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Communications The Almighty Buck

VoIP Price War Declared 275

gardel writes "Voxilla reports that a VoIP price war was declared today. An announcement that AT&T would drop its prices for its CallVantage Service from $34.99 to $29.99 per month was followed quickly by an announcement that Vonage would drop the price on its unlimited calling plan to $25 a month from the previous $29.99. Analysts say the price cuts show the VoIP market is not only competitive, but it's serious."
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VoIP Price War Declared

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  • by NoInfo ( 247461 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:22PM (#10399958) Homepage Journal
    Has anyone used Voxilla or AT&T's VoIP services?

    Any reason why someone would pay want to pay more for AT&T?

    • Re:Any VoIP users? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SpiffyMarc ( 590301 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:32PM (#10400042)
      AT&T is a huge behemoth of a company, that isn't going anywhere. Vonage is a start-up.

      For us, Vonage is a household name, but not for many outside this circle.
    • Re:Any VoIP users? (Score:3, Informative)

      by danimal67 ( 679464 )
      I use CallVantage. I've read many reviews that compare to Vonage and other competitors. A good portion of the reviews have said that they think CallVantage is less prone to distortion than competing services. I believe it is in part because the TA has to sit directly behind the cable modem and priortizes the packets. Apparently a recent firmware revision lets the TA sit behind routers, but I haven't moved mine. I don't know if this negates the positive audio qualities that reviews have cited.
      • Re:Any VoIP users? (Score:3, Informative)

        by The-Bus ( 138060 )
        Vonage let's their hardware act as a router (poorly) or sit behind a router. Vonage lets their hardware do QoS and packet shaping. I don't think the hardware makes that big of a difference.
    • by aacool ( 700143 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:50PM (#10400173) Journal
      I use Lingo [] as my exclusive phone service - I cancelled my POTS line after two days - SBC was very difficult to cancel when I told them I was going to VOIP

      I have had absolutely no problems for the last two months. I get an amazing price - $19.99 for unlimited US, Western Europe & Canada, and the first three months absolutely free.

      I can't imagine not having the convenience of VOIP. The online bonuses - email voicemail, detailed billing, etc are good too. Ob. referral - contact my id for a ref bonus:)

      The rates to the rest of the world are good too

    • Do they use your existing data line (dsl cable etc) or do they install a dedicated line?

  • by stinerman ( 812158 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {enits.nahtan}> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:25PM (#10399975) Homepage
    Even social democrats like myself can appreciate good free-market competition like this.

    If only all markets worked this way, I might be a Libertarian. . .
    • by rnd() ( 118781 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:58PM (#10400234) Homepage
      All markets do work that way, it's just a matter of perspective. Markets don't naturally create a welfare state, for example.

      It's kind of like gravity, you may not like it all the time, but it is a consistent phenomenon.

      p.s. Markets are not a perfect way of allocating resources and capital, they are only the best way yet discovered by mankind.
    • I'm not so sure how free this competition is. AT&T presumably has other, profitable lines of business so they could afford to cut prices below costs to eliminate competition. However, since they're still $5 more than Vonage, you can't call this predatory pricing. Price wars have a way of carrying momentum beyond just the equilibrium price of the free market (I know, that's a highly theoretical concept and I have no idea what the equilibrium price might be for this service). Still, price wars often resul
  • by metamatic ( 202216 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:25PM (#10399976) Homepage Journal
    The problem I have with my phone service is that the fixed per-month charge is about 5x what I pay for the actual calls I make.

    I'd much rather have more expensive calls, and a lower per-month fee. I have no trouble with paying 5 cents a minute to make a call; it's paying $25+ a month for no calls that pisses me off.
    • by DrZaius ( 6588 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:27PM (#10399990) Homepage
      You're probably in the minority. My guess is that most people would prefer to have lower per minute rates than monthly rates.

      I supposed the ideal would be having different packages -- the more you pay flat, the less you pay per minute..
      • "You're probably in the minority." Actually, the very fact that so few have moved to VoIP is a strong sign that this "minority" is pretty big.

