Calling abroad from Ireland: my favourite VOIP service – Product review
After so many enjoyable years in the United States I had built up a strong network of friends and work colleagues that I wanted to keep in touch with after my move back to Ireland. I realized before I left the US that I needed a reliable and affordable way to keep in touch with people there, so I shopped around for an internet phone service before I left. There are plenty of great VOIP services to choose from. Some are completely free, while others do require you to pay a monthly, or pay-per-use, fee. Two of the top ones that spring to mind are Skype and Facebook Messenger, both of which I use, and both with great free benefits. However,neither give me the flexibility and the full benefits that Vonage does. So, I signed up for the Vonage World plan just before I left for Ireland, and had the hardware that they provide delivered to my home here.
Some of the features I absolutely love about Vonage are:
- Vonage works with your regular household phone, so you don't need to turn on a PC or pick up a mobile device to make a call. And, I use it daily, and have never had a bad quality call.
- I got to pick a local US number which allows people in the States to call me without having to dial an international number.
- Because you use a regular phone, and are given a regular telephone number, the person on the other end of the line does not need to have Vonage also. For me, this is the feature I love most.
- If I can't answer my phone, then the person calling can leave a message (which is transcribed, and emailed to me), or I can forward the calls to my Irish mobile number (or any number for that matter).
- For one very affordable monthly fee I can call dozens of countries as often as I like, although admittedly I have only used it to call USA, the UK and within Ireland.
- Mobile/cell calls to many countries are included in the plan, although I wish this included Irish mobile numbers.
- The setup you need to do when you receive the hardware is easy (takes all of 5 minutes or less), and they sent me the Vonage box as part of the service. It's a tiny little box that I connect to my Internet router and then connect my cordless phone to the Vonage box.
- They have a mobile app with calling capability, but I have yet to make use of it. I'm happy to know it's there when I need it though. You can grab it from iTunes and Google Play.
Really, I love it! It is definitely the best VOIP phone service that I've subscribed to. If you have left family and friends behind in another country that you like to call often, or if you work from home in Ireland and need to make frequent international calls, then Vonage is certainly worth considering. As mentioned above I do use other VOIP services from time to time, but more on an occasional basis such as when I see someone online on Facebook, or to do a webcam chat using Skype.
What other VOIP services are worth checking out? If you use one that you love, please send me a message or leave a comment below. Thanks!
Disclosure: this is not a paid advert or anything like that. From time to time I will recommend a product or service that I find useful and that might make your life easier after moving to Ireland. In this case, and for my needs, I consider Vonage to be one of the best VOIP services available at present, and therefore worthy of a review here.