iTalkBB VoIP Home Phone Service Review & Tips
iTalkBB uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology for its phone service. iTalkBB’s pre-configured VoIP phone adapter (also known as an ATA) is hooked up to a router/modem and allows you to receive and make phone calls via your regular handset. Your computer does not need to be turned on for it to work. High-speed internet is required to use iTalkBB.
You can sign up with iTalkBB via phone, online or in-person. If signing up using the Internet or telephone, the pre-configured VoIP phone adapter can be shipped to you (for a fee) or you can pick it up from a retail store (if there is one near you). Upon signing up with iTalkBB, you are provided with: 1) a password for you to access your account on their website; 2) your iTalkBB phone number and 3) a local phone number in China which families and friends can contact you without paying for long distance charges; 4) two free phone numbers (China and Taiwan) for calling your number without long distance charges (input of area code and account number required).
Equipment warranty and tip about contract renewal/cancellation
Unlike some phone services where you must purchase the carrier’s equipment outright, iTalkBB provides the VoIP phone adapter to you free of charge (subject to change). In addition, the VoIP phone adapter carries a lifetime warranty as long as you remain an iTalkBB customer. This will save you money if the phone adapter ever breaks down. You might be out of luck if other carrier’s equipment breaks down after the initial warranty period (usually one year).
Please keep in mind, you must return the VoIP phone adapter if you decide to terminate iTalkBB’s service or you will be billed for it. Speaking of cancellation, it is very important to note iTalkBB renews your contract automatically for another year. If you want to avoid the hassle of having issues terminating their phone service, create a reminder on your mobile device about your contract expiration date. This could definitely be a deal breaker for some. So remember to inquire about their renewal policy before you sign a contract.
How to set up iTalkBB VoIP phone adapter
Setting up your iTalkBB’s VoIP phone adapter is straight forward, you can watch a step-by-step instructional video at the bottom of the web page. Once connected to the Internet, your iTalkBB phone number needs seven hours before it is fully activated. Unlike traditional phone service where you can plug your phone to any phone jack in the house, iTalkBB’s VoIP phone adapter offers only one port for your phone wire. Therefore, a cordless phone with multiple handsets is recommended because you don’t need to rely on the phone jacks and you can place handsets in different rooms. You can also search online for ways to connect iTalkBB so your phone jacks would work.
Plans and useful features
iTalkBB’s basic plan (Canada Unlimited Plan) includes unlimited calling within Canada. Features such as Caller ID, Voicemail, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Three Way Calling and more are included in their monthly fee. There is another plan called Global Unlimited Plan where you can make unlimited international calls to 29 countries. The cost of this plan is similar to basic home phone cost offered by larger carriers but the unlimited international calls offer great value.
Both plans include a free feature called iTalkBB Freedom which allows you to assign two mobile phone numbers for making international phone calls. If you have a regular cell phone, use iTalkBB Freedom. If you have a smartphone, simply install iTalkBB App and you will enjoy the same features and rates of your home phone plan. You can activate your voicemail service by logging onto their website. Their voicemail service also offers the option to send the voice message to an email of your choice. In case you need to keep your current phone number, iTalkBB can provide you a link to an online form where you can fill out details for porting your existing phone number. The phone number porting process is estimated to take two to six weeks to complete.
iTalkBB offers a well-organized online account management web page. Once logged in, you are able to access everything from detailed information about your plan, account information, call logs, billing information, to the status of number porting request, voicemail activation and activation of many other features. If you have any technical issues or service-related questions, iTalkBB’s live-person phone support is available 24/7.
VoIP phone service limitations
Please remember VoIP phone service is dependent on your Internet or mobile data/Wi-Fi connection. You will lose your VoIP phone service if there is a network or power outage. Also, you must keep your address up-to-date in case of emergencies because unlike traditional phone line, there is no easy way to confirm your location other than your last registered address with the VoIP phone provider. Lastly, given there are many variables that may interrupt VoIP phone service (E.g. network/power outage or any issues with your ATA, DSL modem or even your Internet router), it is not as reliable as traditional telephone (which still works during a power outage), it is probably not a good idea to use VoIP phone as your primary phone service; especially if you do not have a cell phone as backup.