        Most people go with POTS because for most the service is cheaper. Think about the projected market for VoIP, it's mostly cable internet users. For these users a budget VoIP service would be optimal, especially considering all the *cough* red tape *cough* taxes on POTS administered by the FCC.
    • Vonage has a plan [] that gives you 500 minutes for $14.99 per month.
    • Imagine if we only had to pay $50 or $60 for a phone, internet, and cable combination service. That would be great. But I'm sure we would need more than the 1 local cable company we currently have in most areas to do this. The government should buy or seize (since cable companies have probably made back their investment in profits already) the broadband infrastructure or force the sharing of the infrastructure (as it has been with phone lines) to open up the markets to more providers. Then we could have 20
    • Then switch to a VoIP provider with that pricing model. Like VoicePulse Connect

      US Per Minute Rate:
      2.95 / minute

      If you want an Incoming phone number tied to your VoIP line:
      Incoming phone numbers:
      $7.99 / month (each)

      Incoming rate:
      0 / minute

      If you don't have an incoming phone number, no monthly fees, only usage fees.

      There are other that offer this also, like:
    • by extremescholar ( 714216 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:10PM (#10400304)
      How about setting up your own Asterisk [] server (yes, it's Linux, but it works, get over it). Then you can use VoicePulse Connect! [] to get a cheap rate for an incoming line.
    • "I'd much rather have more expensive calls, and a lower per-month fee. I have no trouble with paying 5 cents a minute to make a call; it's paying $25+ a month for no calls that pisses me off."

      I use ''. I pay $8.95/month + 3.5c per minute.

      This $8.95 includes:
      a pots-number in the city I choose
      unlimited incoming calls
      voice-mail (that I can listen to on my mac)

      Call quality is generally good, once in a while some latency is noticable. There is no 911 service that I'm aware of - it w
    • Most VOIP providers have lower priced plans, if you don't need a massive number of minutes.

      For instance, VoiceEclipse has a $12.95 Plan [] for 500 minutes. Additional minutes are still only 3.5 cents per minute.

      This is the plan I've got at home. Cut my bill from SBC in half.

    • I'd rather have one of these:

      - A really low per-minute rate.
      - A really low per-minute rate with a minimum charge for a (rather small) number of minutes (to cover connect costs).
      - A small be-connected charge plus a really low per-minute rate.
      - Any of the above with a per-minute rate that starts really low and then drops still further with large volume usage.

      These plans with a big prepaid lump followed by a larger per-minute rate for overages, or a big prepaid flat-rate lump, are nuts. They don't t
    • Lingo offers $7.95/m plus $0.03/m US [] (thanks aacool []). Calls to other Lingo customers are free. Seems like this should cost you under $9/m.
    • That's because the main cost in making calls is the billing. Here in Australia, the incumbent telco Telstra has been rising monthly line 'rental' charges from about $15/month a few years ago to about $30/month now. At the same time, the cost of making a call has dropped, and continues to do so.

      This is because packet-switched networks are cheap. It costs too much to try and meter and bill the data (though Telstra persists) so now we're seeing a move towards a monthly access/subscription charge to use the n
  • I'm not sure i'm the majority, but I'm really only going to care when they're making these services available in a handset that works not just inside my home, but outside in the rest of the world too. Fancy home calling services are nice and all, but I'm frankly not there that often, I need these fancy services (and higher calling quality) on the phone that sits on my hip all day wherever I go.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    $25/mo? Lets see Walmart offer VoIP.. I'm sure they could make it go lower.. then we'd really see the masses come... Heck, why not have Walmart take over the world? They might be able to lower the price of earth.
  • by Flizesh ( 775141 )
    Never see a price war with broadband.. esp. recently. Is it because of the monopolies had by Time Warner and other giants? Last sign of competition i've personally seen was TWC increasing from 2mpbs to 3 one year ago.
    • The infrastructure costs for broadband service require real money. While the VOIP services take server space and equipment to handoff to conventional switches (Do they actually drop gear in every NPA???), chances are the costs are no where near that of maintaining a metropolitan coax cable network (cablemodems) or paying the local telco to rack out DSLAMS (DSL).

      If it follows web hosting, maybe phone service will go down to $3/month? I totally don't get that, for $3 a month I wouldn't answer someone's pr
  • by toupsie ( 88295 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:28PM (#10400002) Homepage
    How is the quality of the VOIP services? Are there delays? Dropouts? Access to local 911? What happens when the power goes out in my house?
    • I've been using Vonage for over a year now, and it's excellent... no loss in quality, 911 works etc.etc...

