Netfone Reviews



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Netfone Review by WhichVoIP

Company Overview

Netfone, founded in 2004 and headquartered in Vancouver, is 100% Canadian owned and one of the pioneers of VoIP telephony in Canada. The parent company for Netfone is Portal One Systems, Inc. Netfone provide cloud phone systems for both business and residential customers. They also provide add-on services including Internet service and Fax service. This review will focus on the residential service plan and also touch on the options for businesses and the add-on services.

The Good

There are currently three (3) available plans for home phone services. The difference between each plan is the amount of US calling minutes included. The Canada Calling Plan is $10 per month. This includes all your Canada calling but no calling minutes to USA numbers. The US & Canada Calling Plan is $14 per month and includes 200 minutes/month for US calling on top of free calling in Canada. The Unlimited US & Canada Calling Plan is $24.95 per month and includes free calling in Canada and the US. Calls to the US are billed at 2.5c per minute when using the Canada Calling Plan or exceeding the 200 minutes allocated per month in the US & Canada Calling Plan.

All three plans include one (1) phone line with over 20 free features. Voicemail to email, free in-network calling, and a personalized web portal are all included in each plan.

The 20+ features also include low International rates, voicemail, call transfer, call forwarding, do not disturb, call waiting, call hold, call return, caller ID, caller ID blocking, call blocking, 3-way calling, speed dial, and call log. Additional numbers cost $4.95 per month per number.

For residential customers there are a few additional add-on services that you can get. Internet service is one add-on, with a choice of either ADSL High Speed Internet or Cable Internet services. Six ADSL plans are offered, a 6MBPS plan for $44/month, a 15MBPS plan for $52/month, a 25MBPS plan for $57/month, a 50MBPS plan for $61/month, a 50MBPS Bonded plan for $82/month, and a 100MBPS Bonded plan for $89/month. Note that there is an additional "dry loop" fee charged with ADSL plans that is dependant on your location (ranging from approx $4 to $24). There are seven (7) Cable Internet plans available, a 5MBPS plan for $41/month, a 15MBPS plan for $46/month, a 20MBPS plan for $49/month, a 30MBPS plan for $55/month, a 60MBPS plan for $69/month, a 75MBPS plan for $75/month, and a 150MBPS plan for $115/month. If you purchase the CypherTV IPTV box you get free access to 41 channels included with your Internet service.

There are various IPTV packages available including value packages, pay-per-view channels, channel packs and multicultural packages (French language based).

For Canadian businesses three (3) phone service plans are offered. The Basic plan is $20 per month. This includes one phone line, 20+ features, free calling in Canada, voicemail to email, and competitive International rates. For an additional $5 you can add free US calling to your plan. The SOHO (Canada) plan is $60 per month and includes three (3) phone lines, over 20+ features, free calling in Canada, voicemail to email, 1 auto-attendant, and 1 hunt/simultaneous calling feature. The SOHO (North America) plan is the same as the SOHO (Canada) plan except it includes free calling in Canada and the US, and costs $75 per month. For larger businesses up to 500 phone lines there is an Enterprise plan. You need to contact them directly to get pricing for this option. They will also customize a plan for your exact needs.

The business plans come with some additional features over the residential plans. Features like auto-attendant, conferencing, queues, IVR, paging, mobile support, and hunt groups.

Add-ons for businesses include business Internet service and Fax services. The business Internet plans are similar to those available to residential customers, with a choice of ADSL or Cable Internet options and similar speed packages. For Fax you can go with paperless fax options or machine faxing options. Each option has a selection of plans available centered around the included number of pages per month. Plans start at $9.95 per month and up to $29.95 per month.

Phone support is available Monday to Friday between 9am and 1pm and you can email support 24 hours a day. Local numbers are available to call in Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Ontario. They have a support center available on the website. You can search the knowledgebase or look at specific categories including billing, gereral, and troubleshooting for guides. At the time of writing there were only 11 guides available, so it felt a little sparse.

Netfone service supports some Cisco and Grandstream Analog Telephone Adapters (ATAs), as well as some Grandstream IP desk phones. It was not clear if you can purchase the supported devices directly through them and no pricing was available. The website mentions that they will help setup the ATA remotely for residential services. Many residential service providers typically include an ATA as a free lease with service but it is not clear here if you have to purchase your own or if it is provided by them.

The Bad

There appears to be some issues with certain web pages on their website. The International rates page does not provide any rates. If you click on the "Terms" link you get to a directory level page with some links to PDF documents of the Terms of Service with different dates. Also, the website seemed slow to respond for some pages.

There was no Fair Use Policy or Acceptable Use Policy included in the available Terms of Service on the website. Most providers include some language to add certain expected limits on unlimited calling plans. If you expect to be a high volume phone service user then it might be worth asking them if they have any policy around this subject.

Phone support is only available from 9am to 1pm weekdays, although you can escalate issues via email or through a contact list for business customers.

There appeared to be a very limited support center on the website for those that like to figure stuff out by themselves.

The Bottom Line

  • Residential phone service plans starting from $10 per month.
  • Business phone plans starting from $20 per month for 1 phone line.
  • ADSL and Cable Internet service plans available, starting at $41 per month.
  • Fax plans available starting from $9.95 per month.
  • Phone support available Monday through Friday from 9am to 1pm.
  • Cisco and Grandstream ATAs, and Grandstream IP desk phones supported.

Overall Thoughts

The residential Canada Calling Plan seems to be a very attractive option for those that only need calling in Canada. If you only make the odd call to the US then at 2.5c per minute it is not that expensive. Pricing includes all the standard features you expect from a residential service.

You also have the option to use them for Internet connectivity, and they provide business services for those looking for that. Overall we think Netfone is worth taking a closer look at if you are a resident of Canada.

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