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espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2

[VoicePulse] Flexrate for Connect discontinued?

According to the rate sheet I can download through my account, it appears that all US48 prefixes are 1.9c/min flatrate with VoicePulse Connect instead of the variable 0.5-1.9c/min they previously were.

Has anyone else seen an announcement from VoicePulse about this change? Their website says that US48 termination starts at 1.5c/min, but I'm unable to find a single prefix in their US rate sheet at that price.


RockyBB
Premium
join:2005-01-31
Steamboat Springs, CO
said by espaeth:

According to the rate sheet I can download through my account, it appears that all US48 prefixes are 1.9c/min flatrate with VoicePulse Connect
how many monthly minutes do you generate?

Cal96

join:2004-11-05
Oceanside, CA

1 recommendation

reply to espaeth
Thanks for the heads-up.

I use VoicePulse's FlexRate macro from my asterisk system to check their rate. If VP's rate is higher than $0.01/min, then the call is routed through Future Nine. Aside from toll-free numbers, my last call to go through VP was on 06/07/09. So the rate change was made sometime in the last week.

I'll have to figure out how to use up my $13.61 balance...

baliktad

join:2008-11-20

1 recommendation

First of all, thanks for the heads up! I wouldn't have noticed this change myself. I would have appreciated an email notification from Voicepulse that some of their rates were almost quadrupling, but I guess they're not excited to publicize this change, and really only obligated to keep their published ratesheets up to date.

Their rate page indicates the new rates started 08 Jun 2009, and my calls to Southern California (large areas of $0.005/min) all started billing at $0.019/min as of late on the 7th.

I'll probably still keep them as a backup provider, but Voicepulse is pricing themselves out of my calling needs when they're more expensive than virtually every other provider out there.

baliktad

join:2008-11-20
Sorry to double post, but in the process of examining the new rates, I noticed that VoicePulse has also posted new rates that go into effect 15 Jun 2009. The rates are identical except that toll-free numbers (800, 855, 866, 877, 888) are no longer listed. There is no rate given at all for these prefixes, so it's unclear what customers will be charged. My guess is VoicePulse plans to eliminate zero-cost toll-free termination, although it seems pretty risky to bill it at the same $0.019 rate as other US48 calls.

Does anyone maintain a list of other providers that offer toll-free termination at no cost?

nitzan
Premium,VIP
join:2008-02-27
kudos:8
We do. (Future Nine)

Also CallWithUs. Not sure about others although I am sure there are plenty of them.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
reply to baliktad
I believe providers are paid termination for toll-free calls. So I don't see why they would charge the customer for it.


RockyBB
Premium
join:2005-01-31
Steamboat Springs, CO
said by josephf:

I believe providers are paid termination for toll-free calls. So I don't see why they would charge the customer for it.
If anything, they would be paid origination, not termination. And the amount would be so minimal, if the underlying provider even passed it through completely, that it would not compensate for having to maintain capacity, bandwidth and support. "Support" you ask? Sure, read through this forum for all the complaints about not being able to reach toll-free numbers through various providers from time to time. Charging a minimal amount to call toll-free numbers might seem imply a touch of sliminess to your provider, but if you own a cell phone you already do business with such a company.

PX Eliezer70
Premium
join:2008-08-09
Hutt River
kudos:13
Reviews:
·callwithus
·voip.ms
reply to baliktad
said by baliktad:

Does anyone maintain a list of other providers that offer toll-free termination at no cost?
Other choices:

1) Use SipBroker for such calls.

2) One easy way to access SipBroker is through CallCentric: **275*1800xxxxxxx to make an 800 TF call, for example. This service is free, and a CallCentric IP Freedom account is likewise free.

3) There are various free TF termination services that have been posted on this forum. You could try to direct calls to sip.tollfreegateway.com for example.

