You’ve asked a lot of questions; let me see if I can answer them all in one go –
• You are correct that VoIP is an internet protocol – in fact, the initials stand for voice over Internet protocol. If all you want to do is connect from one computer to another, then you are also correct that all you need to do is use the voice call features of MSN Messenger, Yahoo, etc. Usually works pretty well, and it’s free. But what if you want to talk to someone who doesn’t have a computer, or doesn’t use Messenger, or who just wants to talk over their cell phone? You need a bridge from the VoIP world to public switched telephone network (PSTN). That is what companies like Voicered and Vonage provide. Because we have to pay the PSTN carriers to terminate the calls that you want to make to the customers, we need to charge for our services.
• Our basic plan is $19.99, as I said. For that much money, you get a USA phone number in an area code of your choosing, 500 outbound minutes to the USA. In-bound minutes (calls TO your Voicered number) are free. Calls between one Voicered number and any other number are also free. By comparison, Vonage’s cheapest plan is $14.99 for 500 minutes BUT you need a USA credit card to purchase the service and they will not authorize your service anywhere outside of the USA, Canada and the UK. We have to charge more because our prices also include the 19% Peruvian sales tax (IGV).
• Our $54.99 plan is an unlimited residential calling plan that includes unlimited calling to any number (fixed or cellular) in the USA or Canada, plus fixed lines in 48 other countries – and we’re not talking about countries you never heard of, we’re talking about countries like Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Russia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan, Australia, Indonesia and a few more. Vonage’s “unlimited” plan costs $49.99 per month and it is only good for calls to the USA, Canada, and five other countries – and again, if you don’t have a US shipping address (a PO box won’t do) and a US credit card, you can’t buy Vonage services.
• You can use your Voicered service to call Peru numbers. Our rates (which are posted on our website) are better than Telefonica’s: fixed line in Lima $0.0365 per minute; fixed line outside of Lima (provincias) $0.0560 per minute; Peru cellular $0.2662 per minute. But Voicered is not a substitute for your Peru local phone, because we don’t sell our service with Peru telephone numbers. You still need your Peru phone for your Peru friends and family to call you – they can also call you on your Voicered line, of course, but since it is a USA number, it would be a long-distance call for them, which obviously doesn’t make much economic sense. We don’t have any unlimited calling plan that includes Peru, for the simple reason that Voicered is not intended to replace your Peru local phone.
• Our service requires a broad-band connection to the Internet, like ever other VoIP service in the market. A dial-up connection won’t do. The good news for you is that an ADSL connection is not a dial-up connection; it’s broad-band. If your ADSL gateway only allows one connection, and it’s USB, then you have an old gateway and you need to get a new one. Telefonica will replace it if you insist (and I mean really insist) – our clients have done that on several occasions. Or we can sell you a new gateway. Rest assured, we are very familiar with the Internet equipment that is installed in most of the homes/apartments in Peru, and we know how to configure our equipment and services to work in virtually any situation.
• You certainly don’t need a $100 per month commercial Internet account to use Voicered. Speedy 400, an ADSL broadband plan available from Telefonica, works perfectly well with our service and costs $40 per month. They include a modern Ethernet ADSL gateway with an incorporated four-port router (into which you plug your Voicered adapter) at no additional cost. This is what most of our residential customers use.
• Finally, I want to stress the following: Voicered is a Peruvian company owned by Peruvians (including me, a US-educated semi-gringo of Peruvian parentage). The USA phone number in our office in Lima is a Voicered number! (That’s the whole point!) We established our company specifically for the Peruvian market. You can pay your monthly bill at any BCP. Our techs visit your home or office to set up the service and when you need customer service, we actually respond. If you are happy with your Vonage service and your USB key, and are fortunate enough to have a USA address and credit card to buy Vonage, then you don’t need us. We are shooting to sign up the other 99% of potential VoIP customers in Peru.
Hope this answers your questions. Feel free to send me an e-mail message at odelaguardia at Voicered.com if you have any more question.