VoIP Fly-By-Nights

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.

The Good

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.

The Bad

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.

The Ugly

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.

The Lesson

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.

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4 Responses to “VoIP Fly-By-Nights”


  1. 1 Dave Magill October 17, 2006 at 6:43 pm

    Did you use VOIP for business? I’m seriously considering it, with the obvious fallback to BT πŸ™‚
    I’m just wondering if the Asterisk PBX is a workable solution for the office. I’m also looking at the services of Gradwell.com

    Dave.

  2. 2 Erik Fantasia October 17, 2006 at 7:03 pm

    Yep – we first migrated to Asterisk at MyTights nearly 2 years ago, and it’s still going strong as far as I know. More recently we’ve been working with remote teams for AeroDiet and have found VOIP incredibly handy. Now if we could just get around the time zone problems!

  3. 3 Dave Magill October 19, 2006 at 6:21 pm

    Excellent. I’m so gald to hear that, it gives me confidence. I’m assuming you were using SDSL, I think with a good router and the new 8meg ADSLmax from BT it should work too. πŸ™‚ I’ll let you know how it pans out.

  4. 4 Sam June 27, 2007 at 11:21 am

    Hi Erik, my mate works at a business VoIP company Voicenet-solutions. they have just won best hosted IP supplier in the UK. A blatant plug, maybe, but an award like this will mean they are not the kind of company to disapear. At least i hope not.

    Check them out.


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