VoIP Residential Comparison Guide: Evaluating Packet8, Lingo, and Vonage

 


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Voice over internet protocol [internet telephony] is a rapidly growing technological alternative to traditional land based residential phone systems. Instead of making calls through telephone lines, VoIP routes your calls over the internet by way of your cable or DSL provider. Notably, residential VoIP phone rates are cheaper by at least 50%, making VoIP an attractive option for many consumers. Today, three internet telephony companies are leading the way in signing up new customers – Packet8, Lingo, and Vonage – so let’s examine and compare their offers to find the VoIP plan that works best for you.

AT&T and the former Bell companies are in for the fight of their lives thanks to the growth of VoIP. Vonage is one of the better known providers with Lingo and Packet8 each making their presence known. For consumers just like you, there are great savings to be had; please read on for a comparison between the leading three providers.

Vonage – Quirky and unforgettable television commercials are one way Vonage [an abbreviation of Voice Over Net Age] tells the world about its services as the company is aggressive in signing up new customers. Vonage’s standard plan – Premium Unlimited – retails for $24.99 per month offering users an unlimited number of minutes to call anyone in the USA, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Calling features included with this plan are: call waiting, three-way calling, voice mail, call forwarding, call transfer, call return, and more. Vonage also offers a basic plan for $14.99 per month where all of the features mentioned are included except minutes are limited to 500 per month.

Lingo – Offering calls to the US, Canada and Western Europe as part of its standard $21.99 per month plan, Lingo is formidable competitor to Vonage. Every Vonage calling feature is matched by Lingo with a few extras thrown in including anonymous call rejection where you can automatically dump calls from people who are trying to hide their identity from you. If you want a basic plan, Lingo matches Vonage’s 500 minutes offer and even markets a thrifty, bare bones plan for Lingo-user to Lingo-user only calls at $7.95 per month.

Packet8 – Gaining steam in the VoIP market is Packet8, a company that offers a competitively priced plan for just $19.99, covering calls to all 50 states and Canada. Matching all of the calling features offered by Lingo and Vonage, Packet8 goes one step further: Sign up and pay for your service for one year in advance and the VoIP provider’s $19.99 Freedom Unlimited plan is just $199 per year. On top of that, Packet8 offers a rebate covering the cost of the quality Uniden IP phone with built-in router and expandable handsets if you go with their annual plan. Vonage and Lingo do not match Packet8’s special offer, therefore you will have to pay separately for the adapter and for a phone.

A couple of concerns have been raised over 911 access with VoIP plans. One concern has to do with power outages, while the second one concerns connectivity to a local 911 center.

With the first concern, if you have a power outage then VoIP will not work for you unless you have a generator in place as an electrical back up. To get around this limitation, many VoIP users simply use their cell phones to make emergency calls when needed.

With the second concern, the Federal Communications Commission {FCC} has put into place new requirements for the handling of 911 calls: all VoIP providers must now have the ability to route calls to a local emergency response center and provide the caller’s callback number and location to that center. This recently implemented requirement – known as enhanced 911 or e911 - has closed an important loophole in VoIP service, one that benefits VoIP users everywhere tremendously.

Clearly, if you want to save hundreds of dollars on internet phone service, then voip is a great alternative that you should explore. If you are looking for the best all around voip service , then Packet8 is something you should consider; and best of all, you will save a ton of money.

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