A few months ago I compared my three-year experience with Vonage to my 6 month experience with Skype. After my Skype phone died, I decided to try VOIPo, the new VOIP service from HostGator, and wanted to share my experience with them.
VOIPo customer service can't be beat. Though it's not available 24/7 (only 9-7 Central, M-F), they're really good. Minimal hold times, the reps are technically competent, and they speak to you without a script, just like you're a real person. The few times I spoke with Vonage customer service, they were always trying to sell me some additional feature that I didn't want.
The prices are pretty similar. I give VOIPo a slight edge here, but only a slight one. It takes a little work to cut thru all the verbiage to get to the real price of the service, but once you do, you find the following:
- VOIPo's introductory rate comes out to $11.25 a month, once you include the $36 annual taxes and fees, and assuming you buy a whole year of service at one time.
- VOIPo's standard rate comes out to $19.67 a month, again including the $36/year taxes/fees and the annual contract, though according to VOIPo existing customers can always take advantage of any special promotional pricing that's being offered. So if the $11.25 a month price is available, you can always buy another year (or more) at that price.
- Vonage's standard rate for its most popular plan with an annual contract (which they call Annual Prepay) is $239.99 a year (including all taxes and fees), which comes out to $20 a month, almost identical to VOIPo's standard annual price. Though Vonage publicizes this plan as costing $24.99 a month (with no annual contract), my experience with Vonage was that once taxes and fees were added in, that price was never less than $30 a month for me; if you get this plan with Vonage, I definitely recommend the Annual Prepay option.
When it comes to call quality, I found Vonage and VOIPo to be almost identical. Both provide high-quality sound, every bit as good as any standard landline. They also both have a nice online interface which you can use to check voicemail, set call forwarding, etc., though I found VOIPo's to be much simpler and easier to use.
Bottom line: I like VOIPo and plan to stick with it, though Vonage's features, quality, and prices are comparable, especially if you go with their Annual Prepay option.
I suspect at some point my wife and I will drop the landline altogether and just use our cell phones, but right now it's still handy to have a VOIP home phone line, especially since a) I work a lot from home and b) we have three teen/pre-teen sons and don't plan on getting cell phones for them.
Update (12/29/2011) - I'm still with VOIPo and I'm still happy with them. The price is still right, the call quality and online interface are still good, but mostly the customer service is outstanding. On three occasions over the past few years I've needed to contact VOIPo with an issue: one was an erroneous double-charge to my credit card, and the other two were technical problems in which my incoming phone calls were going straight to voicemail, even though my settings said to ring 6 times before going to voicemail. Each time the issue was resolved quickly and easily with a short (5 minutes or less) phone call.