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Vonage

Est. $12 per month and up
Reviewed
July 2013
by ConsumerSearch
Vonage

Pros
  • Reasonable price
  • More features than most
  • Unlimited virtual numbers
  • Some international calling included
Cons
  • Some complaints about technical support
  • Inconsistent call quality

Bottom line

Vonage (Est. $12 per month and up) is one of the most popular VoIP services with expert reviews. Reviews say call quality is often excellent, but less consistently so than with most cable VoIP. However, Vonage is less expensive, especially for international rates. Overall, reviewers say Vonage is the most full-featured VoIP provider, with many free and add-on features.

Performance

Highly recommended. Reviews say cable company VoIP usually provides the best call quality, but among traditional VoIP providers, Vonage earns more recommendations than any other. Reviewers say that, not only is call quality very good to excellent, it's consistent as well. However, a few user reviewers disagree, stating that the sound quality is often poor.

Plans and costs

Large variety of plans. Vonage is a subscription service: you get a free adapter that plugs your phone into your Internet connection, and then you pay a monthly fee for access. Vonage's basic plan (Est. $12 per month) gives 300 minutes, which include calls within the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada; the 700-minute plan to the same countries is $20 monthly.

The unlimited plan for calling these countries is $25 per month. The World plan (Est. $25 per month) includes unlimited calls to landline phones in more than 60 countries by landline and 10 countries on your mobile phone. The Vonage mobile app is available at no cost.

Features

Most features of any VoIP service. Reviewers say Vonage is the most full-featured VoIP provider, with many free and add-on features. You get a lot of extras with Vonage, including call waiting, caller ID, visual voice mail (messages are transcribed and sent to you by email or text) and even weather alerts. Your callers can also save money, since Vonage offers unlimited virtual phone numbers in most area codes -- plus local access numbers in many parts of the world.

This means friends and family can call you from distant areas without paying long-distance charges. In addition, you can adjust the bandwidth to use Vonage with a slower broadband connection.

Our Sources

1. ConsumerReports.org

This report focuses on telephone service providers, including VoIP providers. Vonage is among them, but you need a subscription to see the ratings chart.

Review: Phone Service Ratings, Editors of ConsumerReports.org, May 2011

2. PCMag.com

Vonage ranks fourth out of 10 VoIP services evaluated, based on a poll of nearly 20,000 readers. Optimum Online, Ooma and Verizon take the top spots.

Review: Readers' Choice Awards 2010: VoIP, Ben Gottesman, Sept. 7, 2010

3. PCMag.com

Jill Duffy gives Vonage a rating of 3.5 out of a possible 5 stars. She praises its excellent sound quality and range of features. However, she states that it costs more than some other VoIP services.

Review: Vonage (2011), Jill Duffy, June 29, 2011

4. TopTenReviews.com

Vonage comes in 6th position among the 22 VoIP providers rated here. Vonage receives full marks for service plans and features, but loses for ease of installation and help and support. However, the testing procedures of TopTenReviews aren't documented.

Review: Vonage, Editors of TopTenReviews.com, Not Dated

5. DSLReports.com

Vonage draws close to an 80 percent positive rating based on user reviews drawn over the previous six months. It gets its best feedback for call quality. All other factors -- installation, tech support, value, etc. -- rate lower.

Review: Vonage, Contributors to DSLReports.com, As of July 2013

6. About.com

Nadeem Unuth, About.com's guide to VoIP, chooses Vonage as his top VoIP pick. He says that it's equally strong in both marketing and technology, though reports that some users have encountered poor customer service.

Review: Vonage Review - VoIP Service Provider, Nadeem Unuth, Not dated

7. SpotCoolStuff.com

This review compares Vonage with two other popular VoIP services, Skype and magicJack -- based on tests of call quality, as well as other factors. Skype is recommended for its inexpensive international calls, but Vonage provides more consistently good call quality.

Review: MagicJack vs. Vonage vs. Skype, Editors of SpotCoolStuff.com, Feb. 6, 2009

8. The New York Times

This overview of long-distance calling options compares Vonage with Ooma, Skype and magicJack, but tests only the latter two services. Based on reputation and features, Vonage is judged a better choice.

Review: Talk Is Cheap, if You Ask, Eric A. Taub, April 29, 2009

9. WhichVoIP.com

More than 300 users review Vonage here, but at the time of our report, around 60 percent say they wouldn't recommend it to a friend. Complaints range from poor sound quality and dropped calls to unhelpful technical support and trouble canceling an account without extra fees.

Review: Vonage VoIP Review and Ratings, Contributors to WhichVoIP.com, As of July 2013

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