Wednesday, July 8, 2009


The New Jersey based VoIP telephony company has expanded its services to Canada and the United Kingdom since its founding in 2001. Vonage’s claim of over 5 billion calls since then is not to be underestimated, succeeded only by Comcast. The company’s motto “Voice-Over-Net-AGE” is a combination of the acronym “VON” for Voice on the Net and “AGE” indicating the beginning of a new age in consumer telephone services.

The broadband provider has had its confrontations however. A lawsuit filed by Verizon in 2006 cost Vonage approximately $120 Million in damage payments in 2007. Not to get the company down, it was able to triple their customer base and reduce their churn rate since July 2008 and can now boast of over 900 Million US dollars revenue in 2008, over 2.6 million service lines and over 1600 employees in the US, Canada and Britain.

Formerly known as, initially founded in 1999 on Long Island, New York, Vonage’s steady growth and well-priced services can now offer unlimited local and long distance calling beginning at just $ 17.99 a month with no set-up fees and no equipment costs. International calling plans begin at $ 30.99 per month.

Provided that customers possess a high speed internet connection via cable or DSL and using the Vonage phone adapter, customers can use any phone they wish and are even permitted to choose any number in the country for use with their main telephone line. Regardless of their actual place of residence, users can choose for example, the area code of Dallas Texas even if they live in New York, New York. However, Vonage is not available in all area codes in the United States.

Another interesting feature is the mobility of the phone adapter. For example, an individual planning to live abroad for a longer period of time can take the adapter along and plug it into the local network (provided there are LAN plug-ins available) and thus receive from and place calls back home at possibly cheaper rates than the local providers can offer but with no further charges.

As with most VoIP telephone service providers, dialling 911 and other emergency numbers can be rather complicated and may not be possible as the Vonage 911 service operates very differently than the normal 911 dialling procedures. For more information on this, see

If the Vonage subscription is cancelled before the first year has expired, a cancellation fee of $ 39.99 will be charged and must be done via a toll-free number as it is not possible to cancel services online.

With a great value and very competitive pricing, Vonage offers package deals for every type of user, beginning with a 500 minute package for just $ 17.99 a month to a small business premium package for only $ 49.99 a month. The transparent and clearly represented website allows for a quick overview for the user to find just what they are looking for to best suit their needs and will most definitely serve to continuously increase the number of satisfied subscribers in the years to come.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

Vbuzzer from Softroute

A convenient and compact instant messenger from Softroute is its Vbuzzer, a VoIP and messaging software including PC-PC, Phone-to-PC VoIP telephony well as a paid PC-Phone service. Calls from Vbuzzer to Vbuzzer (PC-PC) users are always free, anywhere in the world. There is a charge however for those who place calls or “Buzz out” to non-members. The rates are for the most part affordable, beginning as low as 1 Cent / minute for internationally placed calls. A charge of $7.99 per month allows for unlimited calls in the USA and Canada or $ 5.49 a month for unlimited BuzzOuts within Canada alone.

The all-in-one messaging software also offers some small conveniences like Internet fax, RSS, video conferencing, integration of the MSN, Yahoo!, AIM and ICQ messengers, caller ID, voice mail, personalized greetings and ring tones. Video conferences and online meetings can also be easily organized directly through Vbuzzer’s interactive and secure web host.

An interesting feature for Vbuzzer’s Internet fax is the assigning of a fax number to receive faxes directly through the messenger, thus enabling free faxing to any fax machine in the USA, Canada and China.

If you have an iPhone, Nokia E61, Nokia E51 or smart phone, low cost mobile VoIP calling is also made possible when configured accordingly and when using Windows Mobiles OS.

For small business usage, your existing PBX system can be configured to attain a full featured PBX at nearly no cost. Vbuzzer’s VoIP is also SIP compatible, enabling you to use your own VoIP device when combined with adaptors like the Linksys PAP2 or Cisco ATA for example.

Just one of many free instant messaging clients, Vbuzzer has never become very popular and is more widespread among users in Canada. But for those located there, it is possible to use Vbuzzer exclusively for all telephony needs, replacing the conventional landline services if desired. Another small bonus for users purchasing credits – secure credit card or PayPal payments through an encrypted online payment gateway.

Compact and easy to use, Vbuzzer does offer an alternative for those interested in a simple and clean interface with relatively good priced long distance and international VoIP telephony rates.

