Support and Sunrocket Alternatives

sunrocket goes belly-up, suggests we try teleblend. who?Like everyone else who used Sunrocket as their VIOP provider, I’m now looking for a replacement service, as they’ve just announced that they’ve stopped their service. And because I went to Sunrocket in the first place because Vonage customer service was so bad, I’m spending a lot of time reading reviews of other VOIP providers.

I like the convenience of having phones all around my house – it’s a small house and I have 6 phones, and still have a hard time finding one when it rings – so going cell-only, while an option, isn’t my first choice. And I briefly worked for our local phone company once, and will do almost anything to never give them any money again. So finding a VIOP provider I don’t mind (I don’t even have to like them, just not find them too objectionable) would be the best option for me.

But reading the comments on the review boards – wow. I may go cell-only just because I don’t want to give money every month to a company that doesn’t treat me decently. It’s why I canceled Vonage in the first place, and is the sole reason I’m not going back to them. I don’t need all that many features (though will admit I enjoy number blocking quite a bit, and would like a less-expensive plan with limited minutes, since I never use many) but I will not knowingly sign up with a company that doesn’t tell me the truth, or whose representatives don’t have the knowledge or authority to fix my problem or even to connect me with someone who does. I just won’t – I don’t want to support that kind of business model if I absolutely don’t have to. I don’t fly Northwest (if I can possibly avoid it) for the same reason – I just don’t want to give money to people who treat me that badly.

So this decision really comes down to support, for me, since I do have the luxury of not getting VOIP or a landline at all, and of taking my time to make up my mind. There are several providers who have the features I want and a decent price, and I’m very willing to put up with the VOIP phoneline quality. But unless I find one where I get more confidence in their support – even though I doubt I’ll need it – I don’t think I’ll be signing up with any of them. (And Sunrocket’s suggestion – Teleblend – is just scary. I’ve never heard of them before; they’re not on any of the review sites; at least 2 of their URLs were registered this week, and there’s very little info about their agreement on their site – just “sign up”. How about “no thank you”!)

Support does matter. And if we buy, or sign up for, the least expensive alternatives based only on price, we’re just incenting companies to provide bad support. And making it harder for people who provide good support to survive.

21 thoughts on “Support and Sunrocket Alternatives

  1. Brad

    Teleblend was setup just for this transition. They are owned by Unified Communications Corp.

    From today’s Wall Street Journal:

    Creditors of Failed Web-Phone Firm Reach
    Customer Deal With Two Former Competitors
    By SAMAR SRIVASTAVA
    July 19, 2007; Page B3

    Creditors of SunRocket Inc., a failed Internet phone company, have reached deals with two former competitors, 8×8 Inc. and Unified Communications Corp., that names those companies as “preferred” service providers for SunRocket’s 200,000 customers.

    SunRocket customers, who abruptly lost service Monday, will not have to pay 8×8′s normal start up costs for its Packet8 service, a little over $100, according to a written 8×8 statement. The company also plans to offer one month of free service for former SunRocket subscribers who will be able to maintain their existing numbers. Unified Communications, which offers a service called Teleblend, will offer SunRocket customers a special rate of $12.95 a month for the remainder of their contracts, according to Unified’s Web site.

    The two companies will pay SunRocket’s creditors, represented by Sherwood Partners LLP, an undisclosed fee for each subscriber that switches to their service. The agreement doesn’t restrict SunRocket subscribers from choosing different providers.

  2. Frank McPherson

    Just curious, have you looked at Comcast digital voice? I’ve see their ads but don’t know anyone who actually uses it so I was curious as to whether they are on your VoIP list.

    There is also that Cavalier service I keep hearing ads for.

    The VoIP companies do seem like a dime a dozen.

  3. Ellen Post author

    Thanks for all the suggestions and added info. Frank, yes, I’ve looked at Comcast, and not ruled them out, but most of what I’ve read says they’re more expensive for no better quality or service than anyone else. But I may try them; at least I know I’d be able to get some customer support (I always can with internet and TV), and they’ve been pushing special prices on me for while now.

