ViaTalk stands out from the crowd with a wide selection of residential VoIP features that I'm used to seeing offered to business VoIP providers. They have, for example, call hunt, call record, soft phone access, and voice mail txt/email notification. There are a number of caller ID-related features, such as distinctive ring, caller ID on call waiting (with name!), outgoing caller ID block (with exception list!). ViaTalk also includes a number of free features you might expect to pay for, such as *69, 411, and e911.
One feature that I had never even heard of, but sounds like a great idea, is called “Call Broadcasting.” With Call Broadcasting, you can record a message, then send it to groups that you assign using ViaTalk's GUI. I can imagine a parent using this feature to tell everyone in her car pool that her child is sick, or the host of a dinner party reminding everyone when the party starts. Another “I never thought of that!” feature is outgoing call routing. It recognizes a pattern, and redirects the call, or has a busy signal. So, if you dial “311,” or “1-800-Fake-Num,” it will block the number by default; specific numbers can be unblocked. With this feature, you won't have anyone in your house calling an expensive hotline, or making any late-night impulse buys.
I had both a good and bad experience with the support chat box. At first, I got a distinctive “beep,” and a pop up, thanking me for looking at the web site and asking if I needed assistance, someone would be with me shortly. I ignored the box, but a few minutes later, I got the beep again, and again, saying someone would be with me shortly. By the third time, it go annoying. But I had some questions, and typed them in the box. It did take a minute or so, but Brooke got back to me and answered my questions about each feature I didn't understand.
ViaTalk has the option of Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), or buy ViaTalk's locked-in equipment. You can either buy your own adapter from a retailer, or ViaTalk can lease you a LinkSys PAP adapter for free, but you have to return it should you change providers.
ViaTalk's basic plan, which is $15.75 per month, has unlimited calling in the U.S. And Canada, as well as 60 international minutes. For frequent international callers, ViaTalk has a list of how much the per-minute costs are in every area they serve, and a “world” plan for $8.95 more a month. They also have specials and sales frequently. ViaTalk is available across the Contiguous United States..
I'd give ViaTalk a thumbs up based on their rich feature set alone. ViaTalk takes advantage of SIP Trunking to let residential customers bring enterprise VoIP features home with them.