Tips on Using Vonage Phone Service

by Aeyne Schriber on June 14, 2012 in Internet Calling

Although many people still count on their landline phone as their primary source of voice communications, more people are beginning to realize the benefits of using alternative voice communications such as Vonage.  Vonage is a voice communications service which allows you to make phone calls over the Internet using a high speed broadband Internet connection instead of placing calls over a conventional phone line.  This provides you with more calling options while saving on the exorbitant costs of using a traditional landline telephone service.

How Vonage Phone Service Works

Vonage phone service works with your traditional landline phone only the connectivity is through the Internet as opposed to a traditional telephone line.  This means that the configuration is slightly different in order to make calls over the Internet.

Most residential housing is built with traditional phone wiring preinstalled. So if you are setting up your household in a new location all you have to do is ask your conventional phone service to set you up with a telephone connection.  On the other hand, if you already have a telephone connection then you can simply add Vonage to your existing home phone service.  Here is more on how it works:

  • Install High Speed Broadband Internet:  If you have not already done so, it is necessary to have access to high speed broadband Internet in order to take advantage of the Vonage phone service.  Slower Internet speeds will not work well with VoIP calling and will result in unreliable and poor quality voice communications.
  • Install a Working Home Phone Service:  Setup a traditional landline phone service through your nearest provider such as Verizon or other similar type of service.  This will not only get you setup initially for Vonage, it will also provide you with phone communications in the event there is an Internet or power outage as Vonage does not work if the Internet or power is out.   The other option you can pursue is setting up a Network Availability Number which will automatically forward your calls to a mobile or landline phone you designate in the event of an outage.
  • Choose a Vonage Plan:  Once you have your traditional phone service installed you can choose a calling plan from the Vonage website.  Along with the plan you choose you will be supplied with a Vonage box which will be mailed to your physical address.
  • Connect the Vonage Service:  Once you receive your Vonage box you simply connect the unit to your high speed Internet connection, connect your landline phone into the Vonage box and you are ready to start making calls over the Internet.

Vonage vs. Landline Service

Although many people do not want to part with their landline service in the event of an Internet or power outage, you can still use the Vonage to save on long distance calling and another costs associated with using a traditional landline service.  Where a landline service will typically charge you by the minute for long distance calling Vonage provides you with unlimited long distance calling for a set fee each month.

When you use a landline phone service they typically charge extra for a specific amount of features you add to the service.  If you do not add the features such as Caller ID and others then it is possible to keep your costs low with a landline service.  In comparison with Vonage, when you sign up for a calling plan with Vonage some of the added features such as Caller ID are included with the calling plan you choose at no extra cost.

The reason many people keep using their landline is that emergency responders can easily track your location when you call 911 in the event of an emergency.  VoIP calling does not provide this service and will not work if there is a problem with your Internet connection.

Vonage also provides you with portability so if you relocate you can keep the same phone number.  If you are on the go a lot you can use the Vonage phone service with a broadband connection on your laptop or other portable device.

Vonage Calling Plans

We talked about some of the benefits of using Vonage the primary advantage being saving on long distance calling costs.  Let’s delve a little deeper into the calling plans to help you understand exactly what you get.

Vonage offers plans to accommodate both international and domestic calling needs in addition to plans for small business. Each calling plan is backed with a 30-day money back guarantee.

The Vonage international calling plan provides you with two options for saving on international calling.  The Vonage World plan offers unlimited local and long distance calling in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico with 60 additional countries included for international calling with your landline phone.  You also receive unlimited mobile international calling for ten countries for a low price of just under $26 per month with free activation. The Vonage World Plus 1000 plan offers the same options as the Vonage World plan for a pay-as-you-go option of just under $55 per month.

Vonage’s domestic calling plans offer low rates on a per-minute basis for both mobile and international landline calling.  There are three domestic calling plans which in addition to offering low per-minute rates as described, the US and Canada plan offers unlimited local and long distance calling in the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico.

The US and Canada 750 plan offers 750 minutes of local and long distance calling with 3.9 cents for each additional minute within the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The monthly rate for this plan is just under $20 per month. The third plan which is the US and Canada 300, offers 300 minutes with 5 cents for each additional minute for calls within the US, Canada, and Puerto Rico at a rate of just under $12 per month.

There are also two Vonage plans which are designed to accommodate small businesses.  The small business premium unlimited offers unlimited local and long distance calling in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico, calling in five additional countries using your landline phone, and low per-minute unlimited mobile calling for international long distance calls.  This plan is on a pay-as-you-go basis for just under $50 per month.

You can also opt to choose the Small Business Basic 1500 plan which offers 1500 minutes of local and long distance calling with 3.9 cents for each additional minute.  You also get unlimited international calling with both your landline and mobile phone for just under $40 per month.

Vonage also offers installation services if you do not feel comfortable installing the system yourself.  The installation services are typically used for multiple Vonage boxes and phone jacks to ensure the Vonage calling system is unified and is setup properly.  Otherwise, the Vonage system is very easy to install and allows you to be up and running within a matter of minutes.

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