On average, VoIP providers charge $24-$30 per month for unlimited long distance and local calling. Other providers have annual rates which can knock those charges down to $14-$17 per month.
Sound good so far? I thought so too, so I signed up with the ill-fated SunRocket company on an annual contract. On the plus side, my contract was nearly over before they went belly-up with nary a word to their customers. The downside, is that they went belly-up with nary a word to their customers.
However, the 11 months of phone service prior to their demise was great! Sound and reliability were excellent. Unless I told my callers, no one knew that I was using a VoIP provider.
Given my great experience with SunRocket, I thought all VoIP providers would be pretty much the same; which is why I jumped to sign with the first VoIP provider who had a comparable annual plan to SunRocket. My only question was, "How long have you been in business?" After a satisfactory answer, I was a new Vonics.com customer.
It wasn't long before I was sorry. Drop outs in service were frequent; sometimes even their website wouldn't come up. Customer service was atrocious. I started researching customer reviews and found that there were a lot of people who were more than a little disgruntled over their service. I waited longer than I should have to bail, thinking, that the company was going through growing pains with the sudden influx of old SunRocket customers, but Vonics never stabilized.
On to the next...Voip.com. I looked up reviews prior to signing on with Voip.com, but sadly, I didn't read enough of them. Long story short...their service was tolerable relative to what I went through with Vonics, but in the end the service became abysmal and I actually lost my service all together for about 4 days just before my phone number was ported over to the next company on my quest for the best VoIP provider.
PhonePower.com I struck gold! This time I reviewed numerous consumer feedback sites and paid careful attention to the number of good vs. bad reviews. Overwhelmingly the reviews were a big thumbs up for PhonePower.com. I am really pleased with their service. I had occasion during the set up of their adapter to call customer service and, this is shocking, they were KNOWLEDGABLE and HELPFUL!
So here is the best advice I can give when shopping for a VoIP provider, do your research. Don't believe the company's advertising hype. Pay attention to actual customer reviews and feedback. Check several review sites. They're easy to find with a Google search.
Tips: Unlimited calling doesn't necessarily mean unlimited calling. VoIP providers sometimes put a cap on number the of minutes per month. For instance PhonePower.com, with whose service I am quite enamored, has a limit of 2000 minutes for outgoing calls. That won't be a problem for me, but it might be for you. Read the terms and conditions carefully and ask questions if you don't understand.