4) TF calls free through FutureNine and CallWithUs.

cbrain

join:2000-05-21
Silver Spring, MD
Reviews:
·Comcast
·DIRECTV
·Future Nine Corp..
·DSL EXTREME
·Verizon FiOS
·Google Voice
reply to espaeth
Any comment from VoicePulse? I can't find any notice.

I use least cost routing so it simply means no calls now go VoicePulse. A quick look at my call log from VoicePulse shows a few numbers I frequently call jumped from $.009/min to $.019/min after 3-21-2009. The only way these calls could have used VoicePulse is if their flex rate still showed those calls cost less than $.01/min. Not worth the time to ask for a refund but telling as to how they operate.

Anyone want to purchase some $.019/min outbound?


espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
reply to RockyBB
said by RockyBB:

And the amount would be so minimal, if the underlying provider even passed it through completely, that it would not compensate for having to maintain capacity, bandwidth and support.
Capacity and bandwidth tend to not be issues for most of the providers I use for TF termination. CallWithUs, FlowRoute, VTWhite, and grnVoIP are who I have in my outbound dialplan for TF calls right now. All of them handle the SIP signaling only - the RTP streams go directly to the carrier handling the termination of the call.

I rack up anywhere from 700 - 3500 TF minutes a month for conference calls, and my experience with these providers has been fantastic.


espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
reply to cbrain
said by cbrain:

Any comment from VoicePulse? I can't find any notice.
I couldn't either -- that's why I posted asking. It was actually a friend of mine in NY that pointed it out to me, because he noticed his calls were going to his backup carriers and not VP after the FlexRate query. He predominantly used VoicePulse for local NY exchanges that were $0.005/min.

said by cbrain:

The only way these calls could have used VoicePulse is if their flex rate still showed those calls cost less than $.01/min. Not worth the time to ask for a refund but telling as to how they operate.
Interesting -- my CDR also has a couple calls billed at 1.9c/min from last month. Their billing system has always been a little off; sokhapkin See Profile pointed out here that they round-up settlement costs to the nearest penny per call, so even if the rate was 0.5c/min and you made an accidental 5 second call, you'd still be charged a full 1c for the call. With the call volume I crank out it wasn't a big deal, but I could see where bigger customers would have taken issue with this approach.

I've moved them to the bottom of my dialplan now for outbound calls, and now that balance is most likely stranded forever. Oh well, look on the bright side: call setup is a marginal bit faster now that you don't have to bother with the Flexrate lookup anymore.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
Reviews:
·VoicePulse
reply to RockyBB
said by RockyBB:

said by josephf:

I believe providers are paid termination for toll-free calls. So I don't see why they would charge the customer for it.
If anything, they would be paid origination, not termination. And the amount would be so minimal, if the underlying provider even passed it through completely, that it would not compensate for having to maintain capacity, bandwidth and support. "Support" you ask? Sure, read through this forum for all the complaints about not being able to reach toll-free numbers through various providers from time to time. Charging a minimal amount to call toll-free numbers might seem imply a touch of sliminess to your provider, but if you own a cell phone you already do business with such a company.
Correct origination, not termination. My misquote.

I believe Nitzan mentioned Future Nine is compensated for their outgoing toll-free volume.

mykroft4

join:2002-06-04
Kellogg, ID
reply to baliktad
If you look at the very end of the 6/15/09 rate report - the tollfree is listed at the end

"1989996","United States","0.0190"
"1800","United States","0.0000"
"1855","United States","0.0000"
"1866","United States","0.0000"
"1877","United States","0.0000"
"1888","United States","0.0000"

baliktad

join:2008-11-20
It seems there is no difference now between the 08 Jun and 15 Jun ratesheets. The omission of toll-free rates must have been an error last night (I checked the copy that I downloaded and they are definitely not there) that has since been corrected.

