Vestalink Now "Supports Direct Integration With Google Voice"

Started by ceg3, March 22, 2015, 07:42:18 AM

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ceg3

So I got an email from VL, because I used to be a subscriber, and it states free calls with GV and transferring your land line to them.  As best as I can figure this is just smoke and mirrors, but does anybody know if this claim represents something new.

Link to web version of the email (had to delete after member thoughtfully pointed out my email address is exposed)  The link below to purchase their ATA at Amazon explains it better than the email.

LTN1

It would appear that Vestalink is preparing from a ATA standpoint, to compete with Obihai. This is probably due in part to how Vestalink was treated when trying to SPAM the forum.

I welcome the competition...good for consumers but not good for Obihai.

Hope this e-mail or thread doesn't get deleted.

vtsnaab

Text from that message:
QuoteVestalink now supports direct integration with Google Voice

Free Calls
Make free calls to the US & Canada with Google Voice

911 Calling
Call 911 in the event of an emergency with Vestalink

Transfer Landline
Transfer your landline number to Vestalink

Bring your own device
Vestalink is the best home phone service for your VoIP devices.
Bring your own VoIP device to start using Vestalink right away. 
Your device + Google Voice & Vestalink = Awesome!

Purchase a new device
We recommend purchasing a new Vestalink device from Amazon.com.
They arrive pre-configured and include 1 year of phone service.
Just plug it in!

Device is sold here:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00TXXRST6
QuoteVestalink Broadband Home Telephone Service VoIP Device + 1 Year of Home Phone Service
by Vestalink
$29.99

    * Works with Google Voice
    * Voicemail Transcription - Read your voicemail before you listen to it. SMS and email notifications.
    * Ring All - Ring up to 6 phone numbers and 10 VoIP devices simultaneously.
    * E911 Calling with Alerts - Call 911 and then be alerted via text and email when 911 is dialed from your home.
    * Transfer Your Home Number - You can take your current phone number to our service by setting up our porting procedure.

Most curious to me is how it 'integrates' and what it costs after that 1st year...?

What appears to be an ATA including a free year of service would be a good deal for someone who does not already have a device as long as it is affordable going forward.

I am still delighted with my Obi box, bought another for my partner, and frankly I am disinclined to trust Vestalink after carefully examining their offerings in the past - AND seeing all the troubles posted here by folks attempting to use their services - so I would be a VERY hard sell for those folks.

Still - I am curious - does anyone know more about this ??

LTN1

Quote from: vtsnaab on March 22, 2015, 08:30:26 AM
...I am disinclined to trust Vestalink after carefully examining their offerings in the past - AND seeing all the troubles posted here by folks attempting to use their services - so I would be a VERY hard sell for those folks.

Still - I am curious - does anyone know more about this ??

I agree with this. Once a business provider like Vestalink begins a pattern of distrust, it is really hard to break that image. It is possible but it has to be done generously and without any hidden agendas.

I trust Obihai more except when they try to delete threads that threaten their business--as I'm almost certain that they will do to this thread (hope I'm wrong).

vtsnaab

I also hope that the Obi folks will not delete this thread.

Mature businesses recognize the need for diversity and thus tolerate it EVEN if it looks like it may cost them a little bit.

Ultimately, transparency is far more profitable than any hostile stance towards competitors - this has been very well proven in recent years.

I also think that having ample info about VL in particular is a great benefit to Obihai.
This because all the problems VL's service has been shown to have in postings here by Obi users who tried it, and had nothing but problems with that service.

Exposing VL's faults openly is more likely to keep folks with Obihai than to switch away for a short-lived offer with vague details.

ceg3

Thanks for the link to Amazon, which seems to confirm they actually are integrating their device with Google Voice, which I assume means you buy it, log in, and connect your existing GV number, which kind of sounds like another company I am familiar with.  ;D  If that's the case, I guess you can use the device like an OBi and not sign up for Vestalink service or am I being dull?

lrosenman

it seems from the description it is LOCKED to Vestalink.   Not as good a deal as the ObiHai UNLOCKED device.

ceg3

I decided to reply to the email and here is the text that confirms you don't need to port into VL to use their ATA as GV connected device.

