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Canajun Finances Home » Voice Over IP : Money’s Worth?

Voice Over IP : Money’s Worth?

I was talking with a co-worker yesterday and he mentioned that he had started setting up Vonage as his home phone set up using Voice Over IP. He seemed quite happy with the price and set up (he is very technical but claimed you didn’t need to be).

The set up sounded simple, where you initially get a temporary phone number to start with with your Vonage package, and then you can have Vonage transfer your home phone number over to them, and you get all of the features you want for good prices. Remember to work with Vonage, you must have high speed Internet access to your house AS WELL to get Vonage to work.

Currently, I am paying about $66 a month for Bell local service + a long distance package, and I am pretty sure this is not the best use of my money for phone access. I also pay $80 a month for wireless phones (two numbers), I pay $50 a month for high speed data access as well, and another $66 a month for Cable Television. I keep looking at this lump of about $260-$280 I spent a month and wonder how much cheaper I can make this, while keeping all these services reliable?

  • If I lump everything together with either Bell or Rogers, I get discounts, but every time I talk to either of them, the person I talk to, look at my current account and say I am getting as cheap as I can with them, OR, I cannot change because I am “locked in” to a specific contract? (that is bull poop, all of the wireless contracts are changeable, you just have to be persistent).
  • If I go for the cheapest in each area I would end up with:
    • National Capitol FreeNet broadband access (which has some limitations, but is cheap)
    • Voice Over IP with Vonage or someone like that
    • Pay per use cell phones with Fido or someone of that ilk
    • Cable TV? Maybe I should be thinking about rethinking this and using RSS feeds for TV shows?
    • Buy a long distance card service which only charges 2 cents a minute for long distance in North America.

The problem with the “cheapest” set up is that you get what you pay for a lot of times, I am also very lazy, and changing all of this is a lot of work as well.

My conclusions are that I will most likely continue to complain about this for a while, and might do something about a few things, but nothing too drastic, but I will keep you posted.

On the Financial Big picture question I end up with some more interesting fundamental questions on how some companies do business:

  • How much does BCE make on long distance and home phone access? Strikes me that this is a shrinking market with a bunch of new players attempting to turn all of this into commodity pricing.
  • High Speed home access charges in Canada are still at the Criminal level, and neither Rogers nor Bell are planning on changing that, for as long as they can.
  • Wireless providers like Telus are attempting to make inroads on Bell as well.

So you have a relatively set pie of money being spent by consumers, and MANY different players (and the government keeping larger foreign competitors out of the market), what does this mean for the future? Darn good question, need to look into that more as well.

Feel Free to Comment

  1. 60+$ for Bell !!!

    I would look again in combining with your cable company, you should be able to get a deal (I am with Videotron). My brother has been with Vonage for a long time and has had not problem with it’s service (You can get a North America unlimited plan with all the bells and whistles for 39$…).

  2. More companies are offering discounts for combining services. At Shaw Cable, for instance, you can save by combining your Cable TV, Internet, and phone. Their phone price for unlimited North America long distance is only $65 before any discounts.

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