Review by v35_pilot
Good "Excellent and powerful phone features, cost of service, voice quality"
- Location: Fayetteville,Onondaga,NY
- Cost: $20 per month (12 month contract)
- Install: about 4 days
Bad "None as of this review period."
Overall "Quality and reliability quite high in my experience."
Ease of Installation:
Value for money:
----- Update, August 2012 --------
Another year and I am still a customer, which is now extending into my sixth year with Viatalk. I have grown to really love and depend on the much more powerful call features (when compared to cable's very weak digital phone offering). As long as service reliability remains as high as it has been this past year (again, about a 98% reliability factor), I will remain a happy customer.
Calling tech support is still a random exercise in "let's see how much unwarranted arrogance from a level 1 support rep I can tolerate in one session," but as long as there is no need to call I am fine.
----- Update, June 2011 --------
For the most part, my phone service through VT has not been at the forefront of my mind; that is because it has been reliable and call quality good. I would estimate that over the last two years reliability has been around 95%, with just very occasional hiccups. If I am not thinking about the phone every time I pick it up it is working as I expect. And for that I am appreciative.
----- Update, April 2009 --------
Please, oh please do not let my positive experience over these last few months be a curse! My latest update is to share my happiness with ViaTalk's improvements to stability and overall reliability of the service. I have not had any VT-side complaints in at least three months now. Thank you, VT, for your hard work in improving the customer experience.
Like most customers, I also wish that VT would combine all of the piddly taxes and fees into one monthly invoice but that is just a minor issue.
----- Update, late June 2008 --------
Hey, wait a minute. I indicated in my previous update that I was jumping ship, so what happened? Am I still with VT? Yes, I am still with them. Why? Well, pretty much right after that update back in January a number of VT team members made a very public appearance into the VT forums and it seemed to me that the company recognized the importance of addressing some of their customer perception issues across all fronts. It appeared that there was a rebirth of sorts in customer service so I decided to stick around and see how that played out. For the most part it worked.
Over the last six months there was only one massive failure (service went down for at a day due, supposedly, to problems at an upstream provider) and at least two minor but annoying hiccups (inbound calls would disconnect within 5 seconds of answering). In the second case, the presence of the different VT team members in the forums was instrumental in getting a quick resolution.
Conclusion: I still see VT as a company with great potential. If only the problems could become even less frequent so that my confidence in my phone service could grow, I know I could remain a customer for a long time.
----- Update, late January 2008 --------
Well, it came down to continued poor reliability even after the barrage of similar complaints on DSLR and sharply declining VT ratings. One would think that the company would have instigated some type of PR damage control here in DSLR but to this day there has been no outward attempt to repair the declining reputation. It seems as if some are in a heavy state of denial.
To this day I still had issues calling specific local exchanges - dial tone, dial a number, then nothing. Party at other end admitted later that I was connected but I could never hear a thing and was forced to redial. Got more complaints from others about my voice still breaking up occasionally mid-call.
And frankly, I am concerned about this company's financial longevity. Signs abound regarding cash flow problems, especially in looking at continued affiliate payment issues posted to the VT forum here. Sunrocket's demise has elevated my sensitivity to other small companies' abilities to weather the challenges they face.
I still think VT has the basis for a good product and I will use the forum to watch them from a distance, but somewhere between the raw product and the execution there are faulty methods and procedures that have yet to be corrected.
----- Update, early January 2008 --------
First it was the poor response times and poor quality of customer service after the Sunrocket demise late last summer, but I could deal with that since I had no problems with my phone reliability and no real reason to contact customer support. But then service and call quality began to degrade.
It started with occasional loud distortion while talking. A bigger problem replaced that one when outgoing calls would not connect at all (dial tone, dial, then nothing). That problem segued into multiple problems with voicemail - could not dial VM from my VT phone (fast busy after dialing) and had to retrieve VM through the website - worse still, at least six voicemails were taken by the VT VM system one afternoon and then lost (could not be recovered by VT or retrieved by me).
