Switching from Vonage to NetTalk Duo

Updating by request (thanks,  Chad), June 11th, 2012)

Well, we’ve been using the NetTalk Duo as our only home phone system for about 4 months now.  Overall, I’d say it is a great value, but there are a few things that could be better.

1) We were unable to activate a new credit card with the company’s auto-activate phone line.  We tried 3 different times with 2 different phones hooked to our home system, and it just never worked.  It worked the first time with a cell phone.  I have not tried to search NetTalk’s forums for this.

2) Sometimes there is a long wait between completing dialing a call and the first ring.  It doesn’t happen often, but when it does we might wait 30 seconds or longer before we hear the first ring.  The first few times it happened I thought it had maybe missed one or more digits during the dialing and I called again.

3) Sometimes the service does drop digits when entering a code.  For example, if I join a conference call for work and have to enter the conference code, some digits are sometimes missed and I have to enter them again.  If I slow down just a little, it seems to work reliably.

These issues are really nothing more than minor annoyances, and don’t occur at all most of the time.  Call quality seems to be on par with Vonage.  The number porting process went without a hitch, although it took 3 or 4 business days to complete.  For less than 1/10th of the cost of Vonage, I’m happy we made the move.

Oh, there is one thing I really wish the NetTalk Duo did that Vonage did: flash the voice mail indicator on our home phone when someone has left us a message.  They do let us know via email (which I get on my cell phone) when we have a message.  The only other way we know is if we pick up the house phone and dial the 2-digit voice mail access number.

– Original post, February 20th, 2012 –

We’ve been using the Vonage VOIP service for our home phone system for several years now, and for the most part are pretty happy with it. Once we all started carrying cell phones, we dropped from the ‘unlimited’ package to one with limited minutes. Nevertheless, costs have been creeping up, mostly in the form of extra fees on top of the monthly service plan. Currently, for 750 minutes, the monthly charge is $19.95, but with the addition of the fees and taxes, without going over our allotted minutes, our monthly bill is $29.66. It was time to start looking at alternatives.

NetTalk Duo vs. New MagicJack

I wanted something that didn’t require a full-time connection to a running computer, so after a fair amount of on-line research, narrowed it down to the Nettalk Duo VOIP Telephone Service  and the New MagicJack Plus. Both services are very comparable, offering free phone calls in the US and Canada, voice-mail, caller ID, etc. Because it got better ratings on Amazon and elsewhere, particularly in the area of customer service, I was leaning toward NetTalk. The only problem with them was that at the time (last December) they had not yet rolled out number portability, and we really wanted to keep our own number. Fortunately, rumor had it that they would be implementing number portability soon, so I decided to wait.

Here it is February, and the wait is over. NetTalk Duo now supports number portability in the US market. I checked with their on-line service, and supposedly my number can be ported over with no problem. So I’ve taken the plunge and placed the order.

Why I’m Not Bundling Phone Service with Cable TV

I frequently get calls from my cable company offering a great deal on a bundled package, which includes TV, Internet, and phone service.  They even offer free calls in the US and number portability.  Here’s the problem: when we went with Vonage originally, we chose a phone number local to Flint, since we deal with far more people in that large, metropolitan area than we did with people in our tiny rural village.  Vonage, like most other VOIP providers, allows you to pick a number local to anywhere.  Cable companies, whose phone service is not based on VOIP, cannot do that.  They can port a local number as long as you actually live in that area.  So, without going through another round of “oh, our new phone number is” with the schools, friends, employers, etc., no bundle for us.

Once I get the unit in and have had a chance to use it, I’ll update this post with our impressions, the porting process, call quality, etc.

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Growing up the eldest son of a genuine horse trader (my Mom), I’ve accumulated a wealth of stories surrounding horses and horse people. Some are funny (at least in retrospect), and some are touching or poignant. Some of these stories are even true. Well, mostly true. Some of the names have been changed to protect the guilty, and to compensate for my failing memory. I certainly wouldn’t guarantee the historical accuracy of anything I say or write. Oh yeah - I'm also an IT Consultant, and sometimes I write articles about technology, current events, and anything else I take a notion to.
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12 Responses to Switching from Vonage to NetTalk Duo

  1. chad says:

    Joe

    Be nice to see an update, at a minimum shoot me an email and give me your netduo thoughts

  2. Claudiu says:

    I purchased two Nettalk Duos for my parents and my in-laws. They work perfect and they are a lot cheaper than a regular contract. My father-in-law paid over $50 monthly for his phone service. We bought a Nettalk Duo from Wal-Mart for $50 and one year service is already included. One more thing, if you have only internet and you don’t need a phone number and you just want to call people, you don’t need the Duo. You need just a smartphone or tablet. Get the Nettalk App from your App store, register for free and call via WiFi within the US and Canada for free (landlines and mobile phones). Tried it out with an iPhone 3G and it was working fine. With my Android 2.3 it was unfortunately not compatible. So with the purchase of a Nettalk Duo you get the ability to hook up a normal phone and have a phone number. With the App you can make free phonecalls.

  3. joe says:

    Yes, I use the NetTalk app also on my Android devices. Interestingly, although the “Play” store says the app is incompatible with my Android 2.3 Sylvania tablet, I downloaded the app from Amazon’s app store and it worked fine. Claudiu, you might want to try that.

