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I am wanting to get a US online phone number for VOIP toll free calls to/from USA & Canada. Skype seems relatively pricey for their online number, so I looked into MagicJack as a cheaper alternative. The more I looked, I started seeing quality, renewal, and other customer service issues with MagicJack. Alternatives that come up are OOMA and NetTalk - NetTalk Duo.
It's a bit confusing, and I'd love some feedback and direction. What works well here in Boquete? What seems most economical yet of reasonably good quality?
Thanks for your help.
Best VOIP that I have found is Ooma. With a 1 meg down load and at least half a meg up load you should have very clear calls. Ooma has a larger upfront fee, but I think it is worth it for the quality it provides. There is a small few dollars a month charge after that.
I've used magic jack but while it does work the quality is very much lacking.
We used Vonage in the States and just brought the equipment with us and we have clear service. The only give away that raises people's suspicions that we are not in Houston are the all of the birds chirping in the background.
It will depend on the speed of your internet service - where you live. Some places like Arriba Volcancito do not have cable internet.
We use Planet Telecom - wireless - 2 Mbps - no problem.
When we were living in lower in Volcancito - we used Mobile-Net - 0.5 Mbps came with the rental and calls were choppy at times and the internet and downloads were sloooow - we upgraded to 2 Mbps and the calls were ok.
If you are interested in Vonage, go to their website, they usually have good specials for new customers,
Hope this helps.
In Panama, we've tried Vonage, Magicjack, and Ooma. Ooma seems to provide the best quality of the three. A one time fee to buy ( about $200), but if you are using this to call friends and family in the states there are no other fees that I am aware of if the area code you set up is a local U.S. area code.
Gordon.....the Ooma looks interesting.......always looking to save money.......
do you have wireless or are you one of the fortunate ones who have cable internet?
what speed do you have?
We are wireless, paying for 1 Meg, through Planet Telecom, so internet speed is an issue for us. Vonage, Magicjack, and Skype have all had some dropout/ reliabilty issues for us. So far, pretty great service using Ooma.
BTW, the Ooma unit, like Magicjack Plus, is a stand alone unit that does not require direct connection to your computer, but does require the use of your computer to set up.
thanks Gordon.......we look forward to the day we have cable internet up here - we pay a premium for wireless - we pay a little more with Planet Telecom for 2 Mbps/download for a better quality for video - we get Dish Network here using a sling box
My wife and I have used Skype since we moved here two months ago with no problems. We pay $2.99/month for the U. S. based number we signed up with, the number all of our family and friends in the states use to contact us. We pay no extra fees to call the U. S. For local calls in Panama, we pay 35 cents per call.
We use Google Voice to capture any messages left when we are out or not online. No charge for that. We'll pick up a cell phone next year for local calls when we are out more.
Is Skype the best? I don't know, but it's cheap enough to try out for comparison purposes.
The quality of your internet service is the biggest factor to consider. No VOIP solution will work well without stable internet. Voice packets are prioritized on some services which does help in low bandwidth situations.
I have used skype for six years here. I had magic jack for a while and it worked but a key feature for me was seamless forwarding from Skype to my cell phone. Only Skype had the feature of forwarding to an international cell phone. Another Skype benefit to me is that I can make and receive Skype calls from my iphone or iPad. For me those are great features.
They have annual plans that will provide a US number and unlimited calls to US and Canada.
I have used both Skype and MagicJack in Panama as well as elsewhere in the world.
They both work well, but not always. You do have to have a good steady internet connection. Steady (low latency and not to much jitter are more important than the absolute speed.) There are speed tests designed to check the suitability of your internet connection for VOIP.
I prefer to use MagicJack for calls to the US and Canada as there is no additional cost per minuter above what you paid for your annual fee.
Also MagicJack has an app for smartphones. Similar to Skype's app that allows you to make free calls using just your cell phone with no need for a computer. Just as with Skype you can connect either using your phones 3G connection or WiFi.
Thanks for the info. I have had MagicJack for about 2 yrs now, and works well here in the states. I even have the MagicJack app on my I-phone to use when in range of wifi. I was wondering how well it would work after we retire in Boquete in about 3 weeks. I guess we will just have to wait and see when we get here, since it all depends on bandwidth & speed. I have a "Speedtest" app on my I-phone to check. From what I'm seeing here, at least 1 mps should work. Then we have the Netflix issue, which I also researched here.
We use Vonage with CableOndas 6mb plan and it works just fine in volcancito.
Vonage is a pretty expensive option (relatively speaking), is it not?