      I have my cable modem and vonage box on a cheap UPS in case of power loss. Never seen it kick in though.
    • I've had Vonage for a little more than a year. In that time there have been -reported- outages -- none of which affected me. My phone has had dialtone every time I've picked it up and I've had to do basically nothing special to get it working. My service even worked during the Aug 2003 blackout in NYC -- had my Vonage box and cablemodem on a UPS and everything worked fine. The one time I've had occasion to dial 911 was at 5 in the morning when someone attempted to break into my apartment when I was in it a
    • How is the quality of the VOIP services?

      They're as good as POTS. In some cases the signal is louder.

      Are there delays? Dropouts?

      I don't notice any.

      Access to local 911?

      Nope. But a gun is faster way of handling most emergencies.

      What happens when the power goes out in my house?

      Celebrate! You have a great excuse for not picking up the phone when someone tries to call.

    • I've had Vonage for 2 months. On and off (mostly off) echo problems. No dropouts. No delays. Haven't had a chance to call 911, but set it up to transmit my address to 911 operators. When power goes out, I'm screwed. Then again, my only phone is a cordless, so I'd be screwed anyway. You can always get a UPS, but I don't know how long you have power through those (will they work in multi-day outages, like in Florida?)
      • If you're on cable or DSL, a small UPS would probably power the 'modem' for days. The problem is, at least for me, if it's an area outage and not just a power outage on my block, RoadRunner's network equipment goes dead. They apparently have no UPS capabilities on their neighborhood equipment. Even though I've had power to my local net, my internet access dies.

        So in a situation like Florida, it wouldn't even help to have a generator. Granted, getting hit by three hurricanes probably takes out the POTS an
    • by CoreDump ( 1715 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:30PM (#10400432) Homepage Journal
      Quality? Better than cell-phone in most cases.

      Delays? Not really.

      Dropouts? I get dropped more often by my cell provider than my VOIP provider. And yes, this includes standing still while on cell and having call dropped.

      911? The industry is still figuring out how to support this properly. Some carriers sort of fake it today, but nobody really supports it "natively". This should change in the next 6 months as the 911 standard/method for VOIP carriers is being finalized in the next few months.

      Power? I've got my cable modem and VOIP adapter on a UPS, so not much happens to me. Assuming that your DSL/Cable is still up in a power outage of course. If your net connection goes down, your phone goes down, might be power, might be your provider, might be the lawnmower.

    • Vonage does support 911 - but you have to manually update your current address since the system cannot track your location. Instead, they look it up (automated, obviously) when the call comes through. If you do not update, then you'll have a problem, but otherwise, its transparent.
    • My replies, possibly redundant.

      How is the quality of the VOIP services?: Pretty good... sometimes there's some complaints on the other end, and it is half-duplex, which means if you're not saying anything the person on the other end hears nothing, as opposed to just a soft hiss. Vonage had a pretty serious problem the other day which wasn't fixed until the end of the business day. Not good for any critical work.

      Are there delays?: None in calls. The delay is the three days it took me to set up my Vonage
  • by Arcanix ( 140337 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:29PM (#10400009)
    Personally, I'm against all this competition.

    What is clearly needed here is for the government to step in and start dividing up different areas of the country and assigning monopolies to the various telecom companies. I think we can all attest to the wonderful customer service and prices that a government sanctioned localized monopoly provides.
    • I think we can all attest to the wonderful customer service and prices that a government sanctioned localized monopoly provides.

      In cases where monopolies naturally occur, a government monopoly is as good as it gets.

      Energy deregulation was supposed to lower bills by adding competition to the equation. If you lived in California, prices skyrocketed due to the fact many energy producers (see Enron) were keeping production off-line in order to artifically inflate prices.

      In cases like these, I like my gover
      • Energy deregulation was supposed to lower bills by adding competition to the equation. If you lived in California, prices skyrocketed due to the fact many energy producers (see Enron) were keeping production off-line in order to artifically inflate prices.

        Nonsense. Prices skyrocketed primarily because it was a weird parody of a market rather than the real thing. Companies were forbidden by law to make any long-term contracts; they had to buy all power in a short-term spot market. Which naturally meant we

  • Vonage rocks (Score:5, Informative)

    by Reality Master 101 ( 179095 ) <RealityMaster101 AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:30PM (#10400021) Homepage Journal
    I'm signed up for the 500 anytime minute Vonage plan for $14.95 []. I've been extremely impressed with the service so far. They sent out the box right away, I plugged it into my network, and it "just worked". The online control panel is really slick, too. Very well designed, all the options right there, including listening to voicemail.

