Review by MichelR
Good "Cheap, generally reliable, responsive tech support"
- Location: Ottawa,ON
- Cost: $4 per month
- Install: about 1 days
Bad "Occasional problems with the line, setup can be intimidating for some"
Overall "Hard to beat for that kind of money"
Ease of Installation:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)
I've been with voip.ms since mid/late February 2012 when I decided I'd had enough paying nearly $50/month for Rogers Home Phone. The pay-per-use billing was ideal for me since I don't use the phone much, and that certainly helps keep my cost low: fixed monthly cost is $0.99 for the DID and $1.50 for e911, and then after that it's only the time spent on the phone, which bring me anywhere from $2.75 to $7/month so far.
I looked around quite a bit when I started flirting with the idea of moving to VoIP, which included first looking at the big guys like Vonage, MagicJack and Nettalk. Coming across the VoIP Tech Chat forum, I started looking at BYOD providers. When I saw voip.ms' web site I wasn't drawn in at first, since at first sight it didn't really look like a residential provider. Further research proved me wrong. I must say that the web site was pretty intimidating at first - kind of a maze to some extent, and you do need to learn a bit about the terminology before it all starts to make sense. It didn't help that back then the site could be very, very slow. This last problem hasn't been an issue for many months, so it looks like they took care of that. As for navigating, once you've used it a bit, it's actually relatively easy to get around.
Setting up the account with a PAP2T-NA was relatively easy: I first followed the setup instructions in the voip.ms wiki, then fine-tuned things further using Mango's PAP2T setup recommendations. From removing the device from the box to making my first call, there was a total of about 40 minutes, half of which was looking for that extra phone I knew I had in a box somewhere. Not bad at all. While the setup may be intimidating at first, I would recommend doing what I did (I knew nothing about VoIP less than 24 hours before setting up my account): Read up a bit in VoIP Tech Chat, check out the voip.ms wiki, and contact their tech support if you have questions. I wasn't sure about a couple of things before signing up and got some detailed and helpful answers from support staff. When I decided to port my number from Rogers, it took about 7 days (including the weekend, where nothing happens so that doesn't count). The day of the port, my number was unreachable for a few hours in the morning (I was kind of expecting that). I got an e-mail from voip.ms as soon as the port was completed.
Most of the time the call quality is just fine and the line works. I've had occasional issues with:
- echo on the line: That happens rarely and usually goes away after a minute or so
- Delay before I hear the other phone rings: this was an issue early on, but I have only encountered this a couple of times over the past few months
- Delay for one or both parties when one of the parties answers the phone: Not as bad as it was in late spring/early summer, but happens on occasion
- Calls not getting through: I've had people tell me 3-4 times that they either got a busy signal or the phone would ring endlessly. I knew I was home at those times, and the Call Detail Records did not show the calls, so they never even made it to voip.ms (sounds like an issue with a carrier) I've had this happen recently, though in that particular case it seemed like an issue with the Montreal server since some people posted about it...
There are occasional server availability problems, though it's only been a direct issue for me once or twice. One thing I do find annoying is that if you change servers, the voicemail account doesn't follow: If you have messages on one server, they are not available when you are registered to another server. You also need to record your voicemail-answer message on each server you use. Hopefully it's in the company's plans to eventually address this.
Overall I'm very satisfied with the service. Except for late spring/early summer I've only had problems on occasion and generally this works just as good as a POTS line. 99% of the time call quality is very good to excellent. I've had to deal with tech support a couple of times and they were usually very fast and helpful in answering, even when I set the ticket priority to "Low". I know voip.ms are working on enhancing reliability, so I expect things to only get better.
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