Alongside the big names in the VoIP telephony market, there are a lot of less well-known companies who are looking to pick up the customers who are wavering. Net2Phone is one of these companies, a smaller company that can only expect to stand and fall on the merits of the service they are providing. For anyone not enthralled by what the larger companies can give them, is Net2Phone a realistic alternative? In this review, we will see whether it meets the challenge that is faced by it and other companies of its size.
Cost: Net2Phone is a tad more expensive on its basic rate than many companies of the same cachet, with its baseline calling plan coming in at $24 per month, for which you will get unlimited calls to destinations within the US, Puerto Rico and Canada. For the higher rate of $39, you can have unlimited minutes to more than 60 additional countries. You may also then be charged an additional couple of dollars, or up to 7% of your monthly bill, which is for Universal Service Funds fees. These are apparently government-mandated, and Net2Phone go to great pains to set this fact out on their website. Nonetheless, the lack of a plan for any less than $24 means we can’t rate them any higher than 7/10.
Ease of Installation: While the system is not that hard to install, and a guide is sent out with the adapter, it really doesn’t make much sense that they would not also have these guides on their website as a handy guide to refer to while you are setting up. Nor are there any supplemental instructions on the site or with the guide, so if things do hit a snag you are left with your only option being a phone call to customer service. They’re certainly helpful, but it is standard at this level (and this price) to have more layers of support before going to the nuclear option, and as a result, despite the general simplicity of installation most of the time, we can’t give more than another 7/10.
Tech Support: The email support system has been streamlined into two sections, one for the general phone service and one for their direct calling card. As far as we can see, the only effect that this seems to have is that it will result in some people having their email redirected because they contacted the wrong department. The support section on Net2Phone‘s website is not exactly helpful in clarifying matters. Everything is broken down into specific sections and there is little help for navigating these sections. Most people will end up calling the dedicated phone number where, again, the staff are helpful. It’s just a frustrating process finding the information that gets you there. 6/10 is a fair mark for this kind of support.
Quality of Voice Service: The voice service available from Net2Phone is not actually half bad, although it’s pretty much what you would expect for a minimum of $24 plus fees. Certainly, you can expect calls to connect smoothly, be uninterrupted and clear and for the service to remain constant. This is where Net2Phone seem to have focussed the vast majority of their efforts, and in this respect it has paid off. Here, they merit a mark of 8/10.
Speed: In most cases, you won’t be waiting long after you’ve got the adapter out of its box until you’re speaking to someone on the other end of the phone. In this respect at least Net2Phone has managed to provide something that merits their high basic price. They won’t let you down, and for people whose calls are financially important this is good news. Promptness and efficiency, two important aspects, are well served. 8/10.
Features: A long list of features is not essential for a company to be worth your custom. Indeed, some of the big hitters have relatively short lists of features because they know that what is there makes it more than worth what you are paying for it. Regrettably, Net2Phone’s list is a mere sixteen features long and the features themselves, with the exception of an admittedly nifty forwarding service which kicks in when there is a power failure, aren’t worth writing home about. In this category, Net2Phone need some work and they need it soon. The system is neither good enough nor cheap enough to stand on its own merits without a wider range of features, and for that reason they score 6/10 in this category.
Overall: When a system costs more than the bottom-line ones available – and in this case more than twice as much – then you have to expect better performance than the 42/60 that Net2Phone has achieved. This is disappointing, although if they work on their weak spots it must be said that the general level of service is high.