Me:  I followed a link to Amazon, which seems to indicate a user can purchase your ATA and use it to connect a Google Voice number the way you can with an OBi. Does this mean you can use it that way without porting in a number into VL and signing up for service?

Ryan at VL:  Yes, that is correct. Thank you!


RFC3261

Quote from: lrosenman on March 22, 2015, 09:47:47 AM
it seems from the description it is LOCKED to Vestalink.   Not as good a deal as the ObiHai UNLOCKED device.
This (locking) is typical of many providers providing free/low cost ATA (or VoIP phones), as the device is sold below cost, and made up in the long term contract.  Not really all that different than most US cell phone providers.  Typically these subsidized ATAs are rebranded from one of the usual suspects, since the providers do not want to actually get into the hardware manufacturing business.

As long as Vestalink provides a good service, at a good price, it may very well be a net positive for some.

Note that anyone considering this solution should consider the long term too, including the year 2+ prices, and the cost (and process) of porting out if the service quality or price does not work out.  In other words, read the contract.

ceg3

I don't think there is any doubt this is a Vestalink branded version of a Grandstream ATA, so no you can't use it for Anveo, for example.  What is somewhat interesting is that you can use it as strictly a GV connected device at a very cheap cost, which would appeal to bargain hunters with simple, single connection needs.  An OBi is a much more feature rich unit of course.

LTN1

What I would like to see is if the Vestalink ATA is as easy to configure as the OBi and whether it has as much quality programming as the OBi.

I would not jump on the Vestalink ATA so soon until it has proven itself. I suspect that a small company that is trying to do both as a service provider and competing in the ATA market with Obihai will likely not have as many resources in the R&D department as Obihai currently has.

Of course, I would still encourage Vestalink to compete--who knows, they may have just as good of a product in the future. The advantage that Vestalink has in R&D is a shortcut in reverse engineering what Obihai has done. That saves a lot of time and resources--especially if they reversed engineer the OBi, and use the same coding in their ATA.

RFC3261

Quote from: ceg3 on March 22, 2015, 11:25:40 AM
What is somewhat interesting is that you can use it as strictly a GV connected device at a very cheap cost...
Long term, or short term?  Long term, if vestalink requires one to purchase their service to keep the device working (which I would expect) that means that after the 1st year you might be better off with an OBi (depending on which discount you get).  And the details of how the GV integration works is a bit sparse (i.e. non-existent) on their web site.  Does the GV traffic go through their servers (which means vestalink has to have the OAUTH token), or is it directly from your ATA (which gets the token)?

You are correct, for some, this will be an interesting offer.  For me, I would want to know more before I made a commitment.

ceg3

The Grandstream HT701 is a proven device.  I think VL just replaced HT with VL.  Don't get me wrong, as a former subscriber to VL I don't trust them very much at all.  In fact, I would be dubious that you actually could use one of their ATA's to connect to GV without subscribing to Vestalink and I would never trade my OBi200 for a Grandstream.

SteveInWA

As has been pointed out, this is just a Grandstream HT-701 ATA, with firmware provisioned and locked to a DID on VL.  This is exactly the same way that Vonage sells their BasicTalk-branded HT-701 ATA, which would be locked to a BasicTalk DID registration.

There's nothing at all being done here with Google Voice, any different than using any other non-GV telephone number as a forwarding phone number from a GV number.  The HT-701 has no Googley firmware capabilities at all.

lrosenman

Quote from: SteveInWA on March 22, 2015, 06:42:45 PM
As has been pointed out, this is just a Grandstream HT-701 ATA, with firmware provisioned and locked to a DID on VL.  This is exactly the same way that Vonage sells their BasicTalk-branded HT-701 ATA, which would be locked to a BasicTalk DID registration.