Nothing to see here, let's get back to mourning the loss of FlexRate for US48 termination.

cbrain

join:2000-05-21
Silver Spring, MD
Reviews:
·Comcast
·DIRECTV
·Future Nine Corp..
·DSL EXTREME
·Verizon FiOS
·Google Voice
said by baliktad:

...
Nothing to see here, let's get back to mourning the loss of FlexRate for US48 termination.
Where is the loss or need for mourning with outbound FlexRate?

Provider A is dead ... long live provider B, C & D.

OH ... and welcome back provider A when you get it back together.

ChuckIL9

join:2005-11-07
Peoria, IL
reply to espaeth
said by espaeth:

I've moved them to the bottom of my dialplan now for outbound calls, and now that balance is most likely stranded forever.
I've had luck in the past with getting Voicepulse to refund the balance to my credit card when I cancelled a Voicepulse Connect account. If you plan on not using them for termination anymore, send a support ticket and they will likely refund your balance.


espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
said by ChuckIL9:

I've had luck in the past with getting Voicepulse to refund the balance to my credit card when I cancelled a Voicepulse Connect account.
Thanks, I'll give that a shot this week.

This pricing move really removes VoicePulse from having any kind of reasonable play in my dial strategy for US48 term. Right now I'm using:

grnVoIP - $0.0100/min flat rate, 6 sec billing
FlowRoute - $0.0107 (after USF) flat rate, 6 sec billing
Voip.ms - $0.0125 flat rate premium route, 6 sec billing
Vitelity - $0.0144 flat rate, 30 second billing

grnVoIP gets 99.999% of my US48 termination
FlowRoute is my primary International provider, secondary for US48
Voip.ms and Vitelity are mainly DID providers for me, but they are my 3rd and 4th backup US48 termination providers.

The only play I had for VoicePulse was using them for their 0.5c/min - 0.9c/min rates, if those are gone then I doubt I'd ever send another call their way. The quality of calls were great, but the reality is I can talk over twice as long (factoring in VP's 30 sec increments and per-call settlement rounding) for the same price with my other providers and the call quality is equally as good.

cbrain

join:2000-05-21
Silver Spring, MD
Reviews:
·Comcast
·DIRECTV
·Future Nine Corp..
·DSL EXTREME
·Verizon FiOS
·Google Voice
reply to espaeth
What we're missing here is an explanation from VoicePulse. Why would they offer a script to enable lease cost routing then increase pricing enough to assure the loss of all outbound calls?

I'm glad they do the right thing and refund unused deposits, but I plan to wait and see what they have planned.

nitzan
Premium,VIP
join:2008-02-27
kudos:8
My guess is they just got sick of providing cheap termination (and support) and decided to concentrate more on calling plans. From a provider perspective I can tell you I want to bang my head against a wall whenever we get a support ticket from a $1/month PAYG customer so I totally understand them.

We recently had a guy open 4 support tickets in 48 hours. I reviewed his account and he made 16 cents of calls in 3 weeks. The profit on these was something funny like 3 cents. Handling even ONE support ticket for this guy would render him unprofitable forever essentially. We still handled it because that's what we do - but every time I get a guy like this I honestly don't know what to do.

One option I've been seriously considering is creating a sort of point system where you'd get 1 free ticket for every $X credit purchased. That'd essentially give you the first ticket free, but tickets beyond that will require you to actually use your account enough to justify getting free support.

Another option is to require a monthly minimum of a few bucks from all accounts - although I'm sure this will turn some people off so don't know if it's such a good idea.

josephf

join:2009-04-26
What about charging for support (i.e. $3 a ticket) for customers under, say, $10/month usage?

nitzan
Premium,VIP
join:2008-02-27
kudos:8
That's essentially the idea. Give the first ticket free, then charge for support if you don't actually use your account enough to justify free support.

soitgoes2
Premium
join:2005-01-14
reply to nitzan
said by nitzan:

Another option is to require a monthly minimum of a few bucks from all accounts - although I'm sure this will turn some people off so don't know if it's such a good idea.
not a good route--look at voicestick

nitzan
Premium,VIP
join:2008-02-27
kudos:8
I think the problem with VoiceStick was less about implementing the minimum requirement, and more about HOW they implemented it. Their newsletter all but said "we don't want you as a customer if you make less than $50/mo in calls".

