Residential and business solutions have started to merge over the last few years with many business features becoming standard issue with personal and residential service plans and Vonage is no exception to this trend. Vonage’s Personal VoIP plan allows for one home line (a high speed internet connection) an up to two Smartphone’s to be connected and this provides for greater flexibility of service as calls for the home number can be received on the go on your Smartphone. However, one of the major differentiators when comparing home or business VoIP service plans is price, so how does Vonage compare?
Vonage Price Plans
Vonage has several plans that cover both national and international services such as:
1. Vonage North America
This plan gets you unlimited calling to landlines and mobile phones using your home or mobile phone across the U.S. (including Puerto Rico), Canada and now Mexico is also included. The costs are $24.99 per month for a non-contract service or on special promotion at $9.99, a month for a full year with no activation charges and free shipping.
2. Vonage World
The Vonage international calling service provides unlimited talk to more than 60 countries. The Vonage World plan lets you make and receive calls on your home phone and from two additional smartphones using the Vonage mobile app. Prices for Vonage World start at $27.99 per month for a non-contract service or on special promotion at $9.99 per month for the first 6-months. However, there are some call restrictions as landline calls can be made to 60 countries, but mobile calls are restricted to only 10 countries.
3. US & Canada 400
This domestic service plan is aimed at the domestic market for calls within the US, Canada and Puerto Rica it comes as the name suggests with 400 free minutes. The costs are $12.99 a month on a one-year contract or a non-contract basis, both services plans will require you to play additional domestic taxes and fees, though activation and shipping comes free with a 12-month contract.
4. Vonage 3000 to Globe Philippines
This service includes everything in the North American & Canada and the Vonage World plans with an additional 3000 free minutes to Globe numbers in the Philippines. Therefore, if you make many calls to Globe numbers in the Philippines, then the extra $2 per month over the Vonage World service plan could save you a considerable sum each month. The prices for the Vonage 3000 plan are $29.99 per month for a non-contract service or as a special promotion at $9.99 for the first three months. However, the special promotion is only available with a one-year agreement. There are additional taxes and fees due on both contract and non-contract plans although both come with no activation or shipping charges.
For customers living outside the US they too can utilize the service by using their high-speed internet connection and call North American numbers and 60 other international numbers as if they were located in the US.
Other Vonage cost advantages are listed as being their low up-front charges, which are lower than their competitors due to there being no activation and shipping fees. Vonage say their low starting fees of around $10 compares favorably with AT&T an U-Verse Voice $99 activation fees or with Comcast’s $29.99 telephone number fee.
Additionally, Vonage claims further cost savings on International calls in comparison with their rivals. Vonage’s unlimited calls to 60 International destinations compares favorably with similar services from Time Warner, Verizon and Comcast with 1,000 (104 counties), 500 (119 countries) and 300 (101 countries) respectively.
When considering a VoIP phone for personal or small business use it is important to consider the range of features on offer. VoIP phones have considerably more features and options than standard telephones. Vonage Personal VoIP services come with many features as standard, such as the one home line and two Smartphone support. Having the ability of receiving and making calls using the Vonage number from your Smartphone is a very useful feature especially if you are using the Vonage telephone number for small business purposes. By using the Vonage number to run your home business you can effectively keep your business and personal numbers separate and your Smartphone numbers private whilst still utilizing the devices for business use.
However, Vonage offers a range of telephone number options, for instance, you may if you have a US or Canada landline number is able to use that for the Vonage service as it can be ported across. Otherwise, Vonage can offer toll free or virtual numbers in other areas so that customers or friends and family can call you cheaply on local rates.
Additional features that can be useful for business as well as personal use are:
- Vonage Voice Mail+ – which allows voice mail to be listened to or sent to email
- Enhanced call forwarding – this feature is configured online or by over the phone so calls can be quickly configured to be redirected to another number transparently to the caller.
- SimulRing – this feature allows up to five extensions, such as landlines, business desk phone or other Smartphone that do not have the mobile app, to be configured to be rang simultaneously when a call is received on the Vonage number.
- Call blocking – easily configure call blocking on any numbers
- Mobility – one way to be mobile is to use the Smartphone app another is to take the Vonage box with you on the road and just plug it into any high-speed internet link.
Vonage has many other standard features but we have covered the main ones useful for home business and personal use. However, features alone do not make a home or residential VoIP service suitable for home business, there has to be reliable and robust service and importantly good customer service should things go wrong.
With business as with residential VoIP services having a 24/7, customer service support is essential. With VoIP, though it is especially important to make sure that your high-speed internet connection is a dedicated link or that you know the kids aren’t eating p all the bandwidth. Poor internet and lack of bandwidth are the two VoIP killers so check these first before contacting customer support. Saying that, Vonage customer support is 24/7 and is accessible, online, through email and by phone.