    Even transferring my phone number was painless. I just faxed them a phone bill and they took care of the rest.

    I was a little concerned with "voice lag", where you get that delay effect, but so far it's been unnoticeable. (but I also have a four megabit cable modem).

    In short, Vonage has rocked so far. I had my doubts about VoIP, but no doubts any longer.

    • by davemabe ( 105354 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:15PM (#10400341) Homepage
      I've recently switched from Vonage to AT&T. The call quality on Vonage was not very good. There is often a nagging local echo and there were several times that I had to reboot the telephone adapter to get it to function. This was unacceptable. Everything about AT&T's service has been better so far: call quality, customer service (much lower hold times!), and more features (locate me!).

      Also, AT&T's telephone adapter sits on the internet side of your home network - this allows the device to perform QoS functions by prioritizing the voice packets. Vonage's device sits behind your router and therefore can't do anything about a busy connection. There will inevitably be dropped calls if you use your internet connection heavily while on the phone.

      Dave []
      • Also, AT&T's telephone adapter sits on the internet side of your home network - this allows the device to perform QoS functions by prioritizing the voice packets. Vonage's device sits behind your router and therefore can't do anything about a busy connection. There will inevitably be dropped calls if you use your internet connection heavily while on the phone

        The new vonage connectors use the motorola that does the same thing.
      • Why would you want to put the telephone adapter on the internet side? The newer routers (including the fabulous WRT54G) can already do QoS, and probably a better job at that.

        Also, you can use just about any adapter on the market with either VOIP provider, in either configuration (with a little work). I have the Vonage adapter on the router (with QoS) side of the network and have had no quality issues.

      • Vonage's hardware can sit in front or behind your router. It all has to do with how you configured it.

        That being said, it's not 100% service. But it's a lot, a lot less frustrating than using a cellphone.
    • I have had the exact same experience. I'm saving $35 a month and getting more features. Plus international calls (the only ones I end up actually paying for) are super cheap.
  • by genericacct ( 692294 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:30PM (#10400023)
    I realize Americans have the all-you-can-eat mentality more so than the rest of the world, but is an unlimited domestic long-distance plan really the only way they can compete? I don't make enough long distance calls to justify that much for land-line voice service, and I have broadband. I suppose it's cheaper than a POTS line plus unlimited long distance, but of the people with broadband, I don't see a huge market to compete within. Please enlighen me if this is really a fast-growing market segment, because I just don't see it.
    • Well on a personal level, I make lots of calls to New York and Chicago, and on a business level, I make nearly all my calls to New York, Chicago, Philly, Miami, etc.

      It would be great for me if they just integrated it into my cell phone that I have to pay nearly a hundred bucks a month to use.
    • I don't make enough long distance calls

      "Your ISP called, they said you owe them $3000 in long distance internet access for September. They rattled off a huge list of out-of-town websites."

      When you're calling over the internet, is there such a thing as long distance anymore?
    • I don't make a lot of long distance calls (practically none) but as of late I've been talking more and more locally. I don't have a land line and only use my cellphone, which chews up minutes.

      It's to the point now that I have to either increase my cell phone minutes, or get some form of landline (POTS or VoIP). It's looking heavily like that option is going to be VoIP since there's so many other advantages (extreme portability, blocking services, etc). VoIP is a bit cheaper than POTS, and I like not hav
    • The reason this is popular in America is because mobile phone rates are so cheap and frequently include free long distance. That's why Americans don't use SMS. If I wasn't doing lots of calling, I wouldn't be interested in flat-rate VOIP; I'd just use my cell phone.
    • OK I have Vonage's middle plan unlimted regional calling 25 bucks a month or some such. My Local telco charged me 70 something for less features (12 bucks a month for caller ID with name etc etc etc) To add insult to injury because of how the zone local calls calling somebody 2 towns away is long distance but only a 5 minute drive because they sliced the state up in to narrow slivers (CT) of local calling and those slivers are opposite of the major highways meaning people dont travel much in those directi
  • by kasek ( 514492 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:33PM (#10400048)
    I have considered vonage, because of the low international rates, but I don't want to dedicate a certain portion of my bandwidth for my telephone service. My upstream is hosed enough as it is, let alone dedicating part of it to phone use.

