Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service

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homaquebec
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Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service

Post by homaquebec » Sat Sep 09, 2006 3:43 pm

I am thinking about the possibility to switch from the regular phone service to the real VoIP (not phone by cable). This VoIP requires a broadband Internet connection, a gateway beetween my modem or my router. With an account to a specialised provider, I can make and receive phone calls using regular phone sets, my actual phone number and the actual phone cables in my home (they belong to be).

According to the lot of features that come with a subscription (caller identification, voice mailbox), ... it could cost less than half the price of a subscription to an “old phone company” service.

But I read on the subject and learned that there could be some problems like the absence of service in case of power breakdown, the possibility of a low quality of voice. On the other hand, according to a (canadian) nation wide relugation, the 911 service must be available.

So, I would like to know if some members of this forum use VoIP alone and if they are satisfied with it. Il some users do not use VoIP but have information or comments about this service, I would be glad to know them.
Last edited by homaquebec on Tue Aug 14, 2007 3:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Voice over IP (VoIP) phone service

Post by mpot » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:55 am

homaquebec wrote:So, I would like to know if some members of this forum use VoIP alone and if they are satisfied with it. Il some users do not use VoIP but have information or comments about this service, I would be glad to know them.
I use VoIP quite a bit at home.

I have a Sipura SPA3000 VoIP adapter, and it allows me to connect my physical phones to it, thus allowing all inbound PSTN and VoIP calls to go to the same phones.
The SPA3000 also allows me to configure dialing rules, so I can specify which outbound calls go over PSTN, and which ones go over VoIP.

The SPA3000 also supports fail-over in the event of a power outage, and will then default to the PSTN line.

The one issue with the SPA3000 is some echo on inbound PSTN calls (due to the analogue -> digital -> analogue conversion).

I also use a soft phone on my PC for VoIP calls, namely the freeware X-Lite (mainly so I can use a headset and have mute capability for those teleconferences).

Cheers,
Martin.

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Post by homaquebec » Tue Sep 12, 2006 1:57 pm

Thanks Martin. Very interesting and helpful information.

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Post by mpot » Tue Sep 12, 2006 3:41 pm

homaquebec wrote:Thanks Martin. Very interesting and helpful information.
No probs.

I'm happy to provide more specific info, if required ;-)

Cheers,
Martin.

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Post by homaquebec » Tue Sep 12, 2006 6:44 pm

mpot wrote:I'm happy to provide more specific info, if required ;-)
I am curious to know why you do not just use the VoIP phone service with all your phone sets.

As I wrote above, I see just one problem: the loss of the phone service in case of electric power or Internet service breaks. During the last year, none of that happened. In addition, I have a cell phone for emergency needs.

The company with which I have an alarm control service accepts this kind of connection and the VoIP provider assured me that nothing special was necessary (a filter for example) betweeen the alarm system box and the phone line. In addition, during about one month, I will have my actual phone line plus the VoIP line (situation that it is necessary because I want to keep my actual phone number). So, I will have time to make some tests to see if everything works fine. In case of problem, I could keep my actual phone service and cancel the VoIP one. I have a certain number of days to send back the gateway and be reimbursed.

Thanks again.

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Fully VoIPed

Post by homaquebec » Sat Dec 30, 2006 8:14 pm

About two weeks ago, I cancelled my home phone line with Bell that cost me about 21.50 US$ plus extra charges for any feature (as an example, the Caller ID feature costs 8,00 CAN $ (6.87 US$).

I switched to VoIP service where, for 16,95 CAN$ (14.56 US$), I get:
  • Unlimited incoming calls
  • 500 outgoing minutes a month anytime to anywhere in Canada and in the U.S.
  • 2.6 cents (US$) for each additional minute*
The following features are included in the package:
  • 911 Dialing
  • Voice mailbox
  • Caller ID with Name
  • Call Waiting
  • Anonymous Call
  • Call Forwarding
  • Capability to have Messages Formarding by email with attached audio file
  • Capability to have Fax Copy Forwarding by email with attached image file
  • 3-Way Calling
  • In-Networking Calls
  • Call Transfer
  • Repeat Dialing
  • Capability to block long distance calls and 411 calls
Since the phone service would be interrupted in case of power breakdown (what is very rare where I live), I bought a battery backup for my modem/router/phone gateway.

Up to now, I am completely satisfied.

By the way, yesterday, I received my bill for my broadband cable Internet connection. I was informed of a monthly raise of 1,05 CAN$ starting March 2007 that would make the subscription monthly price 40,00 CAN$ (34.36 US$). I called an other provider where there was a special and where the regular subscription monthly price is 34,95 CAN$ (30,00 US$). I was ready to susbscribe but when I called my actual provider to ask details about cancellation, I was offered to stay there at 34,95 CAN$ or at 40,00 CAN$ with two months free. I accepted to stay.

