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Author Topic: PhonePower Experience so far  (Read 30752 times)
CheapSk86
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Posts: 17


« on: June 04, 2014, 09:34:16 am »

There are many threads on PhonePower issues with service or signing-up, or just questions in general as to the quality of the service. I signed up for them after watching several of these threads and trying to understand what to expect, and what to watch for. This is just my recap so far of the experience, service, usage, and anything additional.

I signed up mid-May and we are now at the 4th of June, about 3 weeks since I signed up. I am on my Obi202 still with PhonePower as my primary in- and outgoing , and currently used for TF calls as well.

Configuration: With my OBI202 - I have stuck with the standard release of firmware available, and my configuration through PP is as it was set from when I first signed up, minus the additional gateway I added, but disabled, for the TF provider. I kept my GV number and signed up for a new one with PP when I registered, showing my GV for outbound calls, and forwarding my GV number to my PP for incoming. There have been no noticeable delays or drawbacks to that so far, though I haven't fully tested the voicemail functionality yet.

Usage: I am on the phone every day for a minimum of 20 minutes, and a max so far of 2.5 hours at a time. The majority of my calls have been toll-free, but I have had some standard calls using my minutes, though currently just shy of half my 300 signed up for.

Quality & Connection: I have had no dropped calls (except one I think was attributed to a conference line issue) and have had good sound quality. Delays have been negligible, and it seems much faster than GV ever was. I tried routing TF calls through a different service, but have to make additional adjustments to my router and network config, so I have them still through PP and they are just like my normal calls (as expected). Incoming has been good, and I have asked some of my friends to let me know how I sound and they have no complaints.

Additional Notes: I signed up and had a problem with it processing my payment. I called customer service and they helped get it cleared up. The number I selected was reserved from my first attempt and once you select one and move through the process, it reserves the number for about 15 minutes. I really wanted the specific number because the number it was, so I asked customer service and was told they would switch it once my registration completed. 10 minutes after signing up, they processed it and swapped the number to the one I initially attempted to get. I got an email about the complete registration, and the number change. It was quick and very easy and I was making calls within 20 minutes of completing the process.

So far, it's been positive, and since I am coming up on my 30 days shortly, I will probably be sticking with it.

I have not experienced the intermittent connection issues so far, and have had no degradation in call quality, sound, or signal. I am on a baseband (broadband) connection with Comcast on their standard plan and my uptime has been fine.
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Heather
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Posts: 5


« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2014, 07:27:43 am »

I thought I'd add my experience here too. Not so good. I finally cancelled with Phone Power yesterday after trying it out for about three weeks. I probably spent 3-4 hours in chat with tech support trying to make my configurations work properly. I had two different accounts. The final straw for me yesterday was when I tried to send faxes and they wouldn't go through. I put GV back on in place of phone power and the faxes went through flawlessly. Similarly, trusted callers wouldn't work correctly with Phone Power, so my mom couldn't use our service for long distance like she had been. I put GV back on and it works great. Obviously I still need a replacement for GV for when they do really discontinue service, but since GV is still working I decided to cancel with phone power and look for something more reliable.
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CheapSk86
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Posts: 17


« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2014, 10:57:24 am »

Thanks for the added feedback.

I am not using the fax service or trusted callers - at least not yet - so I cannot comment on the functionality, or lack thereof, regarding those features. It is good to get additional feedback, though, from others, whether positive or negative. I think providing clean critiques of the service will help people who are looking to switch make the decision.

Could you also add what device and firmware you are using to your post? I found that, while many people were having issues with certain devices, it isn't consistent across all Obis so I think that information is also helpful.