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Monday, March 16, 2009


Introduced in the Spring of 2008, the new VoIP call-by-call service from goober Networks, Inc. now offers services to simplify long distance or international calls. gooberCall promises to save up to 96% on international calls from just about anywhere. Especially interesting, is its use for cell phone owners where it is not required to change the calling plan, switch SIM cards or to undergo any other bothersome procedures.

For most modern cell and iPhone owners, a free software package is available for download. Once installed, callers can enjoy the comforts of gooberCall’s new SpeedDial function where calls can be placed with the push of a button and thus avoid the hassles of the usually cumbersome procedure of first entering the call-by-call provider’s number and then entering the recipients number. For those with Windows Mobile, gooberCall’s software automatically integrates itself into the existing address book.

For those with less modern cell phones, callers can benefit from gooberCall’s extremely low rates by dialing a pre-defined number (which of course can usually be set as a quick dial number on most cell phones too) without downloading any software.

For all users however, it is first required to register the phone at gooberCall. After registration, a text message will be sent to the user’s cell phone containing the code to download the software. A starting credit of $ 2.00 is rewarded to those registering for the first time. The account can be topped up at any time via PayPal or most major credit cards to avoid an abrupt interruption of the call in the case that there are not enough credits. If however, the credits have been used up in the middle of a conversation, a simple pressing of a button can top up the balance instantaneously.

With rates beginning at approximately 3 cents per minute, gooberCall’s service can provide an extremely cost effective alternative to most calling cards, and best of all, while underway from the users’ own cell or landline phone.

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Monday, March 2, 2009

ooma VoIP

Launched in 2007 in Palo Alto, California, the state-based company introduced a whole new concept in VoIP telephony. By purchasing a so-called ooma Hub, very much resembling an answering machine, the customer is promised lifetime, unlimited long-distance phone calls within the U.S. thus avoiding any binding contracts or monthly fees (with the exception of ooma Premier, but I will get to that later).

ooma’s creative director Ashton Kutcher together with it’s chief marketing officer Rich Buchanan, have been able to steer the still young company away from near failure in the Spring of 2008. The fight for survival is not over, however. With a polished image and by reducing the prices for the ooma Hub and the ooma Scout (for use with secondary lines within the household), ooma Inc. capitalized on its strength of offering peer-to-peer access through high quality VoIP technology, but without the need to use a computer, download any software or use a headset.

With the use of the ooma Hub and existing conventional telephones, the current phone service is replaced and the customer can then enjoy unlimited calls within the United States. There is a small catch though. With a limit of 3000 outbound minutes per month, abuse by call centers or use for commercial purposes is discouraged. International calls are of course possible at rates beginning at 1.4 cent per minute up to 18.9 cents per minute, varying from country to country.

The main “catches” to the whole concept are the following:
  • The ooma Hub is available at a one-time price of $249.99 (at the time of writing this post, the Scout was included free-of-charge for a limited time …)
  • If the customer wants to maintain the previous telephone number, a one-time fee of $39.99 is charged.
  • ooma Premier offers various enhanced calling features and costs $99.99/year or $12.99/month after the free 60 day trial for all new customers who decide to keep this service. A free-of-charge transferring of the available number (usually costing $39.99) is offered for those who sign up for a one year subscription of ooma Premier.
  • The ooma system is only available in selected Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores in California, through or through ooma’s own website.
Aside from these possibly disadvantageous issues mentioned above, an interesting feature is the possibility to use the ooma Hub in other countries, thus maintaining the “free calls in America” advantage by keeping the U.S. number, making calls placed to the United States free – but, those calls made “in country” (respectively, outside of any other country other than the U.S.) are subject to the international rates. The use of the system is also subject to the associated fees, taxes, tariffs and legal penalties of international law. Special note should be made, that the system is built for US power specifications meaning that it can only be used in combination with a transformer.

All in all, a very innovative enterprise and winning the Best of Digital Life Award in the Hardware Innovator of 2007 category, and the CES Innovations Design and Engineering Honoree Award in 2009, promising an interesting alternative to rate-bound VoIP telephony in the United States of America.

ooma VoIPSocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Jajah VoIP

The next VoIP service provider that I would like to introduce is Jajah Web, founded by Roman Scharf and Danile Mattes of Austria in 2005. Jajah contrasts to other VoIP services in that calls can be placed via the user’s PC through the internet to conventional landline or mobile telephones without having to download any software. In this way, Jajah can offer very competitive prices that can be lower than most other standard telephony providers. Free calls can be placed from Jajah user to Jajah user within the USA, Canada, much of Asia, most of Europe and to many other countries throughout the world.

