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VOIPO page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating

bullet 209 reviews (157 good) (29 bad)
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Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: Leawood,Johnson,KS
  • Cost: $6 per month
Good "Excellent call quality, support, price and features."
Bad "No outgoing caller ID showing name, just phone number. No text transcription of voice-mail message by e-mail or text."
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I had Ooma, with lots of phone problems, expensive up-front equipment costs,
double the VOIPo monthly costs, and horrible support Stay away from this
company, especially if you're porting a number or using an AT&T 2-wire
modem-router. Then I had Vonage-no complaints except the price, $36+ per
month, including taxes and regulatory fees. Vonage may be a good choice if
you're making a high volume of international calls. VOIPo, for $165 for two
years ($6.88 per month), including taxes and regulatory fees is wonderful.
Excellent call quality, the best support in the industry (completely US
staff, knowledgeable, capable, cooperative and polite), no charge for
equipment (but you must return it upon termination of service) and almost
all the features you can imagine. The only features of which I am aware
that VOIPo doesn't offer are outgoing caller ID showing you name (it just
shows your number) and transcribed text of incoming voice mails by e-mail or
text (you do get e-mail and text voice-mail notifications, one of them with
the actual message attached as media file.) Unless these two features
deal-breakers for you, you really need to try VOIPo. Although, to get the
best price, you need to pay the two-year total up front, it is my
understanding there is no contract and you may cancel, with a pro rata
refund, at any time. For the first 30 days, I believe they offer a full

(review was emailed from domain ljzlaw.com)
lodged 2.5 years ago


Review by tferguson01 See Profile

  • Location: Newnan,Coweta,GA
  • Cost: $5 per month
  • Install: about 4 days
Good "Simple to ordering process with understandable terms."
Bad "NONE"
Overall "Great prices with upfront terms and prices."
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Gotta love the extra extra features that viatalk never had or couldn't get working. Had viatalk for over 5 years but by year 5 I have had nothing but problems with one way audio and call drop outs. So far this service is second to non. I have moved and not looking back. Service has been running for over two months with no need to restart the ATA box at all the service just works with top notch call quality something viatalk could not provide.

Forgot to mention they offer free outgoing fax service no extra charge which is unheard of. My wifes loves this. We purchased a incoming fax number for a measly 36.00 dollars a year. Can't beat that.

member for 5.1 years, 841 visits, last login: 2.4 years ago
updated 2.5 years ago


Review by usa2k See Profile

  • Location: Canton,Wayne,MI
  • Cost: $16 per month
  • Install: about 4 days
Good "Routing and Phonebook makes things liberating."
Bad "Documentation is coming!"
Overall "Rock Solid, Feature Rich, Customer Oriented."
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

Now its 02-07-2012
Still happy. Simple as that!

So its 05-24-2010 and thought I would check back here.

Still my favorite VoIP Provider.
Love the call filtering - especially in these financial hardship times.
VOIPo has been about to launch their Reseller Plan - still in Beta.
VOIPo reports that they are a profitable company too.


Almost a year since I last reviewed VOIPo! (11/02/2009)

Using 1 residential line. Founder's plan of $99 - no other fees.
This included a virtual number that is now my Line-2.
Awesome Call Filtering
Cloned line
Call routing
Remote access/dialing from my cell. (Great for calling Canada from the road.)
Prices are changing soon for new sign-ups.
The same time, a beta Reseller package is being launched.
Check out VOIPo.com, you won't regret it!

Jim, AKA usa2k

Time for an update 11/24/08
VOIPo is still great. Has not yet gone full throttle ... they have been testing their live chat support. I would not be surprised if some time soon the site gets switched on. ( I know that has bee heard before. ) Still no complaints. I have two VOIPo lines, but do not place any large usage demands.

I canceled an independent Toll-free service I pointed at VOIPo, and have a Windsor Ontario Canada number (voip.ms) pointed at my VOIPo URL. That along with my 734-437-XXXX MI number, and my 352-399-XXXX FL number, cover all my needs.

I am happily using the GS HT286 devices. New customers will get the two-phone port Grand Stream HT502 with built-in router. (If you would rather have the tiny HT286, contact support@voipo.com directly and you can likely get it.) Some people had better results with the HT502.

That's about it for now.