  4. Mark says:

    Jo, or Chad, or Claudiu or anyone who knows the answer to may question. My question is about nettalk. Does nettalk allow users to call conferences that are being hosted by other phone services providers without buying minutes?

    The reason I ask is because I have been using magicjack plus, it has been fine but magicjack doesn’t want anyone to know they dont allow free calling to conferences other voip if it’s not hosted by magicjack, I understand they used to allow it but they stopped because of greed. So it’s not all free as they have said. What is so bad is that I have been laidoff for a long time now and I had a good opportunity for a job but because magicjack doesn’t let you know you can not conference out without paying for it. So, needless to say my interview was a bust and I lost the job opportunity. So, I’m changing companies, I still have a couple of year of service with magicjack but will toss it in the trash after I locate a new low cost company for service.

    So, does anyone know if you can connect to other phone service providers conference call for free with nettalk?
    Thanks in advance
    Mark

  5. joe says:

    Mark, the only insights I can. offer is that I join conference calls all the time for work using our Nettalk Duo. The only issue is the delay that is sometimes evident between when I talk and when the other parties hear me. These calls are not hosted on Nettalk’s service, and they don’t cost any additional money.

  6. Mark says:

    Ok Joe
    Thank you for the help.
    Mark

  7. Les says:

    I’ve a questions.

    I’m using vonage now. I’m interested to switch to nettalk.

    I’ve 2 questions:
    1. Can we add a overseas #? such as Uk or France number like vonage did.
    2. Can we use phone app to connect to our net talk duo and called from phone apps? or is it separate billing?

    Please let me know, all of you that know this answer.

    Thank you so much for your help.

  8. akki says:

    horrible service i have ever seen….never use it….

  9. Howard says:

    I purchased the Nettalk DUO in 2012. I only experienced a few inconvenient service issues. Static on calls, unable to connect with some 1-800 numbers, delays on connections. For the most part the unit worked fine.

    I also had trouble with credit card online renewal. Finally had to have one of their CSR manually process our renewal.

    But all of this went into the dumper, shortly after renewal. I have been unable to receive incoming calls for 5 days. Outgoing calls work. Nettalk to Nettalk calls work. But no calls incoming from others. The unit we have is fine. Nettalk has network problem. They have admitted it and they broadcast a statement on their CSR phoneline. They claimed that one of the lines/cables with their equipment service providers has been cut and they are attempting to fix the problem.

    I can understand 24 may be 48 hours of service interruption. But five days? Telcos build redundant services to protect themselves. Delays are due to re-equipping or re-routing when a problem occurs. 5 days without service – there has got to be another issue. And I bet its financial.

    I am unable to redirect or forward the NETTALK phone number to any other phone (like my cell) the incoming call issue still occurs. The customer service person I spoke with said that I can get a new number, but I give up the old number and cannot reclaim it. Hmmm, sounds like a new equipmt provider is in play.

    So essentially I am held hostage here. Cannot get incoming calls, cannot forward my calls anywhere else.

    I have asked Nettalk for a full refund. And immediate access to my old number so that I can export to another provider. Still waiting to hear back.

    Its very disappointing. I was fine with Nettalk for 366 days, then the roof fell in.

  10. joe says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience Sorry to hear you’re having problems.

  11. Drew says:

    I bought a NetTalk Duo in April of 2012. Initially it was fine. Call quality was good to OK. I was using it as a second line for those times I needed to be on a long conference call for work and didn’t want to tie up the main household line.

    Then one day it quit working. Calls to tech support left me on hold for hours at a time. Then the call would end with some sort of trivial “try this” suggestion and “if you still have problems, call us back” which meant more hours of hold time. Finally in frustration, I took to social media and got a reply that way. Finally after about 2 weeks of back and forth along with many lost hours, my service was restored. This was close to my renewal period in April 2013. I can look past one issue and things were working again so I went ahead and renewed.

    Things were good for a few more months and then call quality became crap. My network hadn’t changed and I’m savvy enough to use a home router flashed with Tomato firmware so I can prioritize the NetTalk traffic. It was not my network. My customer support experience was no better this time. Many more wasted hours and little resolution.

    Move forward to early Feb 2014. Again my Duo just quit working. I log into their site to find they have a new ticket system. I created a ticket on Feb 9th and as of today (March 31), I have yet to get a reply. I’ve posted to the ticket several times since but still nothing. I took to complaining on social media again and did receive a reply from some third party that said he was managing NetTalk’s social media campaign and would get me help. Still nothing but crickets.

    I have since given up on this company!!! I have no more time to waste and will not be renewing in April. I have moved to the new MagicJack Plus and so far it is much better than the original MagicJack I had for 5 years before trying NetTalk. While still not perfect, at as little as $20 per year the MagicJack Plus makes a great second line and is an exceptional value.

  12. kathy mc says:

    I have had netalk for a couple years now with relatively little problems until recently. They have changed their support and there really isn’t any. There is no where to call and when you try to use the on-line chat they say “someone will call”…I have tried this 3 times, no one calls, months go by. Now I have another issue, can’t receive incoming calls, the phone rings, call display shows who is there but when picking up receiver, no one is there and on the other end people placing call say nothing happens when they dial. It is the long easter weekend, no on-line support on weekends and no one to call. So, basically I am SOL for phone service…going with someone else I think.

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