In 2007, Jajah Direct was introduced to the service package, enabling users to place calls without having to use a computer. By using any phone, Jajah users can make long-distance or global calls by first dialling a local number which are then assigned to the long-distance / international number. However, the main disadvantage with Jajah Direct is that it is not possible to place free calls to other Jajah users.

Jajah finances its services by asking customers to pay at least once every six weeks a minimum of $10 in order to retain the free calls option. Those chargeable calls will of course be deducted from the credit paid in advance. If customers choose not to pay, the free calls option becomes invalid and Jajah charges the normal rates accordingly.

For more pricing and geographical information, please see Jajah free calls.

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

AIM Call Out

I would like to do a series of posts covering the list of VoIP Services listed in my last post. I will begin today with AIM Call Out, but I will not cover all of them in alphabetical order.

AIM Call Out is (still) a computer to computer, PC phone / phone to PC service provided by AOL to its AOL Instant Messenger users. However, the service will be discontinued on March 25, 2009. As yet, there is no information on a replacement for this service. If any of my readers has any information on this, please don’t hesitate to contact me via comment.

For further information, please see:

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

VoIP Telephony

I would like to post some information about one of my sponsors … But first, being that this sponsor is in the VoIP business, let me first define what VoIP is and what it’s all about.

Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the general term used for modern technology allowing voice calls to be placed via a broadband Internet connection (sometimes called IP telephony, Internet telephony, voice over broadband – VoBB, broadband telephony or broadband phone). The VoIP systems are usually connected with and combined to the classic switched analog telephone networks which make it possible to place calls to all parts of the world.

I could go into the nitty gritty about how this all works, but that is not the purpose of this post. My goal is to simply draw your attention to the terminology used and to help give my readers a better understanding of what it is all about.

The commercial development began in 2004, introducing mass-market providers allowing a variety of services to both commercial and domestic users. In those countries where the VoIP technology is particularly well developed, like the USA, Canada, UK, most of Europe and much of Asia, so-called flat rates are offered to users to allow for an unlimited length and frequency of calls, usually within the respective country.

The variety of features within the providers’ service plan varies considerably however. Some may only allow free calls to be placed to other subscribers of the same service or free calls to all landline numbers within the country, or may include free calls to one or more out-of-country destinations – and yet others might include one or more of the cooperating (or own) mobile phone networks.

In any case, VoIP telephony generally requires either a computer or a special VoIP phone or a combination of both, usually connected to an adapter or router of some kind. Placing free calls via computer usually requires the downloading of some kind of software to enable calls via headphones and microphone. With the use of a router, the conventional telephones are simply connected directly to the router and the router is then connected to the incoming phone line. Typically, more than one phone can be connected to the router at the same time, but this may vary from router to router and the service providers in the respective countries. At the end of this post, I will list out the more widely known providers as well as some of the more unknown ones. Of course, I would be more than happy to include any of your suggestions into the list.

There are some disadvantages to using VoIP services however. Some do not work during power outages being that they are generally connected to a computer and / or router through its own power supply (Conventional telephones have their own power source through the telephone jack). Most importantly, most VoIP providers cannot connect calls to emergency or certain service numbers. Another major disadvantage is caused through the inherently unreliable IP network. Due to the ever-increasing amount of data congestion in any given bandwidth network, the conversation can become broken up into incoherent snippets, disrupted by heavy static or in severe cases, even become completely disconnected.

All in all however, free and unlimited calls via VoIP are becoming increasingly safer and reliable with the advancement and improvement of its technology. The ever-increasing demand for better service and the growing availability of these services will become progressively interesting for commercial and domestic users alike.


Operating countries





AT&T CallVantage


USA and Canada



Blue Ridge Communications


Ireland / UK


BT Group

Cable & Wireless


USA, Canada

Charter Communications


Comcast Digital Voice


Cox Communications














Worldwide, geographically limited


Worldwide, geographically limited

Lingo (Primus)

USA, Australia



Modern Telegraph




Packet8 (8x8)


Primus Canada



Qwest Communications

Shaw Communications


Germany, Austria, UK



Suddenlink Communications


Telewest Business



Time Warner


Worldwide, but inbound calls only in UK & USA


US, Canada

Verizon VoiceWing


Vocaltone Networks

Australia, Canada, USA, France, UK




VoIP User


US, UK, Canada




Windows Live Call


Yahoo! Voice

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