*With the time, I could switch to an other package if this one does not satisfy me.
Last edited by homaquebec on Sun Mar 11, 2007 4:17 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Post by KY Dave » Sat Dec 30, 2006 9:19 pm

SKYPE OUT - Just US$14.95
A full year of unlimited calls to any phone in the US and Canada - right from your computer.
More than an hour of international calls*.
Over $50 in coupons to get a Motorola headset, Netgear WiFi phone, and a Polycom speakerphone.

http://www.skype.com/helloagain.html
I'm thinking about getting the SKYPE OUT service and keep my land line since the phone company here requires me to have a regular phone line to have the DSL.

Out in the country, there isn't an option of different providers. :lol:
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Post by homaquebec » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:50 pm

KY Dave wrote:I'm thinking about getting the SKYPE OUT service and keep my land line since the phone company here requires me to have a regular phone line to have the DSL.

Out in the country, there isn't an option of different providers. :lol:
I had the same offer from Skype. It is very interesting. The advantage with the service that I got is that I use the regular phone sets in my condo.

Here you can get a "dry - phone - line" for about 4.00 US$ a month to be used just for DSL from an other provider than your phone company.

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Cheaper again

Post by homaquebec » Thu Feb 22, 2007 4:40 pm

A local company now offers VoIP phone service at 14,95 $CAN (12.86 $US) a month for unlimited local calls. No extra features are included at this price and long dsitance calls are a bit more expensive than the price I would pay with my actual VoIP provider.

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Post by KY Dave » Thu Feb 22, 2007 9:57 pm

The entire VoIP industry could be on the verge of annihlation by Verizon...
Could Verizon Lawsuits Sink Vonage?
A cynic might says that Verizon's (VZ) patent lawsuit against Vonage (VG) is just a way to get rid of a pesky competitor. VoIP is eating the Verizon and AT&T (T) landline businesses alive.

But, much of the VoIP competition comes from the cable companies like Comcast (CMCSA) and Time Warner (TWX). Who knows? They might get hit with patent litigation next.

Verizon claims that Vonage violates its patent on several items including call forwarding and fraud protection. All Verizon wants is $197 million and future royalties. That seems reasonable enough.

But, if Verizon wins it could wipe Vonage out.
It seems the patents are being considered so broad that almost everything concerning VoIP will be considered violating Verizon's patents.
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Vonage ordered to Pay $58 Million in Patent Case

Post by homaquebec » Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:14 pm

According to an article published today in The New York Times*, Vonage is ordered to pay $58 million for infringing Verizon’s patents. This amount is substantially less than the $197 million that Verizon requested, and is even less than what Vonage had suggested would be fair if it was found liable. The court also ordered Vonage to pay a royalty of 5.5 percent of its future revenue for any continuing infringement.

Vonage said yesterday that it would appeal the decision, and vowed that financial reserves would enable the company to continue operations regardless of the outcome of the case. Of the seven patents Verizon originally sued on, they prevailed on only three and Vonage expects that verdict to be reversed on appeal.

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Vonage Told to Stop Using Verizon Technology

Post by homaquebec » Sat Mar 24, 2007 4:41 pm

According to The New York Times*, Vonage will be ordered to stop using technologies patented by Verizon.

The decision could force Vonage to close or to install new systems.

If Vonage is forced to switch to other technologies, the cost and feasibility of such a change is not clear. It is believed that the company has the ability to make remote software updates in devices that its customers have installed at their homes and offices.

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Post by KY Dave » Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:18 pm

Judge Imposes Vonage Injunction

Apr 6, 11:22 AM (ET)

By MATTHEW BARAKAT

ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) - A judge issued an injunction Friday that effectively bars Internet phone carrier Vonage from signing up new customers as punishment for infringing on patents held by Verizon. Vonage planned an immediate appeal.

Vonage's lawyers said the compromise injunction posted by U.S District Judge Hilton is almost as devastating as an injunction that would have affected Vonage's 2.2 million existing customers.

"It's the difference of cutting off oxygen as opposed to the bullet in the head," Vonage lawyer Roger Warin said.

Verizon Communications Inc. (VZ) (VZ)'s lawyers had suggested the compromise injunction as a way to avoid shutting down Vonage Holdings Corp. (VG) (VG)'s entire network.
Later in the same day...
Vonage Holdings, the US-based broadband telephony pioneer, won a temporary reprieve late on Friday when an appeals court gave it permission to continue to sign up new customers pending a full hearing of a patent infringement suit.