As a beta participant, I did get a good look at the behind the scenes preparation involved in bringing the VOIPo product to the public. Their final design/engineering team is top notch. There was nothing in their process that has rushed their offering to the public. Everything was tested, and they even had their system audited so that they will provide a secure reliable VoIP experience.

The price above is a guess at their 6 month offering. I think you will learn that the discounted price will not lock of the service used, and any remaining will be refunded after deducting the no-discounted portion used - but not exceeding what you prepaid.. (Keep in mind to read the TOS and verify what I say here. Once VOIPo is fully launched, these details will be in black and white and available to read for yourself.)

The features are easily accessed using the VOIPo vPanel web page.

Inbound Routing:
A favorite of mine! I can block everything that is not in my Phone Book.
Whitelist/Blacklist can be applied to numbers or groups of numbers.
You can create as many groups as you need.
Block all then let Whitelist numbers through.
My local area code is 734xxxxxxx so I also allowed 734******** to ring through without being in my Phone Book.
Calls from people in Ontario Canada are not complete in my Phone Book while the Mother-In-Law stays here so I also allow 519******* to ring the phone.
The possibilities are amazing. (Whitelist/Blacklist/Voicemail/Forward/Busy Tone/Disconnected)

Outbound Routing:
I forward the dialed number 613 to 613@fwd.pulver.com so I can try the FreeWorldDialup Echo Test.
I send 411 to GOOG411 information directory (411 to 8004664411)
I send 611 to 8005558355 which is an excellent information service.
550 goes to the wife's cell phone.
551 goes to my youngest daughter's cell phone
552 goes to my cell phone.
554 goes to the Mother-In-Law's home.
555 goes to my work.
You can see all the possibilities.

E911 is a painless entry on vPanel. They will let you choose from more than one possible location. I think that flexibility is referred to as Nomadic E911.

I think a soft phone offering is in the works. Beta testers have used soft phones and the GrandStream Telephone adapter. Your adapter does not need to be feature rich because the VOIPo back-end does the fancy part. The GrandStream will need a port on your router - * - so you need a router to use the TA.

I don't use the user Telemarketer Block, but it is available.

Voicemail on vPanel, from the VOIPo phone dialing 123, and SMS messages ...

Virtual numbers can be added. Toll-free numbers should be available at Launch. I used a Florida Virtual number for a while. So far no indication of more than one Primary number for each account.

There has been a PSTN number during beta to access your Voice Mail remotely by phone.

The beta has never inconvenienced me with any long outage. I really don't recall not having dial tone during the beta. 2/7/2007 is when I received info and setup a Sipura SPA2000 in the early stage. We tested ZOOM TAs for a while. As fancy as they were, the VOIPo service did not need their complexity, and potential to have service issues. Using the GrandStream VOIPo took a lesson from KISS, and likely reduced their start-up investment also.
NOTE: The soft phone should have all the same abilities, because VOIPo does all the work on the back-end, not the device or your soft phone.

If FAX capability is not offered at launch, expect it to come. VOIPo has recognized that FAX has merit. They are also realistic in concluding that reliable FAX is not a VoIP product. It is a number-to-email product for incoming, and a file-upload-to -FAX for outgoing. There has been ongoing testing, and as is the VOIPo way ... you will see it when it is worth every penny,

Call history is a searchable functional feature on vPanel. I could use some way of summarizing total hours for a time period. But VOIPo does listen to suggestions. they may respond to key changes slowly, but when offered, you will see their value. VOIPo like others these days are getting on the scene with a big list of extras compared to traditional phones and the good old early days.

CID+CNAM works. The Phone Book makes you phone even smarter.

I am never sure if outgoing CNAM works as advertised for VOIPo, Vonage, BroadvoxDirect, or Packet8. So many people can map CID to a name, or they don't have a service that does a dip in a LIDB so I'm not sure what I display. I wish there was a free service to call that spells you outgoing CNAM when you call. Most services pass the right name within the provider numbers, so that would be a false test.

BTW there is no Bandwidth Saver and I never thought to ask them what compression they use?

I also would not be surprised if there are things VOIPo may have in the works that us beta testers don't know about. As a beta tester, I have always felt they tell us all we need and tell us much more beyond that.

Some may also point out that VOIPoTim was involved in ViaTalk. Personally, I have never tried that service and have no strong opinion about it. I am glad that VOIPo came to be, no matter the path taken. I feel you will find VOIPo to be forthright, responsive, reliable, reliable, and reliable.