  4. PT

    I’m going with Packet8, at least I’d heard of them. Comcast and others would not promise LNP. Comcast is very expensive (39.95/mo.) after six months if you are not bundling services with them.

    Don’t fret over the message boards and the negative comments, esp. about VOIP. First, satisfied people don’t have an incentive to go on there and write positive things. Second, VOIP is not understood by a lot of people, and they want their hands held AND the savings. Life doesn’t work that way.

  5. Eyal

    I looked around abd finally decided to go with ViaYalk because they offer a buy out to SR customers of up to 6 months. Since I have 6 months left on my contract that could work perfectly for me.

    However I tried twice to reach their customer service to find out about the status of my order. Both times I started as caller ninty something and gave up after about an hour…

    They also offer the same annual plan as SR for $199 which was a great deal.

    Unfortunately, 99% of the VoIP companies are shell companies with no real assets. They lease the lines from real companies such as Verizion, AT&T and open call centers in India (re Vonage) and try to make a buck or 2 by getting lots of subscribers.
    SR failed because it was unable to increase its subscriber list fast enough and the investors pulled the plug.

    I think most of the VoIP companies are in similar situation so the risk is always there. But I guess this is the risk we are willing to take for the freedom, using cutting edge technology and of course good deal.

    For me $15/month for unlimited calling is the line.

  6. Eyal

    Anf I forgot to mention Skype which has the best audio quality and doesn’t seem to go away any time soon….

  7. Betty

    Does anyone have information on how to use your previous SunRocket phone # when going to another carrier? Can the new carrier just use it or do we need to wait for these two new companies to take over the numbers and release them? All very inconvenient I must say.

  8. Bill Griffin

    Does anyone have experience with JoiPhone? I read some good reviews and the price is very cheap.

  9. Zadil

    I signed up with Voicestick. They have no hidden fees and will credit the remainder of your Sunrocket contract. The customer service was actually very helpful, answered the phone, and my questions, and two emails I sent to them were answered within an hour.

    They also provide information on how to setup your gizmo to use their service. Of course, you have to unlock your gizmo using the information available on the web.

    Check out their offer at http://www.voicestick.com

  10. Brandon Steili

    I went cell only. I don’t see paying for multiple phone lines when my cell is with me everywhere. Unless you need it for meetings or something like that, many cell compaines do free long distance & nationwide roaming.

    No sense in paying twice :)

  11. Ellen Post author

    Many thanks, everyone for the good suggestions and helpful info. I was looking at Inphonex, but Voicestick looks really interesting too. I’m not going to rush into anything; I’m sure I can live with just a mobile phone for a few weeks.

  12. Anthony

    I already applied for land line again and just signed up with Onesuite.com for my long distance calls. Onesuite has a VOIP feature which is pay as you scheme just like their prepaid long distance service (I didn’t know until I signed up) Now I can enjoy VOIP features and not worrying when internet is down or something because I still have my land line and my prepaid Onesutie account.

    I learned not to go voip all the way and not to prepay $200 yearly service fee.

    You may be interested with Onesuite SuiteAdvantage (they’re offering 1 month free subscription) -> https://www.onesuite.com/sunrocket.asp

  13. Ellen Post author

    I’ve decided on VoicePulse, solely based on the comments about their support (or, more accurately, based on the comments about everyone else’s support). They’re not the least expensive, or best known, but I’d rather pay more to a company that I believe will provide me decent support if I need it than save a few dollars a month, and send my money to a company I believe won’t.

    The cost differences are on the limited plans – I think everyone’s about the same for unlimited.

    And no, I may not ever need the support. At this point, it’s much more about living up to what I believe, and not giving any more money to companies who don’t treat me well. Or even reasonably.

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  15. Toffee

    Everybody has its own preferences or needs but please not with Teleblend or Packet8.

    I already signed up with Viatalk a few days after the melt down but I cancelled them when I can’t even talk to a customer service (busy, long hold, etc) I know there might be some influx of calls due to SR demise but they should already anticipated that.

    Now I am trying Onesuite.com voip and so far so good and they can refund just in case I change my mind again.

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