4.22.2006

voip

Why don't more Canadians use VoIP?

VoIP - voice over internet protocol - is an easy and very inexpensive way to get excellent phone service. Through Vonage, Canadians can get unlimited local and long-distance calling for a flat rate of $39.99 per month. I brought my US Vonage service with me, so I'm only paying $24.95 (US) per month. But even in Canadian dollars, this is a bargain.

One flat rate, unlimited local and long distance, anywhere in Canada or the US, plus lots of little extras. All services like voice mail, call forwarding, call waiting, caller ID and such are all free, and you can enable or disable them as you choose. Those services are usually free in the US, but apparently not in Canada, so it's even more of a bargain.

You can pick up your voice mail on the internet. You can add on phone numbers in other area codes. For example, if your mom in Montreal calls you in Vancouver every week, for an additional $5.00 a month, you can give her a Montreal phone number, so she can reach you through a local call. We kept our 212 number - highly valuable phone real estate in New York - and added on a 905 number for an extra $4.95 a month. Vonage also has the best international rates, period.

All you need is high-speed internet service. You get a router, you use any phone, set it up, and forget it.

28 comments:

Miche said...

Great tip! Will have to investigate further...

andrea said...

Skype is even cheaper, but it's more limited of course.

James said...

Why don't more Canadians use VoIP?

Probably because it's only been up here for a few months. That, and the Vonage ads are really annoying.

L-girl said...

Skype is even cheaper, but it's more limited of course.

Right. With VOIP you use an ordinary phone.

Probably because it's only been up here for a few months. That, and the Vonage ads are really annoying.

When I looked into it a year ago, Vonage was already in Canada. I guess it didn't have much visibility. Ultimately I decided to bring my US service with me, but I could have switched to Canadian Vonage that long ago.

I don't find the Vonage ads particularly annoying - I mean, no more annoying than any other phone company. I would think most Canadians would consider the savings worth it. ;-)

James said...

When I looked into it a year ago, Vonage was already in Canada. I guess it didn't have much visibility.

I only started noticing the ads recently.

I don't find the Vonage ads particularly annoying - I mean, no more annoying than any other phone company.

Annoying ads tend to put people off of investigating something new (which requires effort) -- they're unlikely to make people leave a service they already have (staying takes no effort). Unless they're really insulting.

That plastic-masked pseudo-Shakespearian character is just creepy. Sort of like the new Burger King character.

L-girl said...

That plastic-masked pseudo-Shakespearian character is just creepy. Sort of like the new Burger King character.

Wait, what's this? The Burger King king totally creeps me out. (How 'bout that guy who wakes up in bed with him?? Geez, I'd run for the shower!)

But you're saying there's a Vonage character like this? The only Vonage ads I know are people-on-the-street "how do you like your Vonage service?" clips. "It's as easy as making a phone call" and "The only thing different is extra money in my pocket" - stuff like that. Very ordinary.

Scott M. said...

The only Vonage ads I know are people-on-the-street "how do you like your Vonage service?" clips. "It's as easy as making a phone call" and "The only thing different is extra money in my pocket" - stuff like that. Very ordinary.

That'd be OK. The Vonage Canada commericals, however, are just annoying. They drive me away, much like the Walmart ads do.

I used to say "Thank goodness for HBC and Canadian Tire", but now I'm down to just "Thank goodness for Canadian Tire". How long will that last?

Scott M. said...

Oh, and do Vonage and ING Direct have some kind of weird marketing agreement? Their orange billboards are both ubiquitous and annoying.

James said...

But you're saying there's a Vonage character like this?

There was, though I haven't seen him for a while. Dressed sort of 15th, 16th century European, with the same insipid plastic grin as the Burger King ad. Can't find examples now.

Basically, the ad said to me, "We obviously have very poor judgement in advertising, so how can you trust our judgement in technical matters?"

L-girl said...

The only Vonage ads I know are people-on-the-street "how do you like your Vonage service?" clips. "It's as easy as making a phone call" and "The only thing different is extra money in my pocket" - stuff like that. Very ordinary.

That'd be OK. The Vonage Canada commericals, however, are just annoying.


These ARE Vonage Canada ads. I've seen them all weekend watching the Blue Jays. They are on Canadian TV for Canadian Vonage. I promise.

L-girl said...