Again- the idea is not to get rid of low usage customers. It is to keep the support load manageable. I have no problem with very low usage customers as long as they are self-sufficient and don't need support.

cbrain

join:2000-05-21
Silver Spring, MD
Reviews:
·Comcast
·DIRECTV
·Future Nine Corp..
·DSL EXTREME
·Verizon FiOS
·Google Voice

1 edit
reply to espaeth
FWIW ... I sympathize with what you are saying here.

After SunRocket I decided to go month to month pay/go with the thought my providers would benefit from my increased usage, look forward to my frequent payments and we would prosper together. About that same time my cell company offered a promo of unlimited UMA, in network and 5 Favs usage. This seriously cut my VoIP minutes. I like both VoicePulse and Future Nine. I haven't used support beyond initial setup. Nitzan posted an honest assessment of low usage accounts about a month ago. I moved to F9's $13.50 plan so I would become a more cost effective customer for them. In the past, even though my desk phone might be preferred, my cell saved minutes. Now I use F9.

I don't like the way VoicePulse is handling whatever they are now doing. I'm not ready to ask for a refund but I'm also not sending any calls their way. I left VoiceStick for similar reasons. I didn't like the way they handled the first change and stopped sending calls, then used my credit and quit after the changes early this year. For working VoIP users, $10 to $20/month isn't a game changer if you like the provider.

Perhaps Nitzan should offer customer service training to other VoIP providers.


Richie

join:1999-08-26
Tinley Park, IL
reply to Cal96
Kind of ironically, I stopped routing outbound calls through VoicePulse a couple of weeks ago, because I was getting complaints about poor audio quality on some calls especially during the last morning / early afternoon. Checked the network stats on our end, and there was nothing unusual. Also, we use CallCentric for DIDs and haven't had any complaints. The funny thing with VoicePulse was that we could make an 800 call during the same time that we were having poor audio quality on another outgoing call and it would sound crystal clear. I'm wondering if they changed or are changing their providers?

nitzan
Premium,VIP
join:2008-02-27
kudos:8
It is quite possible that they've been running into capacity issues, and instead of increasing capacity, they decided to "decrease demand". All speculation of course.

cbrain

join:2000-05-21
Silver Spring, MD
Reviews:
·Comcast
·DIRECTV
·Future Nine Corp..
·DSL EXTREME
·Verizon FiOS
·Google Voice

1 recommendation

reply to espaeth
I haven't seen VoicePulse address this issue here or anywhere else so I just called. A very smooth rep effectively delivered a whole lot of words to say some of our rates may have increased. Never would acknowledge that 100% of US was now $.019/minute. He then went into a wordy spin as to why. He had a nice way so I let him finish then asked if there were any possibility your rates will go back to $.01/min or below. Eventually I got a no. No answer as to why some calls were billed @ $.019 as early as March and he insisted the FlexRate should have been updated at the same time. No comment on the lack of notice.

They will be sending me a check in about 10 days.


espaeth
Digital Plumber
Premium,MVM
join:2001-04-21
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:2
The crazy thing is by implementing the FlexRate API they were encouraging people to have alternate providers in their dialplan. They've automatically taken themselves out of a good portion of their customer's dialplans simply by ratcheting up the pricing of their per-minute rates.

I wonder if they are just hoping most people don't notice and don't cancel? As a pre-pay provider, it can't look good for their balance sheet to have to crank out a bunch of refunds in a short time span?


Richie

join:1999-08-26
Tinley Park, IL
It seems that VP has try to market themselves as a "business class" service which they seem to think means be pricey. I was always shocked that their termination was as cheap as it was when they were charging eleven bucks a month for a DID which didn't even include inbound or outbound CNAM. Same with their "failover" service for which they charge 20 bucks a month.