    I would love to see a drop in prices for my cable modem service however. Since i got a cable modem 4 years ago, my bill has gone up 5 bucks. Meanwhile, new subscribers get their first 6 months at 29.95. After that, if they call to cancel, they are given another 6 months at 29.95 (I know this for fact, my dad called to cancel his account, and they offered him this deal).

    Meanwhile, a 4+ year subscriber like myself calls, and says they are thinking of switching to Earthlink from Roadrunner, since it is 3 bucks cheaper a month, and they give 6 months at 29.95, they do nothing to try and keep me as a customer.

    Of course they don't tell you that it is essentially the same service, since Earthlink goes through the Time Warner lines. So techinically they are not losing the customer. Which begs the question, how can Earthlink charge less per month?

    On top of which, Comcast and Time Warner are working on a coop bid for the remains of adelphia, which will only damage competition even further in the cable industry. *sigh*

    sorry for the mostly off topic rant, but it bugs me to see services like this that can slash prices left and right in the name of competition, and the cable companies are still firm in their prices.
  • by sisukapalli1 ( 471175 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:34PM (#10400060)
    I have a plan with vonage that was 25 bucks when the premium plan was 35. The premium plan fell from 35 to 30 to now 25, but my plan has stayed at the same level at 25 bucks. It is an unlimited local plus 500 national minutes free. The remaining option is a basic 500 minutes, which was at 15, and still is at 15.

    For some reason, Vonage doesn't want to cut the price on the basic and intermediate plans :(

    • Your intermediate plan didn't fall in price because they upgraded your features to the premium level.

      Why aren't you paying $25 for the premium plan?
      • It hasn't changed to $25 for the premium plan till today. They still say $29 on their web site. Even $4 is a waste of money for me because most of my calls are local/regional, and most of the long distance calls are on the cell phone.

        I'd save whatever money they drop on the intermediate plan. The main difference between that and the premium plan is the "allowed minutes".

  • Thumbs Up for Vonage (Score:3, Informative)

    by Omega1045 ( 584264 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:38PM (#10400091)
    I just got about 2 months ago for their $15/month plan (500 minutes plus $0.039 for overage minutes). I really like the service. I had a very small issue with installation and the tech support was very helpful. Pretty much no brainer to get running with my wireless router and cable modem. The sound quality is IMHO better than any traditional landline I have had. I would recommended them to anyone.
  • by Vellmont ( 569020 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:39PM (#10400098) Homepage
    for the first 6 months, $34.99 thereafter. Thanks slashdot submitter for that fully objective and accurate portrayal of pricing.
  • I like price wars! (Score:5, Informative)

    by ChiralSoftware ( 743411 ) <> on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:43PM (#10400125) Homepage

    I'm basically happy with my Vonage service. Only a few minor complaints:

    • I can't listen to my favorite Internet stations while I'm making a call. Ok, this has nothing to do with Vonage; I just need a faster DSL connection.
    • I can't seem to find a client for it that runs on Linux so I can connect straight from my computer or laptop, without having to use any of their hardware. I know it uses plain old SIP so this should be possible, and I have tried some of the web pages that have instructions on how to do this, but I can't get it to work. Skype has a Linux version ready for download and it works well. I wish Vonage had the same level of Linux support.
    • I wish it had better security. I think it uses plain old unencrypted SIP. It should be encrypted at the IP layer. Eventually we need to have end-to-end voice encryption for call security. Again, Skype already has this, albeit without published sourcecode.

    If Skype had a service that gives me a phone number and lets me receive calls I might switch to that. I also think that Skype has better sound quality, in my experience.

  • know what's funny (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Skadet ( 528657 )
    know what's funny? maybe 5 years ago I used VoIP, 'cept through your soundcard... and you could call actual phone numbers. (this was in the day before free long distance was a staple in the cell phone community).

    The funny part?

    It was free.
    • I remember this as well and loved it. You could even have a local area number for a lot of cities. I had a local boston number for my girlfriend at the time to call me in NY before I moved there, and she had a local NY number so I could call her there. Very cool stuff. Free long distance, anonymous information and the best part?? 5 years ago, this stuff was only 1/2 second of lag!

