Lingo: For the Casual VoIP UserBy:Michael Roden|September 20, 2012 at 12:38pm
Lingo, a PTGi company, is a real linear, bare bones option for residential voice service. This is neither to their credit or discredit, as with Lingo, you essentially get exactly what you need for VoIP. As advertised, Lingo does offer a "break from your overpriced phone company", with unlimited local and long-distance calling across the US and to 45 countries in their World Unlimited Plan. I'll go over some of their plans in a moment, and will continue by saying they are all very attractively presented in their tidy, organized site.
I'll start with their cheapest packages - which are equally $23.95 for slightly different offerings. The World Unlimited Plan, as mentioned above, boasts unlimited calls across the U.S & 45 countries, while the World Select Plan, offers unlimited calling across the US and Canada with an inclusion of 1000 minutes and calling to 65+ Countries.
Though I did more research as to why there's no price difference to the World Select Plan (since it seems better), I really didn't find much. My guess is Lingo is simply trying to make options available to cater to certain users' needs. A fairly diligent practice, though seeing that package rolled into one might be a little more logical to me. Perhaps I'm missing something here, but I'd candidly go with the World Unlimited Plan, pending it had the countries I called most often rather than the additional 25+ that aren't on that list.
Their largest, most expensive package comes in the World Unlimited Plus Mobile, which is $56.95 a month, including landline calling to 45 countries as well as the U.S., unlimited, plus 1800 minutes to mobile phones in 25 countries. That seems to cover it and I don't foresee anyone going over as that's a pretty hefty bundle. It is worth noting that all of the above packages come with a complimentary first month, and Lingo has no contracts to speak of (this promotion will end 10/15/12). Their home page has a menu for checking number portability, so you can clear that up before you go ahead and sign on with them. Lingo Mobile is also available, in World Unlimited and Lingo Mobile Only packages, $33.90 after the first free month, and $23.95 after the first month of $4.95, respectively.
My impression of Lingo? Well, you get what you pay for and not all that much more. If it fits your needs, then fantastic - I couldn't be happier for you. On the other hand, if you're looking for a more advanced system, look elsewhere. Lingo is for the cost-conscious, casual residential VoIP user and goes for a great price if that explains you. It's not that there's any shame in being so, it's that there's something that really bothers me about false advertising. Giving me free equipment in exchange for a collateral subscription over the course of at least year, is something to neither be respected or abused (nobody reads the fine print these days - be honest). Lingo isn't alone in this by any means, as many companies do it, but as an educated consumer, I demand much more from companies competing for my business - putting an asterisk next to everything makes me uneasy. In the words of Forrest Gump, that's all I have to say about that
Lingo's feature set is all you'd need for your VoIP system, and nothing more. It has call forwarding, simultaneous ring, do not disturb, among others that are pedestrian at best. Lingo does not offer any equipment besides an ATA, which is waived (a $75 value). Still, if you end up cancelling within that first year, "an equipment recovery fee of up to $75 may apply". Can't say I didn't see that one coming - now you can't either. The only thing you'll be immune to that is waived is activation (a $29.95 value). Again, I'm hardly impressed by this and I know the cost of setting up an account is negligible on a provider's end and should always be free. Shakespeare would have put in best in saying this is "much ado about nothing"
Yes, Lingo is considerably cheaper than other leading Residential VoIP companies, so you've got to hand it to them there. If you've got a VoIP device or IP phone though, you're simply out of luck. There is no option to BYOD or even use IP telephony with Lingo. I'd say that's slightly disappointing, then again, it might be perfect for those looking to make the switch to VoIP by investing in little more than their service (for a year at the very least).