Picking a residential VoIP provider can be a challenge. In this head to head, we are comparing two residential VoIP providers, Phone Power and ViaTalk. Both Phone Power and ViaTalk offer unlimited US/Canada calling, and a hefty feature set. Which residential VoIP provider is best for you? Let’s check out the tale of the tape.
|Blowout Sale||$199 for 2 years||$189 for 2 years|
|Directory Information/411||$3/use, Option to block or reprogram||Free|
|Equipment Shipping||$14.95||$10.95 Economy – $40.90 Rush Express|
|Fax||Free Fax-to-Email||$5.95/mo, 200 outgoing minutes|
|International Minutes In Basic Plan||60, option of disabling international calls||60|
|International Premium Cost||$5/mo, 1200 Minutes + free calling to 55 countries||$8.95/mo, 1200 minutes + free calling to 60 countries|
|Max # calls at once||Four||Two|
|Mobile App||iPhone, plus mobile online portal||iPhone|
|Month to month price||$19.95/mo||$15.75/mo|
|Number Porting Fee||Free||Free|
|Ringback/On Hold Music||Available||n/a|
|Tech Support, Phone||M-F 9am-11pm, S/S 10am-8pm, US-Based||M-F 9am-10pm, S/S 10am-10pm, ET, US-Based|
|Tech Support, Web||Knowledge Base, Email support, Chat||Knowledge Base, Email support|
|Toll Free||$5/mo||$4.95/mo (or $36/yr) + $0.049/min|
|Trial||30 Days||14 Days|
|Voice Mail Transcription||Yes||n/a|
Call rules, standard call features, find me/follow me/simul-ring, privacy rules, Caller ID rules, enhanced voicemail, failsafe call forwarding, softphone, free in-network calling, call recording, 3-way conference calls, bandwidth saver
Phone Power Exclusive Features
211, 311, 811, Click-to-call, travel adapter ($9.95), iNum support
In the last review, I gave the nod to VOIPo over ViaTalk based on the blowout sale on the date I reviewed the two. In this case, the prices are pretty similar, especially when you look at the two year prepay plan. So what features and special rates will win out?
ViaTalk Exclusive Features
Call Recording, message broadcasting, wake-up call, distinctive ring, internet forwarding,
One feature that I think deserves a special comparison is the internet calling. For ViaTalk, you can log into the portal, and forward any ViaTalk phone number to any SIP address. Phone Power offers Click2Call. You log into your portal, enter the number or contact, and it will call your Phone Power phone and that number. With Remote Click2Call, you enter in a source number (that’d be you) and a destination number. Your Phone Power caller ID will show up on the receiving phone. Using the Remote Click2Call counts as twice the number of minutes. Phone Power is much more travel-friendly. Both Phone Power and ViaTalk have a softphone.
Phone Power empowers users (read: parents) to disable expensive features, such as directory assistance and international rates. ViaTalk offers free 411, and Phonepower has 211 community service, 511 traveler info, and 811 call before you dig. You can program Bing-411 into your speed dial also. And there’s always Google (which, last time I checked, is not available as a brain implant, but I’m sure that’s in Beta).
For faxes, Phone Power offers a free “faxcatcher” which forwards faxes to the online portal. ViaTalk has a $5.95 fax option.
Both ViaTalk and Phone Power offer a free cloned/virtual second line with the same phone number. ViaTalk only allows the two lines, but Phone Power offers up to four, they say you can add unlimited numbers, but in practice you can have up to four and then upgrade to a small business plan. Still, that’s a win for Phone Power.
ViaTalk is a winner on price, as well as the cost of international premium plans. But ViaTalk has no support for iNum. Voxbone VoIP is listed as the country code 833 in both international rate pages. ViaTalk charges 2 cents per minute, and Phone Power charges 9 cents per minute. Both providers offer unlimited calls to landlines and cell phones in select countries, and out-of-network rates are about the same.
ViaTalk has slightly better prices, but I like Phone Power’s features, especially the click2call. If you select the contract price, the difference is only ten dollars. Home faxes are rare, which is why the free faxcatcher is better, unless you specifically need a fax line. You have a little more flexibility when it comes to having more users in one home use the phone, which is why you’d choose residential VoIP over using cell phones. If you’re looking to save just that much more money, go with ViaTalk, but if you want to take advantage of features you can only get with VoIP, Phone Power is for you.