Choosing A VoIP Service Provider Is Not Easy
Many often ask me who is the top residential VoIP service provider. Although on the surface this is a simple question, the answer to it is dependant on many variables. Your calling habits, your location, and your budget, all need to be taken into account when you choose a residential VoIP service provider.
While i can’t answer those questions for you, I can offer advice, based on my experience and the experience of 5 friends over the past seven months, as to what companies are the top residential VoIP service providers. We tested each service provider as an average everyday consumer, and have provided a brief summary of each service’s performance, and have tried to rank them as best as possible.
It should be noted that many of the VoIP service providers are very similar and we have only choosen 10 of the most popular providers to review, so the overall customer experience and satisfaction of the reviewer took the most precident. This, unfortunately, is highly personal, so some of the rankings do come with personal reviewer biases.
The ranking of the service providers below, is based on the following factors:
- Service Plans
- Hardware Selection
- Call Quality/Reliability
- Customer Service/Support
- Overall Customer Experience and Satisfaction
Top 10 Residential VoIP Service Providers
- VoIP.com – $19.99 per month or $199.99 per year.
GS:VoIP.com’s unlimited plan allows for true unlimited monthly calling to the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Your VoIP adaptor is absolutely FREE. Call quality is superb and there was not a moment that their service had failed to connect or dropped a call. The sign-up process was easy, the installation process a breeze, and customer service (called to confirm order/shipping) was definitely friendly and informative.
- BroadVoice – $19.99 per month.
RT: Broadvoice’s $19.99 Unlimited World plan offers unlimited calling to the USA and 21 other countries. The pioneers of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), BroadVoice allows customers to choose between bringing their own SIP based device or from one of their three pre-programmed devices, allowing for hardware that meets a users specific needs. Call quality and service reliability was above average, but there were a few momentary outages. Customer service and support, when calling in about momentary outages, was able to effectively communicate the issue.
- Vonage – $24.99 per month, with one month FREE.
GS: Vonage, due to it’s size, gets alot of negative publicity, but in over seven months of service there has only been one issue with them. They offer a decent selection of hardware, I chose the cordless V-Tech phone, and their sign-up and account management process is simple and straight forward. There was one day while using Vonage, that I went almost a day without the ability to make a call. I did notice longer wait times when calling during peak hours, but their customer support was quick and concise once i got them on the phone.
- iConnectHere – $6.99 per month, plus per minute charge.
DS: iConnectHere is the perfect service for those who are making calls internationally. iConnectHere is unique in that it bills per minute, so you only pay for the minutes you use. Upon sign-up, you get $30 of calling credit, and a free Linksys PAP2 telephone adaptor. Customer service and support was excellent. Definitely in the top three.
- Skype – $68 per year.
GS: If there was more VoIP hardware available for Skype, that moved the service away from the desktop, it would be a shoe-in for number one. It is, by far the cheapest service out their. Call quality was excellent, and there has been only a few occassions when their has been connection issues. Customer service and technical support, especially via email is lacking. Price, ease of use, the fact that there is more to Skype than just voice, keeps it in the top 5.
- SunRocket – $199.95 per year.
RS: SunRocket is a very inviting service to sign-up for. Their process was simple, even for someone who is not that computer savvy. Their annual plan gave unlimited US, Canada, and Puerto Rico calling. Porting my number took a bit of time, but I do not think it was SunRockets fault. Customer service was friendly and tried to get me a realistic date for my number port. The cordless phone I got with my service was great. I never even noticed a different from my old telephone line.
- ViaTalk – $199.99 per year, one year free.
KF:ViaTalk offers a buy one year get one year free deal. Call quality and reliability was excellent. The sign-up process was painless and the VoIP adaptor arrived on-time. You can also bring your own device, which is nice if you are switching service providers, or really want a specific device.
- Inphonex – $24.99 per month.
MC:Inphonex is not a well known VoIP service provider, but they are excellent. $24.99 gets you unlimited US and Canada calling, but Inphonex offers 10 different service plans. Inphonex offers over 9 different pre-configure VoIP devices to use with the service. Customer service and support was average. It was tough to find a 800 number on their site, and email support was slow. Excellent service though, call quality was impressive.
- Packet8 – $19.99 per month or $199 per year.
RF: Packet 8′s $19.99 plan gives users unlimited calling to the US and Canada. Packet 8 service was not bad, but it was not great. Packet 8 does. however, offer a nice selection of VoIP hardware to use in conjunction with their service, so their is a device for everyone. Packet8′s customer service was excellent, especially when closing an account. No horror stories.
- Verizon VoiceWing – $24.95 per month.
RF: Verizon VoiceWing service did not meet my expectations. They only had one calling plan and it did not include unlimited calls to Canada. I had frequent problems with static and echo. Their customer support department was responsive, but there was nothing they could do to help. I eventually switched to Verizon DSL service, so the price dropped and made it worth keeping.
A Few Residential VoIP Buying Tips
As you may have been able to tell there is certainly a ton of similarities between each of the residential VoIP service providers above, so we have compiled a list of things to look for when shopping for residential VoIP service.
- Don’t Pay More Than $24.99 per month.
- Do Look For a Service With a Free Device.
- Watch out for Activation Fees.
- Wait For Special Promotions.
- Do Some Research On Others Experience With the Service Provider.
- Don’t be Afraid to Switch. We All Make Mistakes!.