As a user of the Asterisk VoIP PBX for the past couple years, I’ve had the opportunity to try a number of voice IP termination and origination services, with extremely varied experiences.
In the UK, voiptalk.org (TelAppliant) provide fairly solid IAX & SIP origination/termination services. On a SDSL connection in southwest London I was able to get ping times around 10ms to their switches. Most US and UK landlines 1p/minute.
For a while, I swore by nufone – extremely cheap toll-free DIDs with solid service and IAX termination. Then, one day without much warning, their upstream provider Telesthetic decided to pull the plug. No service for quite a while, and then I started getting phone calls telling me they could port my numbers to a new provider for a fee of $60/DID. So, I anted up, waited, e-mailed, phoned, waited some more…until I was told the numbers actually can’t be ported and I couldn’t get a refund. I filed a complaint with PayPal – but no luck. They investigated and couldn’t refund as they can’t monitor “services”. Never, ever use these guys.
LiveVoip offering incredibly cheap IAX DIDs (1.2 cents/min), pay-as-you-go, and immediate activation. Their site should have been a dead giveaway – these guys were not for real. First they lost their contract with Level 3, then with another provider, then they went belly up and turned off the lights and filed bankruptcy. Ugh.
VoIP companies are not like Ma Bell … they are quite literally here one day and gone the next in a lot of cases. If buying prepaid services, try to limit deposits and sheild your risk. Remember your number could change or be yanked at anytime.
Despite my varied experiences, I recently signed up for VoiceStick using SIP with my Snom360 VoIP handset. So far so good. They’ll give you a free DID and $5 credit, so little to lose should they kick the bucket.