As a beta tester I had a long run of free service. I was paying Packet8 for unlimited service throughout the beta test until July 5th 2008 when I canceled Packet8. I only have great things to say about Packet8 except that their prices were creeping higher over time. When I had Vonage, and BroadvoxDirect, the prices dipped lower, and never went upward, even though new customer's pricing did rise.

As an early beta tester, we will be paying for our service, but our residential price will be better than an average customer can get. VOIPoTim is kind for doing this because the Residential pricing should prove to be competitive when it debuts!

For those biding your time, I hope it has been worth the wait!

9/29/08 More on biding time ...

Those contacting VOIPoTim I believe have been able to get new service.
I expect all the VIP contacts have had opportunity to sign up.

I personally have two lines (beta user discounted), at one year terms each.
If you get multiple lines, like me, you will wish they could be combined in one vPanel interface so the Contact directory and such could be unified and less redundant. Still, all good things come to those that wait. VOIPo is active at the wheel and I see no slowing of their deliberate forward pace.

Only a crystal ball might say when the gates are wide open for business, but they will surely be ready to scale for anything, even over-night.

member for 11.6 years, 5785 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 2.6 years ago


Review by northalabama See Profile

  • Location: Huntsville,Madison,AL
  • Cost: $7 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 6 days
Good "The Price, The Features, The Independent Second Line"
Bad "Paying For Two Years In Advance"
Overall "Best Value I've Found With Features"
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·AT&T U-Verse
1/2012: Great service, great price, great reliability, customer service cannot be touched by anyone, would recommend to everybody, best decision I've made in years.

8/2011: Couldn't be happier with VOIPo. The call routing options (blacklist, busy, forward to voicemail, forward to disconnect message) are fantastic for telemarketers. Had to call customer service a couple of times once I replaced my AT&T wireless gateway to resolve routing issues, but all is well now, and customer service ROCKS!!!

Update 6/2011: Great call quality, terrible customer service hours, oh well.

6/2011: Well, say bye-bye Vonage, hello VOIPo. Went live today, had to call to finalize my number porting, but all is well. I will wait a few days to update any ratings for reliability and quality, still kicking the tires. So far, everything is great, as expected or better.

If you read my Vonage updated review, then you know why this review has been started. Call Quality and Reliability are estimates for now, and will be updated soon, going live tomorrow.

I started research online for my new carrier while on the phone with the nice but incompetent Vonage customer service from a foreign land last week. I read that VOIPo only offers customer service reps from the US mainland, who's primary language is American English. Let's hope I never have to find out if this is true.

So far, best customer service around, easy to deal with tech support for number porting via emailed pdf's, everything has been quick, efficient, and professional. Picked up my router yesterday (that's fast for USPS first class!), and will post my progress in a few days...wish me luck...

member for 13.2 years, 375 visits, last login: 31 days ago
updated 2.6 years ago


Review by (hidden by request)

  • Location: Poway,San Diego,CA
  • Cost Contract price not specified.
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

We went wireless for about 6 months, but needed a base home phone line. So far my VOIPO service has been excellent. The quality is great, even for international calls. I appreciate the ability to get text message and voice messages for all calls I receive. Customer service has been highly responsive, and it took about 15 minutes to set up the system. It's an excellent value and I recommend it to anyone who is tired of high monthly phone bills for little or no service.

(review was emailed from domain gmail.com)
lodged 2.6 years ago


Review by AbleinTruth See Profile

  • Location: Atlanta,Fulton,GA
  • Cost: $18 per month
Good "96% of the experience has been very good, 1% EXCELLENT, & 3% poor"
Bad "1.) Website is unclear about line a few critical things especially the 2 FREE lines, 2.) Too many different people responding to"
Overall "Don't know if I will stay with them longer thann 45 -60 days. Genuniely want this company to work out! Maybe they can turn it ar"
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings below consensus)

On 12.20.'11 signed up with VoIPo. It was seamless... to the point that I thought, "wow, this is AMAZING."

Where I erred... or where I believe I erred was: not getting my conversations over 'Live Chat' in writing.

