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Vonage is Nice, but anything Cheaper?

Vonage is Nice, but anything Cheaper?

Old Dec 10, 10, 2:16 pm
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Vonage is Nice, but anything Cheaper?

I use Vonage for my home-office line. For those not familiar, Vonage provides a box that sits between a regular telephone and my network router. This box provides dial tone, and allows me to receive calls.

Drawbacks:
1. This only works when I have the little Vonage box. If I wanted to go on vacation but still use my number, I would need to take the box with me, AND have access to a router to plug into. If I am somewhere with only wireless access, like a hotel room, I cannot use my Vonage setup.
2. The price used to be below $30, but is now creeping towards $40 per month.

Because of the work I do, it is OK if I need my work computer to make calls. Is there an option for VOIP calling that could:
- use my laptop instead of a separate box
- that would allow me to send AND receive calls with a phone number I could give to my clients
- is cheaper than Vonage
- works even if I only have wireless access and cannot jack into a router

Bonus points if I can connect something that looks like a regular phone to my laptop - but a headset is acceptable.

Last edited by pittpanther; Dec 10, 10 at 2:24 pm
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Old Dec 10, 10, 2:22 pm
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Ooma?

If you have an iPhone, there is an Ooma app that allows you to call using your Ooma account/number. Useful in places where there is no AT&T signal (lots of the rural west/southwest still) but there is wifi.
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Old Dec 10, 10, 2:49 pm
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magicjack.

Magic Jack
USB plug in w/Reg Telephone connection.
$40 one time outlay, includes 1 yr free service. Then $20 a year after.
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Old Dec 10, 10, 3:01 pm
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Aren't there smartphone apps for vonage that allow you to use your account via wifi?
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Old Dec 10, 10, 3:08 pm
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Originally Posted by armattheus View Post
Aren't there smartphone apps for vonage that allow you to use your account via wifi?
I don't own a smartphone. Too expensive for me (meaning, I would rather spend that $150 per month elsewhere).
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Old Dec 10, 10, 3:11 pm
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Post

Originally Posted by pittpanther View Post
I use Vonage for my home-office line. For those not familiar, Vonage provides a box that sits between a regular telephone and my network router. This box provides dial tone, and allows me to receive calls.

Drawbacks:
1. This only works when I have the little Vonage box. If I wanted to go on vacation but still use my number, I would need to take the box with me, AND have access to a router to plug into. If I am somewhere with only wireless access, like a hotel room, I cannot use my Vonage setup.
2. The price used to be below $30, but is now creeping towards $40 per month.

Because of the work I do, it is OK if I need my work computer to make calls. Is there an option for VOIP calling that could:
- use my laptop instead of a separate box
- that would allow me to send AND receive calls with a phone number I could give to my clients
- is cheaper than Vonage
- works even if I only have wireless access and cannot jack into a router

Bonus points if I can connect something that looks like a regular phone to my laptop - but a headset is acceptable.
Have you looked at Skype with a Skype-In number? Not sure of the cost, but you can find that out at www.Skype.com. You can also get "normal" handsets that plug into a USB port. With Skyp-Out you can even dial like a normal phone.

Last edited by DisneyDude; Dec 10, 10 at 3:12 pm Reason: added info
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Old Dec 10, 10, 5:09 pm
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Originally Posted by pittpanther View Post
I don't own a smartphone. Too expensive for me (meaning, I would rather spend that $150 per month elsewhere).
Understandable. Alternative to that would begetting a wifi enabled IPod. Beyond that Ooma is similar and Magic jack would be the cheapest but you do have to have direct computer to internet access and a phone to plug into it.
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Old Dec 10, 10, 6:30 pm
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Originally Posted by DisneyDude View Post
Have you looked at Skype with a Skype-In number? Not sure of the cost, but you can find that out at www.Skype.com. You can also get "normal" handsets that plug into a USB port. With Skyp-Out you can even dial like a normal phone.
Looks like Skype with an incoming number (called Skype Online these days) fits my bill.

But I just found out that my company does not allow download or use of any VOIP app on their laptops - no Skype, no Magicjack. They say that these companies make you sign an agreement that is too restrictive for business use (Skype ends up "owning" the data/information that goes through their servers).

