I replaced my landline telephone service and switched to SunRocket VoIP service back in February. I got a whole year of unlimited local and long distance, with tons of features, for $199 a year or $16.58 a month. Now that I’ve had it for 10 months, I’d though I’d give it a review. The short version is, it’s definitely not perfect, but for the price and my current needs it rocks.
Simple, no-hassle pricing – The $199 includes everything, ALL features, ALL taxes, I haven’t been charged a penny since my first $199 bill. There are no rebates to mess with. There is no cancellation charge. If you cancel within 31-days, you get a full refund. If you cancel after, you still get a prorated amount back of your unused time. Even the shipping for your free equipment is free.
Unlimited calling to U.S., Canada, and Puerto Rico – I love calling whomever, whenever, without even having to dial extra numbers with Onesuite or worrying about long distance charges or cell phone radiation.
Keep your current number – I ported my old landline number, it took a couple weeks, but it was simple. They didn’t start charging me until it was switched either, which was nice.
Cheap International Rates – They have cheap international rates and give you $3 in free international calls every month. I’ve never used this feature.
Free Equipment – You get a free Gizmo, which is what turns your high-speed internet into a phone jack. Right now you can also get a nice 5.8 GHz cordless phone with two handset (see below).
All the Extra Calling Features – Usually to cheap to get Caller ID, Call Forwarding, etc? Me too. Now I have it all. Voicemail, Call Waiting, 3-way Calling, Call Forwarding, Caller ID, Recent Caller Logs, Call Waiting ID, Call Return, Speed Dial, you name it.
My Favorite Feature – Enhanced Voicemail – Now, when someone calls my house and leaves a message, I get a text message to my cell phone with who called immediately and I get a .wav file of the message sent to my e-mail. I can then either check the message from my cell phone, or just play it from the internet. Very cool.
My 2nd Favorite Feature – 2nd Virtual Number – This isn’t a full blown 2nd number with 2nd phone jack – if someone calls this 2nd number, then your original phone rings. But, you can have a number anywhere they have service. Got parents in L.A.? Give them a local (714)XXX-XXXX number and they don’t have to pay long distance to call you anymore. You can even set the number to have a distinctive ring.
Not 100% Uptime – In the 10 months that I’ve had this service, I’ve gotten about 3 outtages for about 24 hours, and 5 blips where I had to reset the Gizmo to get it to work again. This can be really annoying, but the voicemail still works so you’ll get your messages. For the long outtages I went online and forwarded calls to my cell phone. Supposedly things are better now, since I was among the first users of this service. I haven’t had an outage for months now.
Fax Capability Erratic – One of the main reasons I chose SunRocket over Vonage initially for VoIP service is that not only was SunRocket much cheaper than Vonage in the first place, but it also included fax capability for free. Vonage charges another $9.99 a month for a fax line on Residential accounts.
I needed fax for work, and it worked fine up until I quit, which was quite lucky for me, because starting in August it started to futz out and only worked about 20% of the time. (After moving, it works about 80% of the time.) So if you need a reliable fax, watch out. I think it has to do with sending fax signals over the internet.
Imperfect 911 Service – Sunrocket does offer Enhanced 911 Service such that if you call 911 using this service, your number and address on file will be automatically sent to the proper authorities. But, if there is a power outage or internet outage, your phone won’t work. This is true for all VoIP companies in general. Given that many people only have cell phones now, this isn’t huge, but is worthy of consideration. Maybe a UPS power backup would be a good idea.
For my needs, it was definitely worth it. I used to pay about $35-40 a month for my landline service. At a savings of about $20 a month, this is saving me $240 a year. And I’m getting more features like voicemail and call forwarding than I was paying for before.
By Jonathan Ping | Budgeting | 12/8/05, 9:20am