      I miss the good ol days sometimes.
    • Those were the .com glory days . . . when companies didn't have to actually make money to be perceived as successful . . . just a lot of users.

      Dialpad [] is still around . . . but it costs money now . . .

  • This makes the third time in the last 2 years that Vonage has dropped their rates by $5 a month. We signed up at $40 a month, and it was a good deal then. At $25 a month it's pretty amazing.

    Quality is good. You do have to keep an eye on what your upstream bandwidth is (we're at 128 kbps, and given that that's not guaranteed, I think we're pushing it a little at times), but a QoS router will take care of that nicely.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I don't see how charging $25 per month for "phone" service can be justified much longer. You are just sending and receiving data packets over your broadband connection, which is already paid for. If you consider a phone number is a lot like a IM ID name or a email address, what's the real difference between your phone ringing and getting a IM message window popping up? One costs you $25 per month and the other lets you talk for free. Why don't we just make things that look just like a phone, ring when y
    • I am a vonage user. Most of my friends, family, coworkers, businesses I deal with etc.. are not uber geeks and do not wish to be forced to communicate with me in some strange and unusual way (IM, computer phones,proprietary sip services etc.) With vonage they pick up their phone, dial my number and we communicate. Anyone out there on traditional phone lines can reach me without any inconvienience to them. And it costs me very little compared to the same service from those traditional phone lines. You don
      • So do you have 15 ATAs lined up in a row, with analog patch cords to your PBX, or does Vonage have a real business service that they don't advertise? (say, SIP or IAX directly to a VoIP PBX?)

        I ask because I'm about to build an Asterisk box, and I really want 4 trunks and a dozen DIDs for a small office, delivered over IP.

  • HA HA! HA HA HEH! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by techsoldaten ( 309296 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @07:57PM (#10400223) Journal
    When I signed up for Vonage, it cost me $40 a month which was a huge savings off the $60 a month I was paying for traditional service.

    Now the price is going down to $25 a month? This is amazing. I was briefly considering building my own VoIP system [], this news makes it not the worth the trouble to go out and buy the parts I would need.

    Now I have [] time [] to [] focus [] on [] all [] the [] other [] projects [] I've [] been [] thinking [] about [].


  • There are now almost 1 million Americans subscribing to VOIP services on their broadband lines and Vonage has 200 000 subscribers []. They say by 2008 the number will be 17.5 mln.

  • (Pre-rave disclaimer, I'm unafilliated with Vonage except as a customer.)

    I set up Vonage for our company - we're running 4 lines over a 5Mbps DSL with only occasional stuttering problems.

    But the real benefit comes from the fact that although we are a small company, we have offices in five countries in Europe which we speak to on a daily basis. So, we signed up with Vonage for five new lines each tied to a New York number, then when we received the adapters we turned them right around and shipped them to t

  • I've had VoIP long dist for well over a year now through a small company based in Portland, Oregon. But for the most part all the plans are targeted at commercial customers.

    Do you know why the Big Boys don't want to offer VoIP to residential customers? Because residential customers have no pull, we can't really pick and choose and tell our providers to hit the road, we are a Cash Cow stranded in their coporate corral. Big Biz customers CAN and DO dictate what they are willing to pay. Once again, Joe Blow

  • Analysts say the price cuts show the VoIP market is not only competitive, but it's serious. []
  • by Grue ( 3391 ) * on Thursday September 30, 2004 @08:45PM (#10400523) Homepage
    VoicePulse [] has had prices that low for a while, and they allow you to setup your own VoIP reseller type service, VoicePulse Connect []. It works great with Asterisk, which they push as a solution. Very geek friendly.

  • Everyone is missing the forest for the trees on this one. We already pay a fee to connect a device in our homes to a network around the world.

    $25/month is $25/month too much for VoIP (when you already have a cable modem).

    What is it that we want to pay for exactly? Is it that we want to rent the VoIP hardware phone? Are we insecure putting our voicemail on our PCs at home instead of a SAN at some over-hyped corp?

