Go on Google and search for reviews about LINE2 and you will find hundreds of them. Originally their app cost 0.99$ in the app store (with 1 month of Service) but since it is now FREE, I decided to give it a shot.
What is VOIP
VOIP stands for Voice Over IP and instead of using cell phone minutes, it uses your devices data connection. The promise of most VOIP services is cheap calling and enhanced features.
What is Line2?
Using your data connection and their proprietary application, they are able to give you a second number on your device.
As you can see from the image above, they have copied the iPhone's native dialer and give you access to contacts, voicemail, settings and SMS. The premise behind their service is that you can distribute your Line2 number to business contacts while sharing your private number with friends and family. So far so good....
What about the additional features? They have these too.... You can get call screening, visual voicemail, DO not disturb hours and emailing of voicemails.
You can make calls on 3G (when mobile) or WIFI when available so theoretically anywhere there is WIFI you have calling capabilities. This may be useful if you provider has bad reception at work or at home.
Like all other VOIP providers (think Skype or MAgicJAck), they offer very competitive long distance rates. Calling anywhere in NorthAmerica is included in your monthly plan. Long Distance here is non North-America.
I downloaded the app and installed it on my iPhone 4. As soon as I kicked off the app, it walked me through a super simple wizard to choose my phone number and to make some of the required config decisions. They have canadian numbers !!! Read that again... I was able to get a montreal number. Which is outstanding for VOIP. Every other VOIP service I have used forced me to get a US number so this was good. The entire process took 2 minutes and they dont even ask for a credit card. Your 30 day trial starts automatically.
They have an un-helpful desk
The first thing I wanted to test was their SMS feature:
I got a cryptic error message. I browsed their site to find the support options and realized I would have to chat online with one of their support agents. After waiting for 10 minutes and explaining my problem, the agent asked me to wait. An wait I did for another 12 minutes. He came back and said I was on trial and that the SMS activation would take 2-3 days. OK...
3 days later... Still no SMS... I chatted with another one of their agent and after the ritualistic wait, I was told it may take 5 days. Really? I was suspicious but the agent kept repeating the claim so I closed the session.
5 days later, still no SMS. Again I waited to get an agent, explained the situation and then had to wait another 10 minutes for the agent to "look into the situation". He came back and said it would take 3 days to activate. When I explained that had passed. He said it would take 5 days. I challenged him again and he asked me to wait. I waited another 8 minutes and then the guy said Canadian numbers cant send or receive SMS messages. Really? Their website says it should work. After a little bit of pressure, the agent said someone would call back within 4 hours. Well someone did and this time the person was from North America. After explaining the situation, she apologized and said they had made a mistake on their site and that it would be corrected today. 2 days later and I took a screen shot of the above note (no correction has been made).
I compared their service quality to that of the beta Nettalk one. Their service did seem to offer better sound but some of my telephone counterparties complained of echoe (on their end). I also noticed that calling a montreal number from the Montreal area on a very fast (>16Mbps WIFI) still had a 0.5 second delay or so.
If the app is closed and you receive a call on your Line2 number then they route it to your cell number through your carrier eating your minutes. Keep their app open in the background.
Is the $9.99US monthly price worth it? Not for me considering the above. I can't get over the SMS issue. Their helpdesk is clueless which worries me. If I used their service for business and had an issue, I am not confident their agents would be able to fix it. That can cost me if I miss calls.
Second I have a problem about not being able to use the SMS service they advertise as "Carrier Grade SMS texting". Their site is still not updated (saying it does not work with Canadian numbers). Doesn't instill confidence.
Call quality was better than some of the other VOIP provides so I was happy with this. Right now, I will wait and see what other provides (like Nettalk) do. Although MagicJAck also has bad service, I pay $19.99 a year for unlimited calling from home or work (through my PC). I will stick with them until something more compelling comes along.
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