Oh, and do Vonage and ING Direct have some kind of weird marketing agreement? Their orange billboards are both ubiquitous and annoying.

They don't, but Ing is great. They can paint the town orange afaic - they're so good.

Vonage is really an excellent company too. The reason I was surprised that more Canadians didn't use VoIP is that people make a big fuss over long-distance calls and rates. You can't beat a monthly flat rate for local and long distance.

I haven't seen this phony Elizabethan guy, though. Maybe they got wise and gave him the hook.

Scott M. said...

Another reason why we're slower adopters up here, in general, would be the fact we have had the least expensive basic phone service in the world for a decade now.

Ask any Canadian about inter or intra-LATA phone calls and they'll stare at you like you're from outer space. You can regularly get $0.045/min LD 24/7 to North America and select European countries with no minimum fee, all local calls are free, and local calling areas are large.

Local service fees are regulated by the CRTC for all ILECs (Incumbent telephone companies) and they generally only make money on the "features" such as Caller ID, etc. If there was a large cost savings for folks they'd flock there, but right now the cost savings for most turn out to be less than $10/month, and in many areas they can't keep their same phone number, so what's the point?

L-girl said...

Another reason why we're slower adopters up here, in general, would be the fact we have had the least expensive basic phone service in the world for a decade now.

That's amazing. If this is true, then Canadians (generally speaking) must be the cheapest people on earth. So many people talk about the price of long-distance, and make a big thing about making a long distance calls.

Through my own error, my 905 number is not in the local calling area for Toronto. For friends in Toronto or Mississauga, it's like calling Hamilton. You can't imagine the fuss people make over this. Several people from Toronto will not call me because of it. (I don't mind! But I find it astonishing.)

People regularly tell me how they got this great long-distance deal, etc. etc.

So because of this, I was under the impression phone service was very expensive here.

So you're saying local + long distance flat rate of $40/month is not particularly a good deal? Because in the US, Vonage is a substantial savings.

Scott M. said...

Your basic local line is $22 plus tax. That would get you free local calling to Toronto, Mississaugua, etc. At 4.5c/min, you would need to use up 400 minutes to bring the service up to $40 before taxes. I don't use that much so it's not worth it.

Where the phone companies make their money is on Caller ID and Voicemail ($8 apiece each) and that and extensive LD users are where Vonage and others can steal the market. It's a small market though.

When people get peeved with the phone company they'll switch now that they can get a VoIP-based dedicated service with their cable company or Vonage, etc. But for the savings of a few dollars, it's not worth it for others.

Oh, and because we've had LD competition for nearing two decades now, anyone who complains about dialing LD within North America is being cheap. But you know what? I'd complain too if my neighbour was silly and got an out-of-local phone number. Why are they expecting me to pay their bill?

Yes, that's right, I'm a cheap Canadian and I'm proud.

L-girl said...

Oh, and because we've had LD competition for nearing two decades now, anyone who complains about dialing LD within North America is being cheap.

Thank you for confirming that. However...

But you know what? I'd complain too if my neighbour was silly and got an out-of-local phone number. Why are they expecting me to pay their bill?

... I am not expecting anyone to pay for anything. I am perfectly happy to have my phone ring less!

I can't help but think it's ridiculous that any middle-class person would refuse to make a phone call that might cost them 15 cents. I'm not referring to gabbing, just to a quick call to confirm plans.

If that's something to be proud of, I hope I never become Canadian in this respect. To be that frugal borders on sickness.

Scott M. said...

To defend middle-class Canadians, I think it can be percieved (by others, in reality I wouldn't care) that you obtained your service to save money. However, this has passed the cost on to others, and they may be a bit irked at that.

There are two things at play here:

1) For the longest time, LD was EXTREMELY expensive up here and for folks 45 and older, it's been drilled into your head that you make LD conversations as short as possible. I am very forgiving of these folk.

2) There's still a lot of people who haven't looked into their phone bill to see why they're paying $45/month and can't understand it and just get annoyed when their bill goes up. They're the people I have difficulty forgiving.

L-girl said...

To defend middle-class Canadians, I think it can be percieved (by others, in reality I wouldn't care) that you obtained your service to save money. However, this has passed the cost on to others, and they may be a bit irked at that.

Nope. None of them know why I have the 1-905 number. I have never explained to anybody.

