Husband recently sent the following information to friends living abroad in Europe and thought it might be helpful to some of you:
Vonage and Skype provide VOIP (voice over internet protocol) phone service. Practically speaking you need DSL service first. If you have that then you will need to buy a Vonage/Skype device (I recommend the vonage v-portal) to connect the phone into your DSL . Usually you simply take an additional ethernet cable and run it (it has plugs on both ends) from the DSL modem/router to your Vonage/Skype device. Other devices may connect differently (I have attached the manual for the v-portal..it provides a decent pictorial for the set-up).
That is the hard part. You still need to select a phone number or transfer one from another carrier.
Once you activate the number with Vonage/Skype you make you calls by connecting your phone to the Vonage/Skype device just like you would plug it into an outlet at home. Then you call just like you are at home.
A couple of other things to consider:
1. Choosing your phone number. We actually transferred our number over so to call us you would simply dial 555 333 4444. If you plan on using the phone to call to Europe you may want to get an unlimited plan to save costs because whether a call is international or not depends on the sending phone and the receiving phone number. So...even though I am in Mexico, anyone I call in the US is local not international. However, if I called our neighbor next door I would be making an international call since it is going from a US number to a Mexico number.
2. Vonage also provides the ability to have a fax line as well. I have found this handy but it requires you pay for an additional line and your Vonage/Skype device will need to support 2 devices.
3. Some DSL providers block access to Vonage and/or Skype services so you might check with some other expatriots to see if they use and have had any issues.
We have used Vonage for 2 to 3 months so far and the only complaints I have a realated to the DSL provider not Vonage. Because if you lose DSL access you lose your phone.
Finally, we have a local phone number here in Mexico for making calls in Mexico as well.
11 months ago