I’m debating trying VoIP phone service.

There’s been a few articles I’ve read recently that have me intrigued at the possibility of switching my traditional phone service to one of the various VoIP services being offered. PC Magazine had an article comparing Vonage, AT&T CallVantage and VoicePulse on price, quality, and extras and declared that VoIP is “finally worth a look.” Of the three they said that AT&T’s offering had the best call quality, but was also the most expensive at $34.99 a month so when I saw today that AT&T is cutting their rate to $29.99 a month I was once again pondering the possibility.

Currently we’re using MCI’s The Neighborhood for our phone service and we’re pretty happy with it overall. When we first signed up it was $64.99 or so for the plan that allowed unlimited local, local-toll, and long distance calls to anyone regardless of whether or not they were an MCI customer and with taxes it’s closer to $75 a month. We’re pretty happy with it seeing as our phone bills prior to that were easily double that amount due to the fact that all our relatives (whom we call most often) are all long-distance from us. The service has been fine and the monthly bill consistent so the only reason I have to consider switching would be price. Checking their site I notice that they’re currently advertising this same service for $49.99 a month and I’m not sure if this lower price has been applied to my bill or not (I’m assuming not) so I’ll have to check and see if I can get the lower price.

Of course the other option would be to go with some form of cellphone plan. We used to have cellphones, but the expense of maintaining service combined with our general lack of need for it caused us to drop them over a year and a half ago. With Courtney getting older and spending more time away from home with friends the possibility of signing up for one of the family plans offered these days is more attractive, but I don’t like having to worry about how many daytime minutes we’ve used and three of us on a single plan will chew them up pretty quickly if it’s our only phone service. There’s also the expense of buying the phones for all of us. The only reason I’d switch to VoIP would be to save money as it would cost me nothing to make the switch and cut my bill in the process whereas switching to cellphones would probably require an expense and wouldn’t necessarily be all that cheaper than what I’ve got through MCI right now.  Another plus in favor of cellphones, though, would be not having to worry about not having phone service if the power or my broadband connection goes down for some reason.

Decisions, decisions. So if any of you folks are currently using VoIP—especially if you’re using AT&T’s offering—let me know what you think of it in the comments. Or if you know of a ridiculously good deal on a family cellphone plan that would actually save us some money, let me know about that as well.

4 thoughts on “I’m debating trying VoIP phone service.

  1. A lot of the cell providers have “group” plans that allow you to call numbers on the same account without chewing into your minutes. 

    Verizon Wireless is advertising the “IN” plan like crazy.  I havn’t actually looked at it, but I believe you can call ALL VZW customers without using your cell minutes.

    Plus, phones are basically free these days, and minutes come in giant slurpy sizes instead of the kiddie cup that they used to be.

  2. If you want to try VoIP; you might want to try out a program called Skype.  It’s a free download; they’ve got versions for Windows, MacOS & Linux.  If you have one of your other relatives install it; you could try it out to see how much you like it.  Plus calls to other Skype users are free though you can also buy minutes to call real phone#s.

    Note: I don’t work for them or anything of that sort, but I do think it’s a neat idea.

  3. I’m using Vonage.  I love it.  I have yet to use up my 500 min a month, and it’s about 4 to 5 cents a minute after that.

    I was already paying for broadband.  Getting rid of the phone line saved me about $60 dollars a month.

    I’m liking it.

  4. I’m using Vonage, and have been for some time.  If you like your BB connection, and think you can rely on it (you probably can for non-critical stuff) it’s great. 

    But if your BB connection goes down, so does your ability to call 911.  So I got a cell phone for %49.95/mo (64.xx after taxes), and my gross savings over my old setup with 2 lines of BB (unlimited) is about 120 a month (I use the phone a lot).

    I’d suggest it.  Skype is quite sweet (a so called “Softphone”, but I enjoy using my oh-so-corporate AT&T business phone with it (with headset!), and being able to switch to a mobile for those mid-conversation jaunts about the home or office.

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