What's more, the 905 number costs me MORE. I could have easily just kept my 212 number, but felt that would be an imposition to those around me. So I chose to spend more every month for the additional number, thinking it would be local for GTA friends and neighbours.

However, because I didn't realize not all 905 numbers are the same, I chose an out-of-area number. That part was my error.

But getting the 905 number in the first place costs me more and I did it for other people's convenience.

Scott M. said...

But getting the 905 number in the first place costs me more and I did it for other people's convenience.

Ahh yes, but that's hard to see. Many may think you chose a Hamilton number because staying with Vonage would save you money and you didn't care about people calling you. That being said, just out of curiosity, now that you know it's outside your local calling area, what's been your reason for keeping it? Do you know a lot of people in the steel city?

L-girl said...

Ahh yes, but that's hard to see. Many may think you chose a Hamilton number because staying with Vonage would save you money and you didn't care about people calling you.

But again, I repeat, no one has any idea why I have a Hamilton number.

They don't know that it costs me more, true. But they also have no reason to believe that it saves me money. In fact, most people assume I use Bell and it's their error. Most people I've met don't realize that you can use anything but Bell.

I assure you, no one has the impression that I'm using a Hamilton number to save money. They simply do not want to spend a few cents to make a phone call.

And, thanks to you, I've learned that it's not because long-distance calls are expensive. It's because these people are cheap.

That being said, just out of curiosity, now that you know it's outside your local calling area, what's been your reason for keeping it?

By the time I learned it was not a Mississauga number, I had already used it on several official-type things, like immigration, banks, business cards, health care, employment agencies, etc. I couldn't get a recording giving out another number, so I felt it best to keep it.

Now that I know the issue is only cheapness, I am so glad I didn't bother!

redsock said...

The Referee Says:

Much like being the first person to bring up Hitler in a discussion/argument, using the phrase "that being said" means you (and any opinions you state) are wrong.

Point, L-girl.

L-girl said...

Much like being the first person to bring up Hitler in a discussion/argument, using the phrase "that being said" means you (and any opinions you state) are wrong.

LOL. That being said, Hitler is sometimes a useful rhetorical device.

Vera said...

I've had VoIP for five months now and really don't care for it. When my Sympatico DSL goes down - which is often (once for 3 days!) - of course my phone line is down too. What really drives me up the wall is the regularly with which it drops calls. No doubt about it, a land line costs more, but is hugely more reliable. If you're only looking at LD and don't care about the other issues it's terrific, but if you want reliability it's just not there IMHO.

L-girl said...

That's interesting - and I can imagine it would be very annoying!

I never had DSL (it sucks in the US) so I have no experience with that.

VOIP definitely depends on a reliable connection. On the very rare occasions when our Rogers internet connection is down, we still have phone service.

L-girl said...

But I will add to that, I would never have VOIP without some kind of backup phone like a cell phone, just in case.

If you don't already have a cell phone, that would be a problem. But if you have one anyway, that should be enough, at least in my experience.

Vera said...

I have a cell and that was my thinking when I took VoIP - it would be my backup. I have the old "City Fido" plan with unlimited calls, so I don't worry too much.

I've had both DSL and cable through Rogers, and unfortunately had trouble with both. I have an intense dislike for Rogers which is why I chose not to have cable when I moved. There's no winner between these two choices.

L-girl said...

I have an intense dislike for Rogers which is why I chose not to have cable when I moved. There's no winner between these two choices.

I always hear how bad Rogers is - and I can relate, as everyone in NYC hates Time Warner, the cable monopoly there.

But I haven't had a single problem with Rogers (knock wood). Service has been great, and any time I need anything, like changing my cell phone plan, the phone reps are terrific. I don't know if I'm a rare exception?!

James said...

That's amazing. If this is true, then Canadians (generally speaking) must be the cheapest people on earth.

As Bowser & Blue say, "'Twas the Scots that made this country"...

James said...

If that's something to be proud of, I hope I never become Canadian in this respect. To be that frugal borders on sickness.

As Bowser & Blue said, "'Twas the Scots that built this country". Frugality bordering on sickness is a traditional stereotype of the Scot, after all. It's probably ingrained into the national consciousness. "He'd pinch his pennies so tight the Queen would scream."

'Course, I don't even use my land line. I just have it as a number to give to companies so their telemarketers don't pester me. I do all my local and long-distance phoning over my cell.