The residential VoIP market is every bit as competitive as the business market. From both a hardware standpoint and a features standpoint, a home VoIP service is deployed differently. The biggest difference is that home VoIP services require the user to plug their existing phone into an analog telephone adapter, which ideally goes between the router and the modem, but can also go between the router and a computer. Since the connection is different than a legacy phone, which just plugs into the wall jack, VoIP providers have a hurdle that they have to convince potential subscribers to jump. Residential VoIP providers, therefore, have good reason to provider dozens of features that either aren't available cost extra from traditional phone companies, and at very competitive rates. VoIP providers are very good at that, but who does it best? Vonage was one of the very first to the US market, and are one of the most recognizable names in residential phones. But many smaller competitors are nipping at their heels, offering similar services at a similar low price. Today we're going to look at Vonage vs. PhonePower. Let's look at the tale of the tape to see how these VoIP providers match up.

Services Compared Vonage
PhonePower
Discounted Total Cost of Service over Two Years $272.88 $199.92
Listed Subscription Term 1 year contract 2 year prepay
Activation Fee Free $14.95 shipping charge
Equipment Leasing Free Free
Month-to-month price $26.99/mo $19.95/mo
Domestic Minutes Unlimited Unlimited
International Plan Vonage World Plus, $29.99/mo for 60 countries + 10 mobile areas PhonePower World Plus, $24.95/mo for 75 Countries and 26 mobile areas
Mobile App iOS, Android iOS, Android
Max number of phones 2 2
Phone Tech Support Available 24/7 5:00 am – 8:00 pm PT (Monday – Friday)
Fax Options $9.99/mo includes unlimited inbound, 250 outbound, $0.039/additional page Free fax-to-email
Conference Calling 3-Way Calling 3-Way Calling
Voicemail Transcription Vonage Voicemail Plus—listen to voicemail from any phone or VonageOnline account, or you can read them from mobile phone or email. Included. N/A
Number Porting Free Free
Softphone Add-On ($9.99/month) 500 included minutes to US and Canada, 3.9¢ each additional minute. Free,or remote click-to-call from web portal, also free
Toll-Free $4.99/mo includes 100 minutes $5/mo, $0.04/min
Service Portability/Mobility Yes Yes
Ringback/Hold music N/A N/A
Directory Assistance/411 Included, Unlimited $0.99/usage
Money Back Guarantee/Trial 30-day money back guarantee 30-day money back guarantee
Contract Termination Fee N/A N/A
E911 monthly fee $1.99/line $0.99
Device passthrough to computer Yes Yes
Estimated monthly taxes & fees (including E911) $11.65/mo $3.00
HD Voice Mobile app only N/A
More Details

Both Vonage and PhonePower offer many permutations of their service and contract length to tailor the cost to the consumer. Vonage offers 400, 800 or unlimited domestic minute plans as well as international plans. The 400-minute plan is $12.99/mo, the 800-minute is $21.99/mo, and the unlimited plan is $24.99/mo. They also offer Vonage World for $26.99/mo, Vonage World Plus for 29.99/mo, Vonage World Mexico for $39.99/mo, and Vonage World Philippines for $29.99/mo. Signing a one-year agreement will knock off the shipping and activation costs for metered plans, and get you an introductory rate for three months on higher plans. The US & Canada Unlimited or Vonage World introductory rate is $9.99/mo, and premium international plans have an introductory rate of $14.99/mo.

PhonePower offers Unlimited US & Canada plans for $19.95/mo with no contract, $14.95 with a two year contract, and $8.33/mo if you pay for a year up front. They also offer an international plan. Note that both providers include calls to Puerto Rico in their US & Canada plans.

Features:
Both Vonage and PhonePower offer a suite of features. Here are some of the features that both providers offer for free:

  •         Caller ID
  •         Call waiting with caller ID
  •         Outbound caller ID block
  •         3-way calling
  •         Web portal (check call logs, listen to voicemail online, contact list)
  •         Number porting
  •         Keep your number/service when you move
  •         Free in-network calling
  •         Option to restrict outbound calls to expensive numbers
  •         Ring lists/incoming call routing
  •         Call hunt
  •         Call return/*69
  •         Do not disturb
  •         Anonymous call block
  •         Failover number
  •         Special services numbers (211, 311, 511, 711, 811)
  •         E-911
  •         Calling card (use your VoIP service from any phone)
  •         Bandwidth saver codec
  •         Simultaneous and sequential ringing to other phones

Vonage offers features that PhonePower does not.

  •         Call transfer: Transfer any call from one Vonage number to any number, even a non-Vonage number.
  •         Repeat dialing: Press #5 and have the call repeat until the line you are calling is no longer busy

PhonePower also offers features that Vonage does not.

  •         60 free international minutes
  •         Speed dial
  •         Outbound click2dial
  •         Free fax-to-email
  •         Email notification
  •         Option to bring your own SIP device
  •         Free cloned second line (one phone number for two phone lines)
  •         Free softphone

Pricing:
Also of note, Vonage offers some premium features.

  •         Virtual number, $4.99/mo
  •         Fax, $9.99/mo
  •         Add a line, same price as service, no limit
  •         Toll free number, $4.99/mo includes 100 minutes, 4.9c/add'l minute
  •         Softphone, $9.99/mo

And PhonePower also has premium features

  •         Virtual number, $4.99/mo
  •         Toll free number, $5.00/mo, 4c/minute
  •         Operator-assisted dialing, $2.99/use
  •         411, $0.99/use
  •         Add a line, same price as service, no limit

One great feature that VoIP providers have that you simply can't get with traditional phone providers is a mobile app. If you have your smartphone or tablet, you can access many features of your VoIP provider using Wi-Fi or data. Both providers let you make unlimited calls, or whatever your plan allows, for no extra charge. You can also use the app as an online portal, which you can use to change your settings, listen to voicemail, and add to your contact list.

The Final Bell:
So what is the final tally? Vonage was the first big name in residential VoIP, but I personally feel that they are no longer the only game in town. While their service is a huge improvement in both features in price than PSTN calling, the world has caught up to them. On price, PhonePower is a clear winner. If you're willing to prepay for the year, you get your service from them for a mere $8.33/mo, which is both less than the 3-month promotional rate, and the rate of their cheapest plan. For less than the price of 400 minutes from Vonage, you can get unlimited domestic calls and an hour of international calls. I like PhonePower's exclusive features a little more than I like Vonage's, especially the free cloned second line.

The Final Bell: Vonage beats the phone company, but PhonePower beats Vonage.

Related:
Vonage Reviews
PhonePower Reviews