Firstly, this company needs to provide their new prospects options from which to choose albeit air/transit service etc.. that they wish to utilize while a customer with VoIPo. For many people around the country, the US Postal system is NOT the answer. It is most definitively not mine. On 12.20.'11 VoIPo sent my device out via USPS. On 12.23.'11... it showed online by the USPS that it was 'Out for Delivery'! Of course it never showed up. It is the Post Office and it is the Holiday season. It is now Tuesday, early morning 12.27.'11 and it may show up today during the day; if I'm lucky. So far, not good VoIPo. If you choose not to add other options, please inform your prospects that you use USPS as your courier, please.

2ndPoint … If one were to read VoIPo's Website, it clearly reads that one has the option of having two (2) numbers free of charge. There is terminology on the Website referred to as 'Cloning' which is not clear. When I asked about this during my assessment of which service to select, was unequivocally informed that both my phone numbers would be transferred and that there would not be a charge for the 2nd phone number. Now here comes the 'bait and switch'. Now being told that 'Cloning' infers one line that can ring on two slots. Now why would anyone in their right mind want to have the same telephone number ringing on two separate lines when Call-Waiting is free??? My understanding from VoIPo's agent prior to joining was, that two lines with two numbers is possible except only one line active however two numbers operable. That is NOT the reality now. Now being conveyed that I must pay for my second number that will be virtual. It is not the issue of the money, it is the fact that whoever wrote the Copy on their Website as well as the Agent in the Live Chat did not clearly and thoroughly inform their Prospect of the additional cost becaue somewhere something does did not work as incorrect information, or inconclusively relayed. U$4.00 is not much money, it is the principle. Of course Now forced to pay the U$4.00/ because don't wish to lose the second phone number. The bar has been set high for VoiP; inferring that when their communication box does arrive, the expectation on technological performance/service must be stellar; flawless.

The BEST company I've ever had for VoIP was AT&T CallVantage from 2003-2006. They were very expensive, but all-around EXCEPTIONAL! Wept like a baby when they discontinued service and passed the baton to Uverse. Ever since 2006 it has been extremely difficult to find a company that doesn't have hidden pop-ups or some other sundry issues. Yes, consider this $4.00 charge to be misleading and dishonest after the fact. Tell people straightup in plain language what you have to offer and what things cost. 99.9% of people are not only going to consider cost, I did not in this case; interested in only what works BEST. The question is, had I known what I know now with the additional $4.00 charge to bring my second number across to VoIPo, would I have still signed up with VoIPo? YES! Why? Because I want a smaller more boutique type company for my VoIPo services. After Vonage, interested in a smaller much leaner, cleaner, and quality oriented company as the best option. Believed and thought VoIPo is that company. Will reluctantly acquiesce to the $4.00 charge or will pull back on the 40 countries Plan for now to offset the charge for this initial month and give them a 45 – 60 days evaluation.


1% of their Email staff has been EXCELLENT/OUTSTANDING!

97% has been VERY good!

2% has been poor! OK... two bad personnel in six days is not bad for a startup.


I.) Give your Prospects more options than the Post Office. The Post Office is LAME! In a new cooperation, it reflects poorly on you when the Post Office drops the ball. The customer doesn't see the Post Office which is the problem, they see your business.

II.) Be thorough in your Copy on your Website and do a better job of training your Email, Online Chat, and telephone personnel so that prospects can make an intelligent decision and take ownership in accountability. In exchange, there are not any misunderstandings once the prospect begins the On-Boarding process.

Will be posting in future to inform the Community as to how I'm progressing with VoIPo.

Happy New Year!

member for 2.7 years, 4 visits, last login: 2.7 years ago
updated 2.7 years ago


Review by okiedoke See Profile

  • Location: Fort Lauderdale,Broward,FL
  • Cost: $6 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 486 days
Good "Call clarity, Affordable, Tons of Features, Friendly Customer Service, Easy Installation"
Bad "NONE"
Overall "Great product and well worth the $6.21 a month!"
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

By far the best and cheapest phone plan anywhere. Great service and great reception. If you're paying more than $6.21 a month for UNLIMITED phone calls with over 40 features, you're paying too much.

I've been with VOIPo for almost two years and am very happy to say that I have had great service overall.

I've only had two dropped calls in that time, but turned out it was my cordless phone battery that wasn't charged.

With a 100% money back guarantee, you can't go wrong.

VOIPo is IMHO, the best home phone service anywhere - hands down.


