Consumer Reports on VoIP in Feb 2005 Issue

The February 2005 issue of Consumer Reports magazine contains an article titled INTERNET PHONING Should you try it?

It doesn’t appear to be online yet. Overall, their bottom line is If you spend more than $60 a month for local and long-distance, VoIP may save you money.

They have a sidebar on the 911 issue called Why VoIP won’t always work in emergencies and they suggest keeping a landline for 911: “We think you should figure an additional expense with VoIP: $20 or so per month to keep landline service for emergency calls. We don’t think you should use VoIP as your only phone service, because it has no reliable way to connect to 911.”

They tested AT&T Call Vantage, Optimum Voice (a NY regional provider), Time Warner Cable, Verizon VoiceWing, and Vonage. The highlights of their test results were:

  • Voice quality may be uneven
  • Incoming calls may not get through
  • Installing hardware yourself may be frustrating
  • You may lose convenience and flexibility

I would not call their testing much more than anecdotal. They had ten testers, in four cities, test five services, using a mix of Cable and DSL broadband. Based on their tests, they conclude:

  1. VoIP isn’t yet the equal of landline
  2. Don’t rely on VoIP alone (keep a landline too)
  3. Cable works better than DSL for VoIP

The majority of their testers said they won’t keep VoIP because “the inconvenience outweighed the prospect of lower bills.”

7 comments for “Consumer Reports on VoIP in Feb 2005 Issue

  1. Glad, I came across your site. (How did I end up here anyway, oh well that’s typical).

    After being ‘Skyped-Out’; I decided to ask my housemate if he wanted to get VONAGE.

    Currently, I am getting free Wireless G, which isn’t bad…

    unless you are the FCC!


  2. Started out as a regular trip to the store Wireless Toyz. The employees promised us 2 free phones with a family plan of 4 people. But,they ended up charging us for the 2 free phones as advertised. So we said no to the deal. Today, we recieved a billing charge of $500 for activation and cancellation fees. Within 20 minutes, a court case has developed here. TIME TO SUE.

  3. Vonage is the worst company in regards to customer service and quality. I had the service for about 2 months and it was horrible. Constant loss of service, dropped calls, poor quality. I could not make calls and the phone would ring, and when I answered there would be no one on the other end. At times I could hear the person that called me speaking but they could not hear me. If there were an emergency we would have died because we would never be able to place a call to 911. I lost service daily and cancelled my service,They then charged me $44 to cancel their poor excuse for a phone service, sent me to collections when I refused to pay a disconnect fee, and did not work with me. Under no circumstances should you consider Vonage as phone provider.

  4. Vonage has the nerve to charge a $43 cancellation fee. You have to reboot daily, good luck getting calls and placing calls. Not at all worth the monthly fee. Customer service is non existant and the tech support is terrible and is located offshore. You will not be able to understand them and they will not be able to help you. They will tell you to unplug the adapter and reboot. VONAGE IS THE WORST PHONE COMPANY IN THE US.

  5. After spending an hour on the telephone I decided to check out Vonage’s consumer reports. I am so glad I did! While trying to figure out how to connect the device I already purchased to Vonage and get the advertised 2 months free, I observed that the customer service reps in India don’t know how to do anything except for a sales spiel and sign you up. If they treated a potential customer this poorly, I don’t have high hopes for paying, "locked-in" customers.

  6. I would advise cusotmer to avoid Motorola and Wireless Toys.I have been using cell phones for almost 20 years and this is the most unreliable phone I have ever had. My husband got a cheaper Nokia at the same time. I made the mistake of signing upo for a 2 year contract so I am now stuck with it although it only works 60-80% of the time. As a reliable security device, it’s useless. I also made the mistake of buying it from Wirelss Toyz . I thought since they represented several providers they would give me good advice. I switched form Cingular to Verizon because I though it would be more reliable. Instead it has been much less reliable, although I think the problem may be primarily with the Motorola phone not Verizon.

    I will probably need to buy another phone soon even though my contract has not expired but it won’t be a Motorola and I will stay away from Wireless Toyz.

  7. I am a very discerning consumer, always researching future purchases and services almost to a fault. Can’t go wrong with Vonage, right? WRONG! Don’t touch this company with a ten foot pole. Their service is deplorable at best…can’t fax, poor line condition, garbled calls.."must be your ISP…" Want to quit…"That’ll be $93.28, please bend over." And they have all their problems neatly protected behind the "we don’t stand behind our service" disclaimer. I have never felt so violated by a company in my life. VONAGE IS A THIEF!

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