May 2, 2006 3:54 PM PDT

Vonage includes Europe in unlimited calling plan

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Calling Europe just got cheaper for serious phone gabbers.

On Tuesday, Internet telephony provider Vonage announced that it has waived its international calling rates to landlines in France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom for subscribers of its premium calling plans.

This means that people subscribing to the $24.99 per month Premium Unlimited Plan and the $49.99 per month Small Business Unlimited Plan will be able to call people in these European countries and talk as long as they like for a flat monthly rate, just like they do when they call people within the U.S. Previously, subscribers were billed per minute to locations within these countries.

Vonage, which uses a broadband connection and the Internet rather than the regular telephone network to carry calls, has gained popularity among consumers and small businesses as a low-cost alternative to traditional phone service.

The company, which recently filed for an initial public offering, is fighting perceptions that voice over Internet Protocol provider Skype's international presence could limit its growth.

Traditional phone companies, such as AT&T and Verizon Communications, have been offering their own local and long-distance flat-rate calling plans for the past couple of years. For example, Verizon Communications charges $40 a month for its unlimited plan, which includes calls within the continental U.S. and Puerto Rico.

But calling internationally is not included in these plans. Instead, customers can sign up for a separate international calling plan. One plan from Verizon offers callers flat-rate per-minute calls for a monthly fee of 95 cents with guaranteed rates ranging from 93 cents per minute to call the U.K. to $2.23 per minute to call China. For $50 a month, customers can make unlimited calls to one of the following countries: France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea or the United Kingdom.

Many people have turned to Internet services such as Skype, now owned by eBay, to make calls anywhere in the world for free. The only caveat with Skype is that these calls must be made from one PC to another PC. The same is true for new voice services offered by America Online and Yahoo as part of their instant-messaging software. To make calls to or receive calls from a landline phone, users must pay a per-minute charge.

Rates vary depending on the country. For example, Skype offers a flat Skype-Out rate of 2.1 cents to some of the more popular countries, including Australia, Austria, parts of China, the U.K. and the U.S.

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7 comments

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I love Vonage (I use the $15 plan)
US, Canada, Puerto Rico were free before. Now they have added France, Ireland, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

I have $15 plan with free local and 500 free long distance minutes. These countries are not free under my plan, but they only count as "long distance" rather than international calls.

Using Vonage saves me more every month than I pay for a broadband connection.

I have had 2 brief outages in the 2+ years I have been with them, but we configure one of the cell phone numbers as a "network down" number so calls will be routed to it in the event that our Vonage phone becomes unreachable.

We went form paying ~$58 a month for a land line to ~$18 for Vonage.
Posted by Dachi (797 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Liongo provides unlimited plan for $19.99
Lingo has been providing un-limited plan for $19.99
for US, CAnada & Western Europe calls. We have been using for more than 2 years. try www.lingo.com

-BayVOIP
Posted by bayvoip (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
But you can't beat AT&T
Which other company provide you with the bonus of routing your
calls directly to the National Security Agency to make sure you are
an A-OK American, and without all the wasted effort of warrants
and probably cause?
Posted by nicmart (1829 comments )
Reply Link Flag
broadvoice.com has this for years
They have had this already for years. Everyone was bashing the company a few years back when they came out with the unlimited world plan for $19 a month. Now that vonage has come out with it we are supposed to be impressed?

Apparently Marguerite Reardon doesnt know a great deal about the voip players.
Posted by kieranmullen (1070 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Skype rates, no monthly fee at all, from any phone
I have been using a company called Tel3Advantage for over a year. Calls to the US & Canada are 1.9c, to the UK 2.5c, elsewhere in Europe mostly 3c, some are 5c, per minute. Europe cell phone cost more, but most under 20c per minute. From any phone (including my cell phone) I call a local number, if I have not registered that phone, I dial in my main (home) number, and a code, if registered it already knows, I dial the number I want. No monthly fee, no broadband fee, nothing but the call charges. I prepay $25 on a credit card, and they refill it when it gets to $3 (roughly every 6-7 weeks for me). Only POTS free local and over 1 minute longer Zone 3 calls are cheaper via Ma Bell. I am sure they use VOIP technology. Now if I can only work out how to get rid of my monthly fees for a (never now used) long distance carrier, I'll be even better off.
Posted by OldFartPeter (7 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Lingo is cheaper & includes more countries, SunRocket is cheaper than Lingo
Lingo is cheaper ($19.99/mo) & includes more countries, SunRocket is cheaper than Lingo ($199/yr INCLUDING TAXES) and has a $3.00 credit PER MONTH for international calls (At $0.03 per minute for Germany you get 100 minutes per month). Also, SunRocket has either free phones or 3 months free with yearly plan.
Posted by safewaterman (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
I had been a loyal, long time customer of Lingo - I had signed up with them in December 2004 and had no problems with them until last year. Based on their advertisements, I signed up for Lingo\'s World Max unlimited calling. I paid a $10 fee to make the plan change, which became active towards the end of October 2009.

We make calls to India, predominantly to a few numbers. We were happily using the service when on Dec 16 my service stopped working. This being the only landline, my 5 month old infant and mother in law at home, we were pretty flabbergasted about the reason.

When I called Lingo, I was told that they had sent an email 10 days ago (which had gone to my spam folder) about the fact that my usage was excessive and beyond the \"normal\" residential usage. I asked the guy to tell me how much was \"normal\" and what was the meaning of \"Unlimited\". He kept on blabbering about \"average use\", \"expected use\" etc. etc. and was never able to answer anything specifically. When I asked to speak to the manager, he said the manager was busy on another call.

Finally, as I was traveling to India that evening, I asked what the options were - and he said that I will have to switch back to the previous plan (which did not have India free) - I could not restart on Unlimited World Max plan. It was almost that I was being punished for going over the limit of the \"unlimited\" plan.

I asked him to switch the plan and restore the service (while at Chicago airport, waiting to board the flight). The next thing I did was to order Vonage right there, before boarding.

Once Vonage was setup, they took almost 6 days for number transfer (happened on Jan 6, 2010). While looking up my credit card statements, I was appalled to see Lingo charges continuing on the card. I called them up to ask what the charges were for and was told that since I had not canceled the service, those were month charges for Jan and Feb. I asked the rep her name, her agent id and asked her to tell me what service did Lingo exactly provide in Jan and Feb to me, for which they charged my credit card. She said that even though I did not use the service, as per the terms and condition, as the account was still active, they had billed me. I corrected her saying that it was not a question of me \"not using the service\" - \"there was no service available to me from Lingo\" as the number had already been ported out of Lingo and I did not have any other number on the account. So if Lingo decides to bill me, it is charging for nothing and I am going to take this further - to the courts if required.

She then said that she will request a credit for the two months that they charged me without service. I will wait to see if it actually occurs.
Posted by ExLingoCust (1 comment )
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