    Stop, think, repost.
    • What you are paying for is the cost to terminate the call to POTS (Plain Old Telephone System) lines. You may not realize this, but everytime a call terminates to a POTS line, the long distance carrier must pay a fee to the local carrier that operatates the POTS line. So what you are paying for is the service of integrating the IP network with the POTS network. by the way 24.95 a month is the target price for USA Datanet's [] VoIP service. But um, I'm not supposed to know that.
    • I paid $25 to get a box that would work []. I don't have time to fiddle with settings, etc. I ended up wasting a good amount of time after all was said and done, so maybe I should've tried it myself. Only question is, if I don't have Vonage, what number do I give to people?
  • I had Vonage for about a year and thought it was great, especially taking a home number with me into hotels that had free high-speed internet. Then I moved to another city where local phone service was included with high-speed internet in my rent, so there was no point in keeping it.

    But now I travel a lot, and it would be convenient to have a VoIP service with a European POTS phone number. Does anyone in the /. crowd know of a VoIP service that provides European numbers?
  • I've got Vonage, but since I'm on DSL, I'm paying for a phone number anyway, and with the amount of calls I make Skype is a much better deal.
    Now if only I could get some hardware (like my vonage/cisco ATA) which would do Skype instead of vonage....
  • I can find a provider that *officially supports*:

    - faxing - No efax for me, thanks!
    - Brinks security system - keep the bad guys away!
    - local number - I don't mind a number within my area code, just don't only give me one that's 60 miles away. Now all my local calls have LD calls to make...

  • I use [] and pay 2.5 cents a minute within the USA. I pay that same rate for calls to China.

    That means that for your "competitive" $25 a month, I could make over 16 and a half hours of calls (to just about anywhere in the world... from any phone... at any time of day... on a regular, echo free phone line no less... and no I don't have to enter a bulky code every time I call... calls from my home automatically bypass the need for a code).

    None of the options presented here are that cheap and con

    • Oddly enough...

      With Vonage I don't pay for local calls and long distance and that includes calls to Canada! I'll take unlimited to x.x/minute anyday. I never use a code aside from 1+AreaCode and my phone switch is my home phone company allowing me to take "local" calls from my broadband connection at home or from a hotel with broadband in Italy. I also use the options for virtual area codes and elminated large chunks out of the phone bill for my family. All these benefits PLUS the packages you pay out
  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:52PM (#10401103) Journal
    I use Packet 8 communications at $19.95 with no problem. Since it's cheaper than either Vonage or AT&T why was it not mentioned?
  • by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Thursday September 30, 2004 @10:56PM (#10401121)
    Recently I was switched over to working almost full-time from home. I can easily be on the phone 500 minutes in one day, so only unlimited service would really do. Here's my experience, abridged:

    • Set up with Vonage. I decide on them because they are the biggest and well-known. I only have a couple days to research, so I order the damn thing. I get to pick a number which is supposedly in a certain town here but I don't recognize the exchange.
    • Installation. It comes in the mail a couple of days later. I set up and *bingo*, it just... doesn't work. The next day I figured out the phone was plugged into "Line 2"... Who puts "Line 2" on the left hand side of "Line 1"? Doesn't make sense. My mistake.
    • So now it works. Sort of. The router is still not part of the equation. The hardware is an awful router, so I eventually decide to put it behind the router. Forward the right ports, etc... Bingo. Works perfectly.
    • No wait, it doesn't work. What I didn't mention was that a large part of my job has to do with faxing. Well, the POTS fax protocol used (excuse my butchering of telephony terms) doesn't play nice with VOIP. I can get faxes fine but I can barely send them. Everything drops out. No matter where. This will not do.
    • A long difficult period. I contact Vonage tech support for help and no matter what I say they put me on L1 where they check to see what version of Windows do I have and do I have the router set up right etc. etc. eventhough my phone calls work just fine!!! Argh. Over the next week or so I literally spend 20+ hours researching this issue.
    • Finally, an agreement. I turn down the send speed of my high-speed fax, I do a bunch of hardware and software tweaks, and now about 70% of all faxes work. Not a terribly high ratio, but I've learned to rely on other forms of sending documentation now.
    • Over time. My only major complaints is the complete lack of support for faxes. VOIP natively is not good at handling faxes. If you ever really really need to send a fax, VOIP is not for you. Call quality was perfect except in one major teleconference call, and there were no outages until last week when outgoing calls where butchered for the entire day.

      Overall, I'd give it a B+. I've probably saved $100 or so over the past couple of months, at the expense of a really bad headache. Still, if I ever go anywhere I like to know I can take my Vonage box with me and have my number be there.

Kill Ugly Processor Architectures - Karl Lehenbauer