So in lieu of a cheaper option, I will continue expensing Vonage. And when I am travelling I will use my cell phone and charge the company when I have minutes overages (no smartphone, nor do I have unlimited minutes). Their loss.
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Old Dec 11, 10, 6:55 am
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Originally Posted by pittpanther View Post

Drawbacks:
1. This only works when I have the little Vonage box. If I wanted to go on vacation but still use my number, I would need to take the box with me, AND have access to a router to plug into. If I am somewhere with only wireless access, like a hotel room, I cannot use my Vonage setup.
You can configure your vonage account through the dashboard to simultaneously ring on your cell (or other phone). You'll still get the caller id and such but of course will burn through potentially more expensive cell phone minutes.

Skype is an option, has its drawbacks with having to be on.
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Old Dec 11, 10, 8:11 am
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Originally Posted by pittpanther View Post
...Vonage provides a box that sits between a regular telephone and my network router.
This is the primary reason I still use Vonage even though, like the OP the costs is creeping up. My two lines plus the Vonage Companion is running ~ $60 per month. I really like having the standard phone to use with my headset or in speakerphone mode.

Ooma isn't cheap to get started and is essentially the same setup as Vonage. The drawback for me is that Ooma charges for all international calls whereas they are included for many countries on Vonage. All the countries I call regularly are included.

For the OP, Vonage Companion would allow you to use your laptop to make and receive calls while on the road. You would need to upgrade to a plan that includes Vonage Companion.
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Old Dec 11, 10, 8:59 am
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Originally Posted by JeffS View Post
...Ooma isn't cheap to get started....
You can find one of the original hubs on CL, eBay, etc., for ~$100.

Even thought I spent $200 for a new one 15 months ago, after using it for 6 months I'd recovered my costs and every month thereafter saves the $35 that a landline would cost (and, yes, given some factors that I have no need to go into here, I need a "land"line)
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Old Dec 11, 10, 9:02 am
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Thumbs up

Originally Posted by pittpanther View Post
Looks like Skype with an incoming number (called Skype Online these days) fits my bill.

But I just found out that my company does not allow download or use of any VOIP app on their laptops - no Skype, no Magicjack. They say that these companies make you sign an agreement that is too restrictive for business use (Skype ends up "owning" the data/information that goes through their servers).

So in lieu of a cheaper option, I will continue expensing Vonage. And when I am travelling I will use my cell phone and charge the company when I have minutes overages (no smartphone, nor do I have unlimited minutes). Their loss.
I have had Skype for years now, and never signed anything. They have a $13.99 a month plan that gives 10,000 minutes a month. It is called world unlimited. Of course if you talk to skype to skype the call is free. The only country I have not used it in is UAE as it is blocked there. My cell phone has very cheep international calling from there.

I have never heard of skype owning the information going through their servers. That is a big thing they sell is file sharing. Where did you hear or read this? I would think that this is a business killer if true.
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Old Dec 11, 10, 11:10 am
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Take a look at Toktumi

Pittpanther - take a look at Toktumi. You can choose a number in your area or port a number in. Take a look at their Video on http://toktumi.com/ - they have been reviewed by many groups such as the NYTimes.

I like them for these reasons:
- I can access my toktumi number from anywhere in the world from any wired or wireless phone in the world (by calling the toktumi toll free number or 415 area code portal)
- I can place and receive calls for free from anywhere in the world by using a wireless hotspot with an iPod, iPhone, iPad, Mac, PC. For example I can make a call in a coffee shop in Turkey to my Aunt in California with my NY toktumi number.
- I can carry one phone and manage my second line (e.g. Toktumi) through it.
- I get phone menus, call presentation, voice mail management, if I choose to use them.
- I get unlimited texting with toktumi
- unlimited USA/Canada calling
- great sound quality
- all this for $14.95

I have had their service for almost a year and I am very happy with it.
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Old Dec 11, 10, 9:57 pm
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Why not Google voice? I work from home 2 days a week. I can make calls just by logging into the Google voice website. I enter a number into the website and it calls my home phone, which then rings to the call I was making.

I've been using is over 6 months and other than just a couple times, it has worked great. I dropped Vonage for this (free) option and it has worked great.
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Old Dec 12, 10, 9:21 am
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Originally Posted by jw713 View Post
Why not Google voice? I work from home 2 days a week. I can make calls just by logging into the Google voice website. I enter a number into the website and it calls my home phone, which then rings to the call I was making.

I've been using is over 6 months and other than just a couple times, it has worked great. I dropped Vonage for this (free) option and it has worked great.
And you receive calls how?
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