In addition, should someone from Obi or PhonePower check out this thread or board, maybe they can address some of the issues people have, as well as continue to stay positive or strong on the points people praise.
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shawguy
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Posts: 6


« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2014, 05:59:53 pm »

Signed up with Phone Power on the weekend. Call quality has been excellent. Only issue I seem to be having is inconsistent outbound caller ID. (as posted in another thread). I have requested a port of my home phone number, after that's done - I'll post a more indepth experience:)
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gadgetrants
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Posts: 3


« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2014, 09:18:28 am »

Add me to the list of new PhonePower Customers.   Smiley  I had the same experience as some signing up, i.e., the system "booted" me out after submitting...but I gave it a few days and everything worked perfectly on the second try.  So well, in fact, that I was amazed when I tried the new number minutes after signing up and my home answering machine picked up!  So surprise number 1 was:  registering through the Obi portal means that all the configuring was done automagically.

Three other experiences worth noting:  

(1)  Pretty happy so far with call quality.

(2)  When dialing out, there is palpable lag (maybe 7-8 secs) before connecting.  I haven't trolled the forum very hard, but this is something I hadn't heard other users mention.  (EDIT:  just found this thread and the suggested fix, excellent:  https://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=7912.msg51465#msg51465, thanks @PeteMoss!).  

(3)  I also didn't research the "outbound spoofing" issue well enough and learned the hard way that PP is kinda limited.  Long story, short:  when I registered, I followed the prompt for outbound CID by entering my GV number -- however, in the end I decided that I preferred to use the number that I picked from PP, but lo and behold there was no way in PP's configuration settings to switch the outbound display number (e.g., http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0).  

So, nice experience number 2:  I emailed PP tech support, explained what I wanted, and 12 hours later it was so!  Excellent service.  Smiley

-Matt
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 08:09:55 pm by gadgetrants » Logged
PeteMoss
Jr. Member
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Posts: 29


« Reply #5 on: June 11, 2014, 11:12:16 am »

Add me to the list of new PhonePower Customers.   Smiley  I had the same experience as some signing up, i.e., the system "booted" me out after submitting...but I gave it a few days and everything worked perfectly on the second try.  So well, in fact, that I was amazed when I tried the new number minutes after signing up and my home answering machine picked up!  So surprise number 1 was:  registering through the Obi portal means that all the configuring was done automagically.

Three other experiences worth noting:  

(1)  Pretty happy so far with call quality.

(2)  When dialing out, there is palpable lag (maybe 7-8 secs) before connecting.  I haven't trolled the forum very hard, but this is something I hadn't heard other users mention.

Recommend you look for threads dealing with the PP dialing plan. I had the same call processing delay problem until I changed the dialing plan to something more useful.

(3)  I also didn't research the "outbound spoofing" issue well enough and learned the hard way that PP is kinda limited.  Long story, short:  when I registered, I followed the prompt for outbound CID by entering my GV number -- however, in the end I decided the I preferred to use the PP number, but lo and behold there was no way in PP's configuration settings to switch the outbound display number (e.g., http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=7514.0).  

So, nice experience number 2:  I emailed PP tech support, explained what I wanted, and 12 hours later it was so!  Excellent service.  Smiley

-Matt
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shawguy
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Posts: 6


« Reply #6 on: June 20, 2014, 02:40:33 pm »

My Phone Power Experience (The First Two Weeks) – Yes you can port in Canadian Phone Numbers.

I just signed up with Phone Power two weeks ago tempted by their Obi Talk Unlimited plan - $59.99 per year with unlimited Canada/US calling, and 60 international minutes per month along with caller id and all the other bells and whistles. Since sign up I have had a couple bumps in the road and not everything is fixed yet, but I thought I would share my experience so far.