- VoIP Internet Phone Adapter (ATA) supplied by iTalkBB
- High-speed Internet
- Ethernet router
- Mobile device (Optional)
- Bluetooth enabled cordless phone with multiple handsets (Optional) (see prices here)
You will appreciate iTalkBB because:
- Porting of your current phone number is free.
- Free long distance phone calls to select countries (60 minutes maximum).
- Free unlimited calls within Canada.
- Making international calls using your cell phone (where iTalkBB’s international calling rates are applicable).
- Free China local phone number (no need to enter an area code and account number).
- Free China/Taiwan phone number (entering of are code and account number required).
- Good long distance rates.
- No need to purchase long distance credits as it will be automatically added to your monthly bill (applies to the basic plan only).
- iTalkBB’s basic monthly plan has not increased for the past seven years (still in single-digit).
- Caller ID, Voicemail, Call Waiting, Call Forwarding, Three-Way Calling and more.
- Voicemail can be sent to your email.
- Fax-machine friendly (does not support international fax though).
- No need to purchase your own VoIP equipment (deposit may be applicable).
- VoIP equipment is warranted as long as you are an iTalkBB customer.
- Free calls to other iTalkBB customers globally.
- 24/7 live person phone support (customer service/technical support).
- Works without a PC.
- Referral reward program.
- 30-Day money back guaranteed (works best if you can return the VoIP equipment in-person or you will be responsible for shipping charges).
You might not appreciate it because:
- Monthly bill (although it is quite reasonable as compared to a regular landline and some VoIP providers; however, all competitors mentioned in this website offer lower prices).
- Voicemail is accessed via a different phone number.
- Much cheaper alternatives are available.
- Voice messages are only stored for 24 hours (so it is a good idea to activate Voicemail to email feature if you wish to keep a record of your voicemails).
- One-year contract is required for waiving the activation fee.
- Be mindful of its auto contract renewal because you may not be able to cancel easily since each renewal is one year.
- Shipping charge is non-refundable even if you return the VoIP equipment within 30-days. (you are also responsible for shipping the VoIP equipment back to iTalkBB).
- Only one phone jack is available via VoIP phone adapter.
- Voice quality and reliability may vary due to factors such as your Internet speed, phone frequencies/location, software compression, etc.
- Usability is susceptible to power/network outage.
- E911 service is dependent on the point above.
- Not as reliable as traditional phone service.
- iTalkBB does not recommend using their service with a home alarm system (even though it is compatible).
- Security concerns, given the voice data travels through the Internet, the data is vulnerable to theft, viruses, spam, etc.
How to make iTalkbb VoIP experience better?
- Always use your mobile phone as a backup in case of a power/network outage.
- Install iTalkBB App on your mobile phone (with cellular data or Wi-Fi connection) to make unlimited calls within Canada and international long distance phone calls at the same rate charged by your iTalkBB home phone.
- Use a cheap Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) to power your modem and iTalkBB home adapter in case of a power outage. (see price here)
Comparing to a regular landline phone service, iTalkBB offers great value because of its much longer list of call features, free China/Taiwan phone numbers (mainly designed for the Asian community) and free 60 minutes international long distance calling. iTalkBB’s basic plan includes unlimited calling within Canada and the cost is still within single-digit. If you make a lot international phone calls, iTalkBB’s Unlimited Global Plan offers good value (although Ooma Telo’s Unlimited World Plan is even more competitive). A free feature named iTalkBB Freedom allows you to use your non-smartphone to make international phone calls as if you were calling from home.
If you have a smartphone, the iTalkBB App allows you to enjoy everything your iTalkBB home phone plan offers. Unlike most VoIP phone providers, iTalkBB lends the VoIP phone adapter (ATA) to you free of charge (the adapter is under lifetime warranty as long as you are their customer) and free porting of your existing phone number. Given all the above plus 24/7 live customer service support, competitive international calling rates and 30-Day money back guaranteed, iTalkBB is worth looking into if you are trying to reduce your current telephone bill.
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