[sc:internet-category ]I’ve been using a VOIP phone line as my home for a couple of years now, however the provider I was using has a few limitations I just don’t like so I’ve been looking for a new VOIP provider for the last few months.
My current provider has several things going for it:
- Low cost.
- North American long distance at no cost. Other long distance destinations have very reasonable rates as well.
- Voice mail to e-mail.
However they have several significant limits:
- Over 7 long distance calls a day (no matter how long or short) is considered excessive use and you’ll be cut off.
- While they claim there is no call length limit, there is of 90 minutes.
- No number porting.
In general I could live with limits, but the number porting was a real killer, I’ve maintained my traditional land line while I used my VOIP line but its time to get a single solution.
About three years ago when I was first looking for a VOIP provider, I found freephoneline.ca (which operates under the Fongo company name)and found their business model interesting to say the least. At that time I didn’t go with them mainly due to my uncertainty as to whether they would survive or not.
At the beginning of February as I was looking for a new VOIP provider, Fongo and Dell announced DellVoice.ca, which brought them back to my attention.
Fongo provides a free phone number and long distance across much of Canada (to pretty much all the major and minor cities and towns). They do this though their softphone and advertising associated with them. They support both Android and iOS applications with Blackberry coming soon. Perhaps they’ll have Windows Phone support some day as well .
They do offer a traditional VOIP access option as well for a one time fee of $50, which gives you all the configuration and passwords to setup any softphone or ATA to use with the service.
In addition they support number porting to the service.
Signing up for the service was straight forward, a quick webform and software down. During the setup process you get your new phone number and have 5 chances to change it if you don’t like what you get. However after 5 numbers your stuck with whatever you get .
After that, you simply fill in another form (with payment details) to get your VOIP unlock and after about 10 minutes total I had my ATA configured to use the service.
Call quality is good and long distance rates to non-free locations is reasonable. However they do use a credit system where you have to by credits before you can make a long distance call. This is a little draconian, but not a huge barrier for me.
I submitted by number porting request and they indicated it would take 3 to 4 weeks to port the number. Number porting cannot be done through the web interface, you have to call their support line, but there was no wait to get to a representative.
It does take a few days to receive the form from them through e-mail, but it’s straight forward to fill out and I faxed it in without issue.
To my pleasant surprise, the number porting was done in just 7 business days, so much faster than expected. I didn’t run in to any issues during the porting process at all. Bell automatically terminates your phone line for you once the porting is complete so there’s nothing more to do.
So far I’m quite happy with the new service, I haven’t had any downtime and have not found any limits so far. One small quirk I have found is that they don’t support 310 numbers. So ordering pizza from your favorite place may require a little bit of searching for their 800 number instead of their 310 number.
The only thing I miss from my old VOIP provider is the voice mail to e-mail option. Fongo is adding new features so perhaps this will be one of them soon.