Click for full size

member for 2.7 years, 1 visits, last login: 2.7 years ago
updated 2.7 years ago


Review by dasurber See Profile

  • Location: Indianapolis,Marion,IN
  • Cost: $8 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 5 days
Good "High Qualtiy, Great extra features, GREAT price"
Bad "Web site and documentation is a little weak"
Overall "Have recommended to several friends ..... Great Service and Company"
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I have been on Voipo for about 6 months now. I did a 30 day trial about 2 years ago but they still had some early glitches (primarily with making calls to conference call lines) at that time. This time they seem very solid and the quality and value are very very high. I moved my from Vonage and ported my number over and everything went great. There were a couple of minor normal start up issues but Voipo support worked through quickly. The Grandstream adapter worked just fine for me.. up and running and making calls within 5 minutes. The advanced capability and flexibility via the Vpanel is what really makes this service valuable... the ability to set up Voipo to work with other phones or your own usage pattern and needs is almost infinite. Also like some of the beta features like the fax service...I have to FAX so rarely and this is a breeze to use when you are required by someone to send a fax. After about 4 months on the service I moved my other old ATT land line over to Voipo, that start-up with the second Voipo line went flawlessly and the porting happened quickly and no calls to anyone were required.

I have used Voipo on both my ATT DSL broadband and on my Comcast broadband and it has worked the same on both services with no noticeable difference on either. I have recommended and brought in half a dozen new users to Voipo.... so far all of them are happy with the service and the quality. I wish Voipo had a "user manual" or steps to start up online to help those folks who are less expert in their capability, I might be willing to recommend it to a few more people if that was there and I would know they wouldn't want to call me to help get them set up or troubleshoot. The FAQ's are not great for people who don't have much tech experience is my opinion after many years of helping others with tech challenges. Again overall Voipo is a great service and a great value and I hope they are able to be around for a long time and are able to grow and continue to provide the quality they have so far.

Now a few months later..... Nov 22 2011

While things went great for a few months now over the past couple of months the call completion quality has become an issue. Mostly issues of not being able to connect to other users of Voipo or issues of getting a fast busy signal on the first time trying to call someone and then having to redial the same number before it rings through to the other phone. Their troubleshooting with their tech people has been spotty and I have learned don't even bother trying to use the chat feature as those individuals don't seem to want to listen to what you are telling them is your issue. I saw this cycle a few years ago with Vonage as they grew they were not able to handle the traffic and the quality and call completion became an issue with them. I have stopped recommending this service to friends as I seem to have more issues trying to call Voipo users than I do users that are on other networks. I have adjusted the router as Voipo suggested and it solved the call quality issues there a few months ago. But the inability to complete calls with reliability has me concerned.

member for 3.1 years, 4 visits, last login: 2.8 years ago
updated 2.8 years ago


Review by GeekJedi See Profile

  • Location: Mukwonago,Waukesha,WI
  • Cost: $11 per month
  • Install: about 4 days
Good "Great tech support, easy installation"
Bad "vPanel not real user friendly"
Overall "So far so good. They've impressed me!"
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I'll keep this review updated best I can.

**Update 11/18/11**

Here's the best thing I can say about VOIPo: They announced their "Black Friday" promotion, which is a two year renewal for the price of one. I once again jumped on it, renewing my service out to June of 2015! I've been a happy customer since 2009, and didn't even give renewing a second thought. All I can say is that they've treated me well, and have provided excellent service at a great price. To be fair in my review, I'm not a "power user" looking to use thousands of minutes a month, rather we're an "average" family making a few calls a day. Even with that, it's a tremendous value. The bottom line is that I didn't hesitate to take the risk and extend our relationship out to three more years. Even if they were to (heaven forbid!) close up shop in a year, I'd feel that I've gotten my money's worth and then some.

**Update 6/17/11**

I signed up for VOIPo two years ago, and I can tell you that my only regret is that I hadn't signed up sooner. Full disclosure: We aren't heavy phone users. My wife and I have cell phones, but having a family there still is no substitute for a "house" phone for family and friends. So, there may have been random outages, but we really haven't noticed. It's worked every time we've needed it to - we do occasionally get a "bad" connection, but it's pretty rare. Having said that, their customer service has been PHENOMENAL!! When I first signed up I got their "Free number" that I got to keep in addition to my ported number. Later on I had added another number that was local to my parents. They allowed me to make that the free number and drop the original one, saving me the yearly fee. I've also signed up for their fax service with a local number. Again, don't use it a ton, but every time I've needed it it's worked great.

