.

First the Good Stuff
VoIP.com has a nice selection of services to choose from. Upon initially visiting their website, you’re given the opportunity to make one free phone call from their webpage to get a feel for their call quality and service. The free call is what you could expect from a free call in terms of quality, but it is a nice touch when deciding who to work with.

Their international rates are all decently competitive, ranging between 1.7 cents for most of Europe and 15 cents for calls to India. Additionally, the standard plan, offering unlimited calls at $19.95 a month is a good deal and includes Canada. They also offer a yearly plan, reminiscent of SunRocket’s ill-fated annual upfront payments, for $199/year.

Offering many of the mainstay features that are hit and miss with other VoIP services, VoIP.com ensures that everything you need is in front of you. You’ll receive softphone support from your computer, a network phone adapter so you can use your existing telephone, and numerous standard features such as call waiting, caller ID, and enhanced 911.

Generally, VoIP.com has all of the necessary features covered and is on paper a solid experience. Their price points are competitive and they do not offer too many different plans so as to confuse potential customers. Customization is limited however and certain international rates – for countries not initially listed – can be slightly higher.

VOIP - Internet Telephone Service

And The Bad
Unfortunately, it is not the features or the plans that cause the most problems for VoIP.com customers. In recent months especially, complaints over service and quality have increased as the user base has grown. Foremost, VoIP.com is known for its relatively poor customer service. While many customers can expect some degree of indifference and slow response from a major corporation, VoIP.com has a habit of taking a decently long time to send necessary equipment in the mail and offers instructions that are rudimentary at best.

Certain steps in the setup process may require customer service assistance, another aspect of the company which is sorely lacking. With slow response and fuzzy answers that often serve to confuse users more than assist, VoIP.com will be a decent enough hassle just to set up and get started with.  Additionally, customers have complained repeatedly about shady cancellation fees and problematic service reports. Often, VoIP.com will claim service is working well when it is not, charging the fees regardless. It is possible to get fees refunded, but it is much harder than it should be if you decide to end your service prematurely.

Quality is largely hit or miss. The adaptor is a problem from the start, but for those that get it installed and working properly, the call quality is generally decent. However, for some individuals, call quality has been known to be sketchy at best, occasionally losing strength, signal or calls altogether.

The Bottom Line
VoIP.com has a few years and few hundred thousand customers under their belt to work with and learn from. Their plans and call quality are generally acceptable and for those that do not experience any problems that are considered out of the ordinary, VoIP.com will likely be a good choice that will work well as a home phone service.

Unfortunately, it is very rare that no problems out of the ordinary occur. For that reason, VoIP.com is hard to recommend over other services such as VIATalk or VoIP Your Life. With indifferent and sloppy customer service, poor equipment and unclear instructions, VoIP.com is a dice throw. While you could easily be pleased, you could just as easily end up angry and without phone service.

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