Other VoIP Providers Eager to Fill In for Vonage
By Robert Poe on April 23rd, 2007
If you're a Vonage customer, you're probably worried
right now. Originally you may have chosen Vonage because
it was the largest independent VoIP operator, which
should also have made it the most stable. But its very
size made it a fat target for Verizon's patent infringement
suit. Now it could conceivably be out of business in
a few days, and you could be stuck without phone service.
Fortunately, there are plenty of other independent
VoIP providers ready to come to your rescue. They're
already offering special deals to get your business,
and they also want to tell you why they think their
service is better than Vonage's anyway. Here's a sprinkling
of what's available:
Packet8 is waiving its $29.95 activation fee for customers
switching from Vonage. It currently offers the first
month's service free for all new customers, with adapter
equipment to connect your standard phone to the Internet
at no additional cost. But even if you weren't in danger
of losing your Vonage service, Packet8 still thinks
you should give them a try, particularly if you're a
That's because Packet8 says the hosted IP PBX services
they offer compare with those offered by sophisticated
enterprise IP telephony systems. Huw Rees, VP of Marketing
at Packet 8, says that Packet8's impressive technological
foundation, illustrated by some 67 patents granted to
parent company 8x8, should give it a strong position
if Verizon decides to extend its patent litigation to
a larger circle of VoIP providers.
Packet8 has seen a slight increase in queries from
Vonage customers looking for a change in service. Because
of its strong business offering, more defections are
coming on the business side than on the consumer side,
Like Packet8, InPhonex will waive activation fees for
Vonage refugees. But unlike Packet8, InPhonex normally
charges customers for the adapters used to connect their
standard phones to the Internet. Still, they make an
exception for Vonage customers, offering the option
to trade in their equipment for credit towards an InPhonex
The advantages of InPhonex mainly involve its international
reach, according to Chief Marketing Officer Todd Hirshorn.
It does business in 150 countries, and lets customers
take advantage of that fact. If you're one of them,
it will provide you, at no extra charge, with 5 or more
virtual phone numbers that friends or relatives overseas
or across the country can dial to talk to you for the
price of a local call.
Vonage's woes have been good for InPhonex's business
"We get called everyday by people saying they
have a VoIP device they got at their local electronics
store, and that tells us immediately it's probably a
Vonage device," says Hirshorn. "We've been
hearing more from Vonage customers in the recent past,
especially since just before the injunction that told
[Vonage] not to accept new customers."
Lingo, like everyone, is also offering
Vonage customers free activation and equipment shipping,
which normally run $40. This comes on top of its popular
promotion providing a choice of one month of free service,
or 6 months at a reduced rate of $17.95, after which
it rises to $21.95. Lingo claims their cost is far more
reasonable than Vonage.
"Lingo has always been a lower
priced alternative," says Marketing Director Jason
Stricker. "We offer all the same features at a
lower price, and often with better call quality."
Lingo also includes calls to more places overseas in
its basic monthly plan, says Stricker, including the
U.S., Canada and 21 other countries.
Like InPhonex, Lingo has also seen
a rise in new consumer prospects, thanks to Vonage.
"Everyone heard about the Vonage
ruling a week or 2 ago," says Stricker. "We
decided to actively go after these customers, and put
together the best plan we could. The response rate is
very high, and calls into sales lines have increased
SunRocket, another leading competitor, is making no
special offers to Vonage customers, feeling that its
$199 annual plan is value enough. It has, however, noticed
a significant increase in queries and subscriptions
from Vonage users, according to corporate communications
VP Jeremy James. Upticks were particularly noticeable
after the initial court judgment found Vonage guilty
of three infringement counts, and after the injunction
(stayed by an appeals court almost immediately) that
said it couldn't sign up new customers.
There are plenty of other independent VoIP operators
willing to take on Vonage customers. To find one in
your area, this site is a good starting point. If you
choose one, your main concern should be to make sure
your new provider offers E911 service where you live.
Otherwise, you may survive Vonage's next court date
unscathed, but won't do as well when you trip getting
out of bed the next morning.
the original article on VoIP News