My wife makes an average of 60 calls per month to Sydney from Brisbane at an average costs of $2.70 each. That’s $162 per month. She also has clients overseas in places like PNG and the middle east.
I’ve been thinking about signing up for one of those voice over the Internet services for years and finally last week I signed up with Engin. The signup process was easy and within 3 days I had my Engin voice box and a nifty little wireless phone. The plan I’ve signed up to is $10 per month and the phone cost $30 if I committed to 12 months.
So far I have been very impressed with the quality of service. We have Optus Cable Internet and a small wireless LAN at home. All I had to do to get it working was plug in the Engin box to the router, activate the service by e-mail and then power up the telephone.
The voice quality is very acceptable, about 90% as good as standard PSTN. The other impressive features are incoming call control, call blocking, time of day diversion and so on. A 4 hour call to Sydney costs us 10 cents. Overseas calls are about 3.5 cents per minute.
I have no idea how much bandwidth a call consumes, which can be important if you have a cap on your downloads and uploads. I suspect bandwidth consumption is around about 20 kilobits per second which equates to 150k per minute or 9 Mb per hour. It could be a lot less than that because I assume the gaps between words consume very little bandwidth.
I was a bit worried about what happens to the voice quality when shaping from the ISP kicks in. Once I hit my download limit on the cable Internet, Optus throttles me back to about 56Kbps. I noticed no change in the voice quality once my connection was throttled back to 56Kbps.