The latest unresolved problems have to do with calls that drop in the middle and inbound calls that drop the second I answer the phone. It seems that this service is getting worse rather than better, despite the valiant efforts of the VT techs who reply in the VT board here on DSLreports. My ISP is Verizon FIOS and my VT-supplied ATA is in the DMZ so I KNOW the problems are not at my end. Furthermore, all of these problems have been reported by many others in the VT board here over the last few months.
The bottom line for me is that if I don't see improvement over the next month I will be forced by continued poor reliability to shop for another VoIP provider. Too bad, too, since this company has the foundation to provide excellent service.
-------- Original Review, October 2006 --------
As a newbie to VOIP, I signed up on Monday, 9/19/06, at 3:30 pm Eastern US time for a one month plan to compare the reliability and quality of this service side-by-side with my Verizon POTS phone. The favorable reviews here, combined with forum participation by ViaTalks CEO and a tech support member, were the reasons for my choice in VOIP providers.
My credit card was billed the following day, Tuesday, about 5:00 pm, or about 26 hours after signing up. Within a half an hour of being charged for the service, I received a second email with my new ViaTalk phone number and temporary password to access my account on the web site. When I accessed the website to see my order status, my equipment was shown as shipped and a tracking number provided.
I then signed into the ViaTalk control panel on their website and spent about an hour acquainting myself with all of the basic and advanced phone features available. ViaTalk has an extensive group of features that offer incredible control over ones phone service.
The welcome package with the PAP2 adapter took three days from the time I was billed to arrive at my house. Installation of the PAP2 was a breeze and I was up with a dial tone mere seconds after removing the PAP2 device from the box and connecting it to my phone and existing router (Note: save the PAP2 box and all included instructions, just in case you need to return it to ViaTalk). I then placed a couple of calls to friends and family and noted a few issues with call quality. Intermittent audio and echoing plagued my calls, despite using Verizon FiOS and their plentiful 5 Mbps upload bandwidth as my ISP.
I called tech support, waited only a minute in the queue, and received excellent technical support. ViaTalk support made a quick change to the PAP2 so that it would use a different port, and also sent me an email with instructions on how to move the PAP2 into the routers DMZ. After the port change and the modification to move the PAP2 into my routers DMZ, call quality improved dramatically.
After using the service for one month, I decided that reliability and call quality were good enough (not perfect, however) to take the plunge by requesting the porting of my existing Verizon POTS phone number. Porting my phone number from Verizon to VT (all handled by VT) took 10 calendar days from the time I faxed my request to ViaTalk until the day I received an email announcing its completion. There was a three hour period during the day my number was ported where inbound callers received a This number has been disconnected message, but other than that the porting was painless.
At that point I also took advantage of a one year deal that ViaTalk started during that week, which effectively lowered my monthly bill to about $11.70/month (this included the one month I paid to test the service, the installation and setup fees, and the one year deal). My Verizon POTS service was about $60/month for unlimited calls in the US and Canada, but only included the caller ID and call waiting features.
With a bit over one month of call history now (about 2500 minutes), I have experienced approximately 97% service reliability. Problems occur in the order of one out of every 30 calls or so and range from major issues like no outbound audio or calls that dont complete, to minor issues like occasional echo on either side of the call.
At this point I am happy with my service. My greatest satisfaction comes from having complete control over my phone calls, thanks to ViaTalks extensive list of features and web-based control panel. The "Do Not Disturb" feature combined with a White List (phone numbers I allow through the DND) allows me to turn off my phone (send calls to voicemail) in the evening and back on the next morning, meaning very limited interruptions during dinner and evening prime time.
One other recommendation I discovered is to sign up for VT's priority customer service at $1.95/month for a few months in the beginning. This allows any call to customer service to move up to the top position in the queue, if there is one. The few times I called customer service to date there were 11 to 15 others in line awaiting assistance. Being sent to the top of the queue resulted in much shorter waits on hold.
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updated 1.2 years ago