Vonage is a SIP-based VoIP service that lets you make calls over the internet without the need for a microphone or headset.
You simply plug the Vonage adaptor (free once you subscribe to a call package) into a spare ethernet port on your router. If you're unable to do so, you'll need to purchase the Vonage V-Portal VoIP adaptor - a router and adaptor combined (see picture).
Instead of plugging your phone into a telephone socket on the wall, you connect it to the Vonage adaptor. You can then use your telephone to make and receive calls in the normal way, but they'll be routed through your broadband connection rather than your telephone line.
Prices for monthly subscriptions start at £5.99 and offer unlimited calls to UK landlines and other Vonage users. Calls to UK mobiles cost 12p per min; international calls range between 1 and 10p per min. The package you opt for can include more than one country, but the subscription price you pay will rise to reflect this.
The most expensive Vonage subscription plan is priced at £18.99 and offers unlimited calls to UK landlines and other Vonage users, plus calls to 45 countries. Mobile call costs remain at 12p per min, however.
Subscribers are required to pay a £9.99 activation fee, as well as a delivery fee of £8.99 for the Vonage adaptor.
Subscribers to any of Vonage's call packages will also get access to voicemail, call waiting, caller display, call diversion, three-way calling, 1471, ring back and international call barring.
Vonage allows you to ‘port' your existing phone number, so you won't need to change it; but this service takes around 20 days.
You can make emergency calls through the service, provided that your broadband connection hasn't gone down.
See also: Vonage V-Portal VoIP adaptor review