I love the service so much, that I took advantage of their "Cyber Monday" promo and renewed for two more years. I'm now good through 2013, and I wouldn't hesitate to renew for another two years if given a chance.

**Update 8/23**

I noticed in my vPanel that there was a special price if I chose to renew early for another year. After two months of great service, renewing at this price was a no-brainer. Good to know that I don't need to worry about a phone bill for almost 2 years! I also recently got a virtual number so that my in-laws can call us for free using a local number to them.

VOIPo seems to be launching several new, worthwhile updates as well, such as being able to assign a virtual number to the second port of the ATA, essentially giving you two lines. Also the ability to record calls and more. The service just keeps getting better and better, and I look forward to a continued great relationship with my VoIP provider.

I did hear that they're looking to redesign the vPanel - when that happens, I'll look at updating the Web-site rating.

**Update 7/15**

After a month, I can now comment on reliability. It's great! I've had one glitch, which was more related to my router, but started with a brief outage this morning. I can't say enough about VOIPo's support. They responded within 10 minutes of my request, and even acknowledged my "all-clear" email that I sent after a router reboot fixed my issue.

After dealing with the frustration that is Vonage support, it's refreshing to deal with support staff that are actually technically involved with the product instead of just reading scripts in a call center. Bravo!


After having Vonage for a while I decided it was time to save some money. I've always felt that while Vonage is very reliable, there's been very little innovation. In fact, it seems like they flat out refuse to improve their offerings.

While doing some research, one name came up over and over: VOIPo.

Just about everyone seems to be happy with their service. Looking at their plans online, I saw a great promotional deal - 1 year for $99 ($135 total with E911 fees and taxes) free activation, and free ATA. Three months of Vonage would cost me $90, so it looked like a good deal.

I ordered online on a Thursday, and received the ATA on the following Monday. Plugged the box into my router and got dial tone. Incoming and outgoing calls work great so far, and the quality has been better than Vonage in my opinion.

Here's the part I really liked. I had a hard time accessing their customer forums last Friday, so I sent an email to customer support. I got a reply within 10 minutes that the problem was solved! Unbelievable!

So I begin a new chapter with VOIPo. To be fair, I am leaving the reliability score blank, since I haven't had them long enough to make that determination. The other scores so far are fair. The account control panel (vPanel) is very powerful, but not very intuitive. It does get the job done, however, so I give it an average mark. Everything else so far has been very good.

member for 13.2 years, 5218 visits, last login: a few hours ago
updated 2.8 years ago


Review by Chester2 See Profile

  • Location: Menlo Park,San Mateo,CA
  • Cost: $8 per month (24 month contract)
  • Install: about 3 days
Good "Inexpensive, 2-lines, Buttload of features"
Bad "Can't fax, wiring all home phones takes time and thought"
Overall "I'm saving $40+ a month by dumping AT&T"
Ease of Installation:
Call Quality:
Tech Support:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

My Other Reviews

·Comcast Business..
My home phone bill had grown to $45+ a month: $20 phone, +$10 Caller ID, +$8.50 AT&T LD access, +$4.50 fees/taxes, +a few dollars of toll calls when I forget to dial with Google Voice. To me this is way too much. I wanted to keep my old number that everyone has and I like using the nice speakerphone on my desk but not for $45 a month! Time to look into VOIP.

I did a lot of research comparing prices and features of the many VOIP providers. I narrowed the field down to: Obihai, Phone Power, Callcentric, Ooma and VOIPo. In the end I chose VOIPo because of their low price, good features, and they look like they will stay around a while.

VOIPo's cost works out to about $7.40 a month. $149 for 2 years pre-pay, +$36 fees/taxes totals $185 for 2 years service. Plus, I found a coupon for a free month service on the web so I got 25 months for $185.

I marked VOIPo down for its website. The documentation is poor. Some features are totally undocumented and when they are it is difficult to find. There is a user forum but it appears that the VOIPo staff doesn't read it often as questions often go unanswered there.