Earlier in the day, a lower court ordered Vonage to stop signing up new customers after last month's decision that Vonage had infringed three VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) technology patents held by Verizon Communications.
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Vonage Could Face Bankruptcy

Post by homaquebec » Wed Apr 18, 2007 3:25 pm

According to The New York Times*, Vonage says it could face bankruptcy. Other risks are the possible interruption of service, an inability to repay its debt and a decline in its stock that could lead to the delisting from the New York Stock Exchange.

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Vonage Allowed to Continue Signing Up New Customers

Post by homaquebec » Wed Apr 25, 2007 3:17 pm

According to The New York Times*, judges, yesterday, allowed Vonage to continue signing up new customers as well as maintain service to existing ones as it pursues its appeal of a district court’s April 6 ruling that it infringed three Verizon patents. At the same time, the three-judge appeals panel set a June court date to hear the appeal, several months sooner than expected.

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At Vonage, Sales Increase as Litigation Clouds Future

Post by homaquebec » Fri May 11, 2007 4:33 pm

According to today edition of The New York Tmes, at Vonage, Sales Increase as Litigation Clouds Future.

All the details*

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Internet Phone Company Halts Operations

Post by homaquebec » Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:41 pm

According to The New York Times, companies offering Internet phone service face enormous pressure from the biggest competitors in the industry, both cable and traditional phone service providers. The cable companies in particular have made a strong push into the telephone market by offering the service as part of a package with television and Internet access.

Alan Bezoza, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Company, said he thought that stand-alone Internet telephone companies could wind up as successful niche players in the market, but that their investors would have to be willing to endure a substantial period of losses before these companies built enough of a customer base to be profitable.

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Vonage Reduces Loss, but Subscriber Growth Slows

Post by homaquebec » Fri Aug 10, 2007 10:09 pm

According to The New York Times, the Internet telephone company Vonage Holdings reported yesterday a much reduced loss for the second quarter as it scaled back marketing, but also a drastic drop in new subscribers.

In March, a jury found that Vonage infringed on three Verizon patents. The judge barred Vonage from signing up new customers, but that decision has been stayed while an appeals court considers it.

Vonage said yesterday it had “substantially completed the deployment of workarounds” for two of the patents, and had developed a workaround for the third one.

*The business of selling Voice over Internet Protocol service, or VoIP, independently of cable and phone companies has looked increasingly shaky in recent months.

“I don’t think it’s the end of the business model. But it’s a pretty grim state of affairs,” said an analyst, Stephan Beckert, at the TeleGeography Research Group. As a bright spot, he noted that SunRocket subscribers showed loyalty to the concept after the shutdown — more than half of them quickly signed up with other independent VoIP companies.

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*The Internet edition of The New York Times including the whole content of the printed edition could soon be totally free.

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A Settlement by Vonage Over Patents

Post by homaquebec » Tue Oct 09, 2007 7:29 pm

According to The New York Times, “Vonage, the Internet phone-calling pioneer, has settled its patent dispute with Sprint Nextel for $80 million and agreed to license Sprint’s Internet-calling technology, the two companies said yesterday.”

“The news [...] would eliminate one of several clouds hanging over the company.”

Full story

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Voice over IP (VoIP): the end (for me)

Post by homaquebec » Thu Nov 08, 2007 4:24 pm

Voice over IP (VoIP): the end (for me)

Today - Nov. 08, 2007 - is the last day that I use my VoIP service on my main phone line. Tomorrow, I go back to my old phone company.

The reason il that VoIP, used as the main and only phone line, is not reliable. Since about one year I have been using this kind of telephone. About six times, suddenly, in the morning, looking at the VoIP gateway, I saw that the light indicating that the phone service works well was off.

The company from which I am a susbscriber does not offer a 24/24-7/7 customer service. Il addition, if the service is available, I must use my cell phone or Skype to call. Most of the time, to have the phone service back, I have to make a complete reset of the cable modem, the routeur and the VoIP gateway.

Imagine if I had to call the 911 service. Il addition, I have an alarm system that works with the phone.

I still believe that VoIP has a future but to become more “universal”, il will have to be more reliable. VoIP could also be interesting as a second phone line for people who make a lot of long distance calls. The Magicjack could be an alternative to make such calls at a very low price. Presently, I use Skype because I paid $US15.00 for unlimited calls in USA and in Canada during one year but I think that the situation will change next year (2008) according to the price that Ebay paid to buy Skype ($US2.6 billion two years ago).

Update (Nov. 9, 2007): According to ZDNet, Nov. 8, 2007 edition “Churn-the percent of Vonage [VoIP provider] customers leaving last quarter, was up from 2.5% in the prior quarter to 3% last quarter. Insofar as customer satisfaction (or lack thereof), churn isn’t a canary in the coal mine.”

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