If you already have Vonage or planning on signing up, you may be better off dumping it as there are now much better alternatives. Read on.
Vonage was touted as a pioneer for commercial VOIP phone service back in 2005 when I first signed up for the service. The excitement of a killer and industry disrupting VOIP service evaporated very soon. The quality never measured up to the ‘carrier’ quality. I disconnected in a couple of months due to voice quality issues. And what happened when I tried to disconnect was yet another totally frustrating customer service story, “Vonage – expecting good customer service is stupid”.
When Vonage announced unlimited international calling to India (and few other select countries), I hesitated due to my earlier experience. A few months later, we needed a landline phone and I did little research to shop for a better one. At that time, Vonage proved to be a better option for a landline phone that would also double to be able to call anybody in India, despite its voice quality issues and poor customer service.
That was little more than 5 years ago, when most people in India (particularly my friends and family) can be reached only on their phones and internet access at homes was still a rare and privilege in many areas. Things have been changing quite fast in India these days, particularly in terms of communication and access. Almost everybody that I knew have a cell phone now and family and friends have internet access at a reasonable price and connections are quite capable of watching YouTube videos and supporting video chats.
Skype, my new best friend to stay connected, always and anywhere
That means, time has come to fully leverage my favorite, Skype, that I have been using for a really long time to stay connected with my friends. Skype supports instant messaging, video calls, voice calls, can take with you anywhere in the world and can instantly connect with your friends and family anywhere in the world for FREE. Along with friends and family on Skype, you can call any toll free number in the US for FREE. With a better internet access in India, Skype became my best option to stay connected to all family and friends in India and anywhere in the world for that matter.
Calls to India to any number are about 1c/minute
Skype does offer calling plans so that you can call those that do not have internet access or need to reach somebody on their phones, for a price close to 1c per minute. So you are in full control to purchase a subscription that will suit your needs. These days, I use Skype to reach most of my family and friends, I just use a $1.50/month subscription that will give me 2 and half hours of talk time per month.
Unlimited calling to US/Canada for just $2.99/month
And just for $2.99 a month, you will get unlimited calling to any number in US/Canada. Skype does have unlimited international calling for about $13, but India is not in the list.
For about $5 a month, you can also get a Skype number so that anybody in the world can call you on that number from their phones and you can take the call on your Skype (on your Smart phone, iPad or any computer). Best part of this feature is you can get a local number in a country of your choosing.
Replace Vonage @ $40 a month with Skype @ just $6 a month
Needless to repeat, Skype works the best for me. It offers much greater voice quality. Instant messaging, video calls, can take any where in the world on my smartphone or iPad and use on my PC and reach anywhere in the world. For under $6 a month, I have effectively replaced my Vonage phone that costs me close to $40 a month ($25.99 + taxes).
Give it a try. For most people, this should work just fine. For those, who talk on and on to regular phones to India, you may have to still suck up the lower quality voice and stay with Vonage for the unlimited calling, but for the rest, its time to dump it.