I placed my order late Thursday night. Friday I received an email that my ATA had shipped. I received it Monday (signature required). I initially installed the device on my desk next to my computer. Following the simple instructions I had a dial tone in under 5 minutes. I was sent a Grandstream HT502 ATA. I'm told they often send Linksys PAP2T devices which don't have a second Ethernet port. If you don't an empty port on your router or any router at all ask for the Grandstream when you order.

I placed my ATA between my router and PC and using its web interface put it into bridge mode. I changed some settings on my Netgear router that are supposed to improve call quality. I assigned the Grandstream a reserved IP and placed it in DMZ. I also disabled SIP ALG.

Quality of my first calls were mixed. A call to my wife was fine. A call to my mom was garbled she said she couldn't hear what I was saying. A call to my friend was dropped (could have been his crappy cell service). Because of this I was initially a little leary of switching to VOIP but after a day or so everything smoothed out and calls have been great since. If I make back to back calls land line and VOIP I can hear a small reduction of quality in the VOIP call but it is small enough that you wouldn't notice without listening to one right after the other. I made a call with bittorrent running (throttled to about 90% of my broadband capacity up and down) and the call went perfectly.

VOIPo has a 30-day money back policy so I took advantage of that to test my service. You are given a temporary number to use while you are waiting for you old number to port over. I held off sending in my porting documents until I was sure I liked the service.

The temporary number I was sent didn't work. It was in use by someone else. I submitted a support ticket after hours Monday night and receive a reply that it was being looked into that night. The next morning I was given a new number and all was well. A small foul up on their end but Tech Support is excellent.

I installed structured wiring in my home years ago with all the phone jacks coming off a Levetron patch panel. I moved my ATA to the wiring cabinet and from there I can plug it into any/all of my home phones. I used a L1/L2 splitter backwards to connect the two lines coming out of the ATA to one 4-wire phone line. This way I can plug a 2-line phone into a wall jack and have both lines on the phone work. I have my modem/router/ATA on a UPS in the cabinet. This will help keep my phones going in a power outage or as long as Comcast keeps my Internet connection working.

FAX - So far I haven't been able to make my fax modem work. Fax isn't supported by VOIPo but many people say it works. When trying to receive a fax I get a "No receiver protocol (T.30 T1 timeout)" error. VOIPo does offer a free outgoing fax service from the control panel. You can purchase a dedicated fax to email phone number for $36 a year. I'm giving the free Voxox service a try for faxing.

Features - There are a ton of them. Many I will never use. Some I don't even know what they are (back to the poor VOIPo documentation). I really like the cloned second line, Caller ID (of course), Voicemail with email and SMS notification. I haven't used the call routing/blocking features yet but I'm sure I will.

After a week with VOIPo I am happy enough to stay. I sent in my papers to port my phone number over and pull the plug on my AT&T land line. My port is supposed to be done next Tuesday. I'll post how it goes.

===== UPDATE: Tuesday, Sept. 13, 2011

Sun. 9-5 I scanned and emailed the porting paperwork to VOIPo (a form and copy of my last phone bill). The same day I received an email from VOIPo confirming receipt of the documents. You also have the option of faxing the documents but email is easier for me.

Mon. 9-6 I received an email for VOIPo saying that I had a FOC date of Tues. 9-13 for completion of my number port.

Tues. 9-13 Sometime during the day my landline stopped ringing and my VOIP phone started ringing. My land line still has a dial tone, perhaps so I can call 911 on it.

Number porting took about a week and was painless. Call quality is not as good as my land line but for the money I'm saving I'll deal with it. I'll continue playing with my ATA & network configuration and hopefully I can improve the call quality. So far still happy.

===== UPDATE: Wednesday, Sept. 28, 2011

I've been using VOIPo as my main phone service for a couple of weeks now and I am still very happy. The initial call quality problems haven't returned. I bumped the Call Quality rating a notch to reflect this. Calls are quite good with the exception of a light background hiss that only occurs when no one is talking. It goes away as soon as any party speaks.

I really like being able to use my phone and not think about "toll calls" and having to use Google Voice to dial calls.

I've never been able to get my fax modem to work with VOIPo. The good news is that VOIPo offers free outbound faxing that works fine. I signed up with Voxox.com and got a free phone number that among other things does free incoming fax-to-email.

One small annoyance I've come across is a pause after dialing. After dialing *69 it takes at least 10 seconds before a connection is made. At first I thought the feature didn't work but found out I just wasn't being patient enough.

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