When you sign up for the Obi Talk plan it takes you through a sign up wizard where it asks you all your core basic information, credit card information, etc. One thing to note is Phone Power does not normally allow caller ID spoofing information but during sign up (as this promotion is to take Google voice customers) – it allows you to enter a phone number you want to display as your outgoing caller ID. (I entered the number I would be eventually porting to Phone Power) If you don’t do this at this step – you will NOT be able to change it later. If you don’t enter anything it will show the phone number you choose from Phone power as the outgoing caller ID. NOTE: If you do enter another phone number on this step…when you call someone it will show as UNKNOWN NAME and the phone number you choose to display. If you later go to Phone Power under settings and switch your CNAM display to Yes – it now shows your name JOHN DOE and your number displays as LONG DISTANCE or UNKNOWN. You have to reset or re-provision your Obi Talk so that it goes back to Unknown Name and showing your number. As I choose to “spoof” my phone number I am unsure what it does if you skip that step on sign up.

I signed up and started the Porting process to port my local Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada Phone number from Shaw Cable to Phone Power. This was simple enough as sending an email to Phone Power and attaching a copy of my most recent Shaw Cable Bill. The Port Request was submitted and the phone number was transferred from Shaw to Phone Power exactly 7 days later (They quote you 5-10 business days). At least in Winnipeg it appears that Phone Power gets their phone numbers from Distributel – which is the same as VOIP.MS for Winnipeg who told me they could not port my number (another story). After the port was completed I noticed that something was wrong, when certain people called from cell phones it rang my new Phone Power telephone and certain people still rang my old Shaw phone which was still active. I could also dial out from each phone with the same phone number. I emailed Phone Power that night about the situation. The next evening I still had not heard back from Phone Power so I decided to phone tech support. I called about 5pm CST and was advised that I needed to speak to a level 2 tech support agent and that one would call me back once they were off their next call. Over two hours later around 7:30pm CST I called again as I had not heard from anyone and was transferred to level 2 tech support agent who basically called me a liar, and said that Phone Power made no errors in the port process and basically I should be calling Shaw because they screwed up. I also asked him why calling 511 did not work when 311 works fine, he told me that’s because you’re in Canada and we don’t support 511 for Canadians. I asked if not supported why does it say so on your website and why does 311 work, he replied “that’s just the way it is” He did not want to look into the port issue, or the 511 issue (when you look at phone power call logs, it shows 511 dialed as 1511…which I am sure what is causing the error…but who am I to say anything).

I then called Shaw Cable tech support from my new phone power phone, and spoke to a very helpful representative in Victoria, BC. She advised me that when Phone providers initiate the port process they are also supposed to send instructions to terminate the old service which Phone Power/Distributel did not, because this is an automated process the computer on Shaw’s end gave over the phone number but did not terminate the service. The Shaw representative was very helpful and even did MULTIPLE test calls to confirm that Shaw Calls, Telus calls (a land line in BC), and that others could still call me after she terminated the Shaw phone service. She also sent a tech support ticket to their back end to close up all the loose ends that Distributel forgot to tell Shaw to do. All was well except that certain family members of mine who are also Shaw customers could now not call me at all…they would get a busy signal. It took a second call the next day to Shaw tech support and they manually updated some routing tables and now everyone call me on same phone number now located at Phone Power. Had Phone Power/Distributel processed the port request properly, I would have saved three whole evenings of calling tech support to get my new phone service working.

As of today though my phone is working in the sense I can receive calls from everyone and I can call out no problem. The voice quality is EXCELLENT and the Price is amazing. Other than my terrible experience with tech support, I am quite happy with this new service, however there are still some quirks about it – and I am hesitant to call tech support based on my last experience. The issues are listed below;

SOME ISSUES I AM STILL HAVING / OTHERS I HAVE CORRECTED;

1.   I still cannot call 511 from my phone. In Manitoba – 511 should direct to 204-945-3704 (within Winnipeg) and 1-877-MBRoads (627-6237) outside Winnipeg. When you dial 511 on the phone it says "We're sorry your call did not go through will you please try your call again. The number you dialed 511 was rejected by the service provider reason is 500" Also if you login to the Phone Power website and look at your call logs it shows the call as calling 1511 rather than 511…so something is not programmed correctly. Yet 311 works fine for the city of Winnipeg.

