Watching the Olympics I’ve seen ads for AT&T’s CallVantage, a VOIP service similar to Vonage and Lingo (any others?). All three have the basics – Unlimited calling to US & Canada, voicemail, call waiting/forwarding, 911 support, caller ID & 3-way calling. However, each has a feature or two that the others don’t. AT&T has Do Not Disturb (no big deal) and Personal Conferencing up to nine people (wow!). Vonage has a soft phone (i.e. an app that acts like a phone so you can call and receive calls while on the road). Lingo is the cheapest ($20 a month + 3 free months) and Western Europe is included in the unlimited free calling area (hello brother-in-law from Germany). I’m leaning towards Lingo as I don’t need personal conferencing (I organize groups of people outside my immediate family with email) and when I travel with my family, I don’t really spend much time online so the soft phone is of limited use. One issue – checking out Broadband Reports VOIP reviews, Lingo sounds like it’s got really awful tech support. But, with three months free, I’m hoping I can try it out and cancel it if it’s a problem.
Update: I called Lingo and they confirmed they have an activation fee as well as a 30 day cancellation policy. So while the first three months are free, you pay $10 S&H and $30 to activate. If you cancel the service in the first 30 days, you can get your $30 back. And there is no service contract, so you can cancel anytime (not sure if the other services require a contract or not).