For the past week , I’ve been promising my readers on how to get Google Voice if you’re outside the US. Yes , I’ve managed to get Google Voice working plain though I’m located outside of the United States . So before we get into the complete how-to , lets take a look what is Google Voice all about . Google Voice is actually hybrid VOIP Service provided by Google , which allows you to make free calls any number in the US and it allows you to send and receive text messages without paying a dime or a cent. This is ideal if you have lots of friends in the US or if your family members are in US and you want to call them for free over the Internet. What is different compared to Skype and other VOIP Services is that you get a fixed number (and you’re allowed to select your own number) .
This is going to be part 2 of my VOIP Review. I thought of finishing this earlier. Anyhow , in this section. We’ll be focusing on the call quality , how the system works and my over all thoughts about P1’s VOIP Service. Firstly , if you’re totally new to the whole thing , I would recommend you to read part 1 first.
Firstly , lets take a look at the call quality. The call quality is dependent of your P1’s WiMax Internet connection. If your getting sucky upload and download speeds , frequent disconnection – expect the call quality to be pretty bad. I’ve experienced this couple of times. At times , it would just drop your call – if the connection is bad . However if its good – then expect the sound quality to be good as well. Overall , I’m somewhat sastified with the call quality. Its not clear as Skype , however the quality is just bout the same as if you would use a cell phone to place a call.
Secondly , one nice thing I like about P1’s VOIP Service is that it comes along with Caller ID service which tells you the number of incoming caller and plus it logs it to the system – meaning that you’ll have a complete log of who have called you. This is indeed useful to trace back an unknown caller or perhaps to trace back a prankster. Its indeed good. I hope they soon add the ability to block certain numbers (P1 – do take note – I hope you’ll come up with blacklisting/whitelisting functionality with your router to automatically blacklist certain calls at certain hours). You may have a look here of the system on how it logs incoming calls and outgoing calls
Yes it even logs International calls (both incoming and outgoing as well). The phone number resembles a Malaysian Fixed Line phone number , starting from 03-402xxxxx instead of a typical mobile phone number which generally starts from 012 , 013 , 017 , 016 , 019. So overall , its pretty good to have a landline replacement.
Could VOIP replace our fixed line (TM fixed line)
Now let us take a look at my analysis if its worth it to use VOIP and dump landline all together. In my honest opinion , I honestly think that in Malaysia , it will take few years before we can finally be free from TM or other land line providers. However in order for us to use VOIP as total landline replacement , our ISPs should start giving us more bandwidth and not to mention a stable connection – as there is no point of having 50-60 Kilobits of connection whereby it just disconnects every 5-10 seconds. There is no point for us to use such services and it would truly defeat the purpose of using VOIP in the first place. This problem wouldn’t arise on a traditional phone as its connected to a phone exchange instead of a server .So therefore you’ll constantly have a dial tone as opposed to VOIP – whereby you’ll have to be connected to the Internet in order to use it. So there are disadvantages also , especially if you’re in a poor coverage zone whereby its hard for you to get connected then you’ll have a big problem. The advantages are well you’ve a mobile fixed line anywhere you go and you don’t have to fork out money to telecommunication company to setup a fix line at your place , especially if you’re renting a place.
Experience and Final Thoughts
Well overall experience for P1’s VoIP service is pretty good. To be honest ,its better then Maxis’ Broadbands VOIP Service indeed. I like the whole idea and concept of having a router which doubles as a voip gateway. Not to mention that it comes along with a phone (I’m not quite sure about the final product but I am sure it would). Secondly , I would prefer if P1 gives users settings for softphone. For instance If I’m on a laptop and I would like to place a call , wouldn’t it be great that if there is some software that I could use in my netbook or laptop that allows me to place a call from my netbook itself , as these days notebooks and netbooks alike do come along with a microphone and a camera. This would be great especially if you’re using Wiggy (their Wireless modem service) or if you’re simply downstairs (whereby your router and the phone is located upstairs)
Thirdly , to me it would be great if there is a pre-paid plan. For instance , If I top up RM 25 (whereby the validity is around 6 months to 1 year) , it would be great as a land line replacement or as a backup phone – whereby I don’t have to pay any monthly fixed call charges. I just top up and use it. If I dont use then I can’t just make any outgoing call. It should be modeled after the current pre-paid system which is widely used in our country. I’ve already told P1 folks about this , just hope that they listen (hopefully it doesn’t go into deaf ears)
Would I recommend this service ? – Yes it depends on one’s preference and criteria. If you have a mobile phone and you mainly use it for texting then VOIP is not the thing. However if you’re looking for a cheap land line alternative to make calls as low as 13 sen/minute then P1’s VOIP service may interest you. However keep in mind that you’ll still have to subscribe for their internet service before you’re allowed to use VOIP Services. This can be a great solution for your parents or grandparents. If you think land line rental is expensive (RM 25 for Telekom Malaysia fixed lines) and you want your parents/grandparents to surf the internet and still make cheap phone calls , then P1 service may interest you. If your parents/grandparents are on some kind of Family plan – whereby you’re allowed to make free unlimited calls then its better on to carry using the plan. As for me , I want it to work in both ways , something like how Google Voice works whereby I have the ability to forward calls from my p1 VOIP number to my mobile phone or to another line whenever I’m away.
Yesterday , I got a call from P1 Careline regarding P1 newest service – VOIP . For me , it seems that now everyone is jumping into VOIP service – which is great as if there are more and more firm in the market , there would be competition – when there is competition you’ll see price wars and once a firm starts to cut price , expect other firms to follow as well. After all , if you have few firms (or providers in this case) , they are known as oligopolies. Anyway enough of talking , lets get into whats this all about.
Lets take a look at the call plans and what are the extras that they are throwing in :-
I am kind of impressed that you can call for 13/sen a minute to any number here in Malaysia and as well in three countries so far (Singapore , Thailand and China). So far I’ve seen that its the cheapest among other competitors. I am guessing P1 is trying their best to come up as an emerging Voice Over IP Provider in Malaysia
Okay lets take a look. It comes with Caller-ID (oh yeah P1 is giving me a cordless phone together with the VOIP Device , and it supports caller ID notifications which means you know whos calling you – pretty handy for VOIP). They do offer CLIR services (if you’re wondering whats CLIR its Calling Line Identification Restriction , which means you have the ability to “hide’ your number when you call someone. Pretty handy if you want to mask your identity
Just to add that you’ll be getting a 03-XXXXXXX number (in other words you’ll be getting like a fixed line number instead of a mobile phone number) – that would be your VOIP Number. In other words its counted as a “fixed line” as opposed to mobile phone as most services would require you to have a fixed line in order to sign up for something . It only works with P1’s service and it will not work with your streamyx line , etc (I just hope that they launch this service separately as I would be interested to sign up for this service if I can use it with my existing streamyx line)
I would be getting my trial soon and I would post my experience and everything else once I’ve everything running ! I’ll be doing a comparison later with other VOIP services in Malaysia !