Vonage, the most popular company providing commercial phone over Internet (VoIP) services here in the US recently announced the addition of a new unlimited calling plan to the Philippines. This Vonage’s way of capturing this specific market as there are more than 2 million Filipinos here in the US who frequently communicate with family and friends back in the Philippines.
The Vonage Philippines Unlimited Plan includes:
- Unlimited1 calling to landline and mobile phones in the Philippines and low international rates everywhere else
- Simple dialing – no access codes or calling cards needed
- Unlimited1 local and long distance calling in the U.S. including Canada and Puerto Rico
- Unlimited readable voicemail transcriptions sent via text and email
- Voicemail, Caller ID, Call Waiting, Anonymous Call Block, 3-Way calling and tons of other standard features
- Unlimited 411 Directory Assistance
Aside from those features, Vonage users also receive the following standard features:
- Caller ID with Name
- Call Waiting
- Voicemail PlusÂ®
- Call Transfer
- Enhanced Call Forwarding
- 3-Way Calling
- Caller ID Block
- Call Return
- Do Not Disturb
- Anonymous Call Block
- Repeat Dialing
- International & Directory Assistance Block
- Call Hunt
- Ring Lists
- Vonage Access
- Bandwidth SaverÂ®
- Network Availability NumberÂ®
- Vonage Online Account
- 211 Dialing
- 311 Dialing
- 411 Enhanced Dialing
- 511 Traveler Information
- 711 Dialing
- 811 Dialing
Since Vonage uses VoIP, you’ll need a high speed Internet connection like Cable or DSL. Aside from that, you’ll also need the following: a US or Puerto Rico billing & shipping address, a Vonage phone adapter and any touch-tone phone (corded or cordless).
Like what Calvin pointed out in his post on Pinoy Tech Blog, the Vonage Philippines Unlimited Plan which costs $64.99 (plus taxes and fees) is a little bit too expensive especially if you compare it to Vonage Pro (unlimited calling to Italy, France, Spain, UK and Ireland) at $34.99/month and Vonage World (unlimited calling to 60 countries) at only $14.99/month. According to Vonage, they have no choice because the local carriers in the Philippines charge them very high rates.
Unless Vonage cuts the price down (probably the same as Vonage Pro $34.99) or maybe offer additional premium features, I don’t see a lot of Filipinos subscribing to this service. Why? Because there are a lot of cheaper alternatives like prepaid international phone cards that you can buy from stores or online and prepaid services like Skype Pay As You Go, Google Voice, etc. There are also free alternatives like Skype, ooVoo, Yahoo Messenger which allows users to make free audio or video calls over the Internet.
What do you think of Vonage’s new unlimited calling plan to the Philippines? Any Filipinos here in the US who are interested in subscribing to this service? If not, what methods do you use to communicate with your family and friends back home in the Philippines?
[via Pinoy Tech Blog]