2.   I had set up Call Forward rules to ring both the home phone and my cell phone at the same time (Simultaneous Ring). I quickly noticed that the caller ID information would display perfectly fine on the home phone but was not getting passed to the cell phone at all. It was driving me nuts but I figured out how to fix it. On the phone power website you are given the option to enter a fail-safe number if your service isn’t working it will call that number. As the fail safe number was my cell, I don’t know if this was causing problems, but I removed the fail-safe number from the online portal and now when someone calls me the caller ID information is displayed on both my home phone and cell phone….so I fixed that myself by removing the fail-safe number.

3.   I don’t know if because I initially entered the spoof number when I signed up or not, but I noticed that when I call people it’s about a 50/50 chance that they will see me name and number when I am calling them, the other ½ of the time it shows as “UNKNOWN” Also certain phone numbers (especially my cell phone – the same one set to forward to) – it ALWAYS shows Unknown when calling from the home phone. There is some setting somewhere that is still not working properly and I don’t know how to fix it, but I think maybe the system still thinks I want to use the “spoofed” number even though it’s now the same as my current number. Even when viewing my call logs on the Phone Power website I can see that some calls do not send the caller ID information as the name line is blank. I don’t know if this needs to be reset on their end or what, but for now I am just leaving it alone. (had enough of tech support for one week) I have re provisioned, reset, *82, etc and still have the 50/50 chance. It’s annoying because many people will not answer their phone if it says unknown, and this is actually one of the reasons I choose Phone Power over Anveo as Phone power offered Name and Number Incoming and outgoing display, whereas Anveo only offered number display, but if this service doesn’t work ½ of the time, I am wondering if I should have signed up with Anveo or another company. This is one error that I will continue to monitor, and hope can get fixed at some point.

4.   When you sign up – whatever name you enter at sign up will be your caller ID name. I am used to having First Initial last Name, but with Phone power it will display Last Name First Name – and have your WHOLE name shown. I have not figured out how to only have my first initial shown, and I would hope this is something that would be available in the future.

5.   I understand when you pay $5/month you get what you pay for, but my hope would be that Phone Power continues to enhance their customer service experience. I had excellent service from the billing department both on phone and email, but I am not overly impressed with the technical support at this point in time.


Overall I would say to anyone who is thinking about signing up with Phone Power in Canada, it may be simpler to sign up with a new phone number and do not spoof your phone number during sign up. I have not had one dropped call, and the quality is very comparable to a land line. Also they offer Voicemail to email service which is a very nice touch (it emails you a sound file of the whole voicemail) I would still recommend this service even with the issues I have had in the past two weeks.  Hope this helped at least one person  Lips sealed

- Shawguy
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HDFLucky
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Posts: 55


« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2014, 06:12:07 pm »

I had excellent service from the billing department both on phone and email, but I am not overly impressed with the technical support at this point in time.
Strange, because I had exactly the opposite experience. I opened two PP accounts (home and home biz) on May 18th, and requested porting of both on the same day. For the benefit of others, porting is handled by the Billing dept. For whatever reason, they chose to split my request to port two numbers on the same Time-Warner account into two separate requests, handled by different billing reps. The home number ported quickly and without incident. But I'm still fighting to get the biz line ported. Of course, both companies point to the other as the cause of the problem. I'm inclined to think that TW is responsible for most of it, but PP created the problem in the first place by splitting my request, and not telling me till much later… after the port request had been rejected twice, and after I initiated the call.

