Review by dev_null
Good "Pricing, 6 sec increments"
- Location: Boston, MA
- Cost: $10 per month
- Install: about 50 days
Bad "Customer support responsiveness (Feb 2011); porting and CNAM issues"
Overall "Excellent quality, very stable"
Ease of Installation:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
Went looking for a provider to which I could port my Manhattan exchange. I have used several VOIP vendors over the past couple of years, and had the best luck with localphone.com (see my other review). With localphone.com I could put my ATA behind my firewall/router and not have to worry about port forwards, DMZ, or anything else. Most of the other providers require some sort of work-around, and VOIP.MS is no exception. But localphone.com couldn't port my Manhattan number, so it got relegated to the "kids phone".
Wanted to try out VOIP.MS, but the up front minimum (2 drinks or $25) was pretty steep even with their 'guarantee' to refund if it didn't work out. Instead, I sent a PM to one of the VOIP.MS folk who frequent the forum, and they generously gave me a buck or so to work with. Experimented with SIP-to-SIP and calls via Inum, forwarding GV via Gizmo, etc., and was satisfied with the quality. The ports and firewall thing took a bit of effort, but got that sorted. Occasional chats with the tech support folk have generally led to successful resolution of whatever issue was pending.
I like the sub-account thing, but I wish that there were fail-over choices for sub-accounts; hopefully that will come. Right now if the router loses registration, all calls go to voicemail, and I would prefer to have some option to fail elsewhere (like my mobile).
Another weird thing is the inability of a sub-account to call the main account. The reverse is built in (x101 for the first sub account), but no way to call the main account back. I found a workaround (dial plan - forward ), but it's kind of a hack.
And about the statistics: as I posted elsewhere, my ATA tells me that the roundtrip delay for my call is on the order of 3700msec. It's not (only a slight delay when speaking), but no other provider has the same thing on the same router. I'd like to be able to solve it, but nothing yet.
The porting process took about 3 weeks, with several rejections along the way. I'm not sure if it is the fault of VOIP.MS or the underlying carrier, but it was weird things like asking for info that the losing carrier would not have (it was a pre-paid VZW MVNO, and I was asked for addresses, SS#, etc, which do not exist on a pre-paid account; the MVNO also stated no record of the requests/failures the first couple of times). At any rate it did complete, and I'm a happy camper.
Will report back as my experience evolves, but I don't expect, based on the other comments in dslr-ville, to have any real issues with VOIP.MS.
Update Feb 2011: Significant problems with customer service handling a simple CNAM/LiDB update. When the original port took place I was told that CNAM could be added at the time of the port or later. When, a week after the port completed, I went to add CNAM, I was told the request was rejected! After pushing back a bit, and having suppafly intervene, they told me they could do an "internal port" to a provider who would support CNAM. Ooookkkaaayyy... another 15-25 days before this would be done.
Flash forward 25+ days. My CNAM has gone from saying Unknown Name (dubious, but hey, a lot of cell phones say that), for which people will answer the call if they recognize the number, to now showing Vitality LLC, which no one will answer.
Customer service now says "6 weeks from the original request", and it will take at least another 2 to update the name to my request. Huh? Are you kidding? Messages to customer service and the dslr reps now go long stretches or unanswered. When I do get a reply it's "we're working on it".
On the plus side, the "internal port" seems to have fixed the wacky roundtrip numbers mentioned above, and with the exception of the NY server acting flaky, the quality of the service has been fine. I wish you could register multiple devices on a single account (rather than using subaccounts all the time) like Localphone, but I can accept this limitation. I also wish there was distinctive ring for phone book entries, which might drive the decision going forward.
Update: March 2011:
The CNAM/LiDB issue has been resolved, at least for several of the providers I use. Some are still showing Vitality, while others now show a funky NY switch name. Again, it's the Vitality thing that throws people. So while I'm unhappy with the process of the updates, I'm satisfied now with the outcome. I have re-adjusted my ratings to reflect this development. It's still harder than it needs to be, IMHO.
Update: June 2011:
After the initial growing pains, VOIP.MS has turned into a reliable, trusted partner. Can't convince the wife to give up the landline, so I've stuck with the paygo model and use it primarily for family and home office calls. I've been very satisfied since the early issues have been resolved and have increased the scores based on my experiences.
Update: March 2013
Still use VOIP.MS for my home office line, it's been pretty solid. Recently went with VOIPO for our home line (all you can eat for 7 bucks a month). Due to a recent relocation, the wife is on the phone for an hour or two a day with the folks back in the old area, so the appeal of unlimited (within reason) at a fixed cost was attractive. Wish VOIP.MS offered the same for residential use.
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updated 1.8 years ago