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Technology should make our lives easier
• Simple to use and set up
• Low cost calling to other countries
• Unlimited minutes in the US
• Use your existing phone
• No extra features
• Limited customer support options
We think Lingo gives you a simple but useful package of features to call over the internet at lower costs. It’s a convenient system as you use your regular phone so you probably won’t notice the difference between the old and the new way of calling. If you want to switch quickly to a cheap VOIP system this one is worth a try.
Lingo is targeted firmly at the consumer; this isn’t a business network service. Lingo gives you a VOIP service where you use your existing broadband connection to make calls for less money. The convenience comes from being able to use your home phone as normal once it has been connected to the system. We looked at the Lingo features to see if this service is value for money.
Lingo offers one of the simplest setups in the VOIP world. Sign up for a plan, order your Lingo adapter and connect the adaptor to your internet connection. Connect your home phone to the adaptor and you are ready to make and take calls. There is no other download involved – unlike operators such as Skype you don’t have an online dashboard or any other means of configuring your account. The calls come as usual through your landline.
Lingo’s main objective is to give consumers low-cost calling plans through the VOIP system. For this reason there are a couple of plans that you can choose from depending on where you call most often.
World calling plans allow you to save money when calling friends and relatives across the globe. There are three plans that meet the needs of international callers. Lingo World Unlimited gives unlimited calls to US numbers and unlimited calls to 45 countries. World Unlimited Plus Mobile adds in 1,800 minutes per month to mobiles in 25 different countries. World Select offers unlimited calling to US and Canada numbers plus 1,000 minutes to over 65 countries.
If you most often call within the US, the America Unlimited plan from Lingo is, as the name suggests, for unlimited calls to US and Canadian numbers at any time for a set monthly fee. If you don’t call that often, the America 250 and America 500 plans give you 250 included minutes and 500 minutes respectively, and when you go over these free minutes you are charged for the calls. There are also mobile bundles to add lower cost calls to mobiles to your plan. There is also the opportunity to make calls from your PC or laptop using the desktop SoftPhone, but the rates for these calls are not the cheapest available.
The features in the Lingo plans are the same whether you opt for the world calling, US calling or mobile calling packages. These features are broadly what you would expect from a regular phone service so don’t expect anything special. You get caller ID, conference/ three-way calling, speed dial numbers, call forwarding to a phone number of your choice, call waiting, call return, directory assistance, call privacy, anonymous call rejection, and a do not disturb feature. You can also get five phones to ring at the same time whenever you get a call.
Ease of use
Using the Lingo phone service doesn’t change how you use your phone or the internet and it is very easy to make and receive calls using the plug-in adaptor. Easily change the settings on your phone by using the self-explanatory system and set up all the information you need for your speed dial numbers, voicemail etc. Pick up your phone as usual, dial the numbers you regularly dial and use your regular call features – you won’t notice the difference.
Manage your account online with a portal on the website that also shows you your call activity and what calling plan you are on (which can be changed as you like.)
Help & support
You are unlikely to need extensive customer support with the Lingo package because the whole system is pretty easy to manage. However, if you need to you can call the customer care centre in business hours during the week and at the weekend. Lingo online gives you a number of FAQs and installation and features guides. Information on the various tools included with the service can be found by using the search function on the website.
While this VOIP service doesn’t provide any extra features or tools than those included in a regular home phone package, the calling plans to other countries make it worth your while if you regularly call abroad. Easy to use and simple to install, Lingo may be basic but it does what it says it does, and it does it at a fair price.
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