Tech support OTOH, has been a joy to work with (especially Ruben)! I had two problems crop up, both of which turned out to be OBihai issues, but Phonepower resolved one of them with a workaround and ran interference for me to get OBi to resolve the other.
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shawguy
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Posts: 6


« Reply #8 on: June 20, 2014, 08:07:56 pm »

Well I guess if I look at the fact that my Port was not completed correctly either...then I guess it was the Billing department that did mess up....
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REC25
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Posts: 9


« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2014, 05:33:37 pm »

I tried PhonePower with my Obie 200, with the latest firmware, and setup went without any glitches. I also used my home number to spoof instead of my GV number since that's the number I would have ported if I kept the service. I forwarded my GV number and it worked fine as did the phone service as long as I had it. I only use my GV number for inbound calls and don't use fax. For a simple home service I think the PhonePower Obi plan is a very good deal.
      There is one feature PhonePower is lacking that I find very convenient, it is custom caller id. A lot of calls I get are from cellphones where the name doesn't show up and having the name I put in my contacts list show up on caller id just makes recognizing the caller a lot easier. I talked with support and was told this was being worked on but there is no estimated time that it may become available. I found a post in their forum from 2011 with the same answer so this feature does not seem to be a priority. If they had custom caller id, I would have stayed with them.   
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CheapSk86
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Posts: 17


« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2014, 08:30:51 am »

Almost another month down, and while I am not going to give a Play-by-Play each month that I use the PP service, there are some things that have happened, and things I have learned, that I thought I could share.

As others have confirmed, the call quality is great and there are no delays. I have had 1 dropped call since my last post, but, again, it was while on the same conference bridge as last time and I still can't narrow down whose fault it was. I have made several non-toll-free calls this go-round and they have been very clear and reliable.

I did have a slight issue crop up for a day like others have reported in the past for PP + Obi service. My setup is to spoof my GV number outgoing, and I have my GV number forward to my PP number for incoming. I was receiving email notifications from GV about missed calls, and occasionally my cell phone would ring, but my home line, configured with the service, was not ringing. I downloaded the softphone to my computer and did some test calls from my cell and GV lines and the softphone would ring, but the home phone would not. It turned out to be something with the Obi device, though I am not sure what. I went through the process of re-syncing it through ObiTalk + Phone Power (button on the ASP page "To restore an existing Phone Power account click here") and a restart of the Obi and it was working again.

After it started working again, I noticed my PP number showing up on the phones I was calling, instead of my GV number which I configured initially when signing up with Phone Power. Whatever I did with the restore existing account reset my outgoing number. After searching all over Phone Power's My Account section, I had to contact tech support. Apparently, there is no configuration available for users to setup their spoof number and confirm it. I was hoping for something similar to Google Voice when you configure a forward-to number, but they don't have it. Instead, you have to contact PP Tech Support to have them set the number up, and they said they will only do it once.

Other than that minor inconvenience and troubling experience, everything has been working fine. I have as much faith in Feature Requests as I do in Congress, but I still submitted a feature request to PP for a user controlled configuration to set the outgoing number. Since this hiccup, everything has been working fine again and all my outgoings show my GV number now too.

Oh, I started to set up the voicemail with them to test it out but it disconnected me during the second prompt and I haven't signed back in to configure it again. Minor nuisance but only 1 time occurrence so far so we will see how that goes.
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LindaObi
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Posts: 1


« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2014, 08:08:48 am »

Can anyone help me? I forgot whether I provided login information when I sighed up Phonepower through OBi website. I am now trying to login to phonepower website (using Obi login info since I forget whether I set up one with phonepower) to see call log or related information but cannot go through. Can I register directly on phonepower website?

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Taoman
Hero Member
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Posts: 924


« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2014, 08:46:25 am »

Can anyone help me? I forgot whether I provided login information when I sighed up Phonepower through OBi website. I am now trying to login to phonepower website (using Obi login info since I forget whether I set up one with phonepower) to see call log or related information but cannot go through. Can I register directly on phonepower website?

Been so long I can't remember but I'm pretty sure you can't use your Obihai credentials to login to PhonePower web site. If you have your PhonePower phone number you should be able to make a new login at the PhonePower site and login to your account. One thing you need to do is "enable" your SIP credentials on the PhonePower web site so you can use your Obihai ATA. You do this under the "Modify Services" tab in PhonePower web portal.
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