Technology should make our lives easier
• Extra phone line included
• Unlimited calling in US and Canada
• Easy to install
• Use your own phone
• Can’t call from PC or mobile device
• International calling is an add-on plan
Via Talk provides a frill-free service for homes and small offices with plans for both residential and business customers, although the business features are lacking when compared to some of the other VOIP for business services on the market. If you’re looking for a way to reduce your long-distance calling bill Via Talk is an option.
Via Talk is not flashy or packed with features but it does provide most of what you want in a basic VOIP service, including lower cost calling and unlimited long-distance calling for a set fee. If you want to continue to use your own phone and take advantage of these features then Via Talk is easy to install and easy to manage. We checked out Via Talk to discover its pros and its cons.
Setting up the Via Talk service is as simple as filling in your details online, choosing a Via Talk plan, and receiving the adaptor for your phone. Plug in the adaptor to your phone and to your Ethernet connection and you’re ready to call and receive calls. There’s no option to call through your computer or a mobile device, unfortunately.
Via Talk divides its packages into a set of plans for Residential and a set of plans for Business users. If you simply want to make and receive calls from your own phone you can opt for the VT Unlimited Plan. This plan gives you unlimited minutes in the US and Canada, voicemail, caller ID, and the adaptor you need to be able to use your existing phone on the VOIP service. If you have your own VOIP phone you can use this device (so long as you know how to set it up) and choose the Bring Your Own Device Plan. Sixty minutes of international calls are included each month. If you find yourself going over this 60-minute limit then you can add on the World Upgrade plan to top up your minutes to 1,200. These minutes allow you to call landlines in over 60 countries for one set price per month.
Business users have the Business 1,500 plan, the Business Unlimited plan and the Business Bring Your Own Device plan to choose from. Via Talk Business 1,500 gives you 1,500 minutes of free calls to the US and Canada per month, while the other two plans allow for unlimited calling to the United States and Canada. With these plans you get a fax line, call waiting, caller ID and voicemail among other features. As with the residential plans you can add on an international calling package for an extra fee.
The calling features included with the Via Talk phones and service aren’t exactly original but they will prove useful for most people. For example, with all the plans you get the standard calling tools that you would find with a modern non-VOIP telephone service including call forwarding, caller ID, call waiting, speed dial and simultaneous ring. Via Talk offers an enhanced voicemail system that allows you to check your voicemail on your phone and also by email, making it easy to pass messages on to other people. You can also be notified of voicemail by SMS or email. Access your voicemail remotely and also check your call logs online. Further Via Talk phone features include a call recording function, operator services, three-way calling, different rings for different callers, and a call alarm or wake-up call service.
One decent benefit with the Via Talk service is you get two phone lines for the price of one on the Via Talk Unlimited Plan. So you can have two conversations at the same time, or receive two different calls simultaneously.
Optional add-on extras include a virtual phone number – choose an area code where your callers live, for example, so they benefit from lower cost calls, a toll-free call-home service, fax service, and business support.
Using the service is pretty simple – as it should be, considering the list of features is fairly basic. Installation is made easy with step-by-step instructions and pictures to make the process hassle-free. It is simple to view call records and manage your call settings in the Account Management Centre of the Via Talk system. Here you can also check what plan you are on and add other options if you wish.
There’s lots of information on the website if you don’t want to contact the Via Talk team directly. The FAQ section and KnowledgeBase provide answers to common queries, set out in categories. You can also submit a support ticket via the website for technical and billing questions. There is also a phone service throughout the day. And the option to chat with a Via Talk team member pops up on the screen with great frequency.
Home users looking for cheaper calls should be satisfied with the Via Talk service as it provides all-in-one calling plans and is easy to set up. Business users looking for a VOIP service would be best trying elsewhere as Via Talk doesn’t provide any specific business-focused features. Customer support is good and the service is quick to install so would suit someone with little time or inclination to adjust settings and set ups.
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