There's nothing at all being done here with Google Voice, any different than using any other non-GV telephone number as a forwarding phone number from a GV number.  The HT-701 has no Googley firmware capabilities at all.

Why am I not surprised?  The more I hear about Vestalink, the more I'm staying far away from them.

Sorry, Ryan, you lose.

SteveInWA

Quote from: lrosenman on March 22, 2015, 06:45:25 PM
Quote from: SteveInWA on March 22, 2015, 06:42:45 PM
As has been pointed out, this is just a Grandstream HT-701 ATA, with firmware provisioned and locked to a DID on VL.  This is exactly the same way that Vonage sells their BasicTalk-branded HT-701 ATA, which would be locked to a BasicTalk DID registration.

There's nothing at all being done here with Google Voice, any different than using any other non-GV telephone number as a forwarding phone number from a GV number.  The HT-701 has no Googley firmware capabilities at all.

Why am I not surprised?  The more I hear about Vestalink, the more I'm staying far away from them.

Sorry, Ryan, you lose.


And, just in case someone misinterprets my previous comments:

  • I, for one, don't have a problem with ITSPs providing locked ATAs, along with some form of "practically unlimited" service; I understand the need to protect the ITSP from abuse of their service, and that the subsidized ATA is just a throw-away gadget to enable the service.
  • The Grandstream HT-701 is a fine product, and it performs very well as a basic SIP ATA.  Grandstream has put a lot of effort over the past few years to improve their firmware quality control, and the stable version running now on my own HT-701 works great.

lrosenman

Quote from: SteveInWA on March 22, 2015, 07:18:25 PM
Quote from: lrosenman on March 22, 2015, 06:45:25 PM
Quote from: SteveInWA on March 22, 2015, 06:42:45 PM
As has been pointed out, this is just a Grandstream HT-701 ATA, with firmware provisioned and locked to a DID on VL.  This is exactly the same way that Vonage sells their BasicTalk-branded HT-701 ATA, which would be locked to a BasicTalk DID registration.

There's nothing at all being done here with Google Voice, any different than using any other non-GV telephone number as a forwarding phone number from a GV number.  The HT-701 has no Googley firmware capabilities at all.
Why am I not surprised?  The more I hear about Vestalink, the more I'm staying far away from them.

Sorry, Ryan, you lose.


And, just in case someone misinterprets my previous comments:

  • I, for one, don't have a problem with ITSPs providing locked ATAs, along with some form of "practically unlimited" service; I understand the need to protect the ITSP from abuse of their service, and that the subsidized ATA is just a throw-away gadget to enable the service.
  • The Grandstream HT-701 is a fine product, and it performs very well as a basic SIP ATA.  Grandstream has put a lot of effort over the past few years to improve their firmware quality control, and the stable version running now on my own HT-701 works great.
I'm not opposed to locked ATA's, I AM opposed to:

  • folks mis-representing what they are doing
  • folks providing sub-standard service (which based on what I've read here, VL is)


SteveInWA

Agreed!  Sorry I replied via "quote", as I wasn't implying anything about your previous post.

billsimon

Quote from: SteveInWA on March 22, 2015, 06:42:45 PM
There's nothing at all being done here with Google Voice, any different than using any other non-GV telephone number as a forwarding phone number from a GV number.  The HT-701 has no Googley firmware capabilities at all.

A server-side SIP <=> GV translation would make the capabilities of the firmware irrelevant. The HT701 does have nice auto-provisioning capabilities. Perhaps you are jumping to a wrong conclusion.

LTN1

Quote from: ceg3 on March 22, 2015, 10:28:01 AM
I decided to reply to the email and here is the text that confirms you don't need to port into VL to use their ATA as GV connected device.

Me:  I followed a link to Amazon, which seems to indicate a user can purchase your ATA and use it to connect a Google Voice number the way you can with an OBi. Does this mean you can use it that way without porting in a number into VL and signing up for service?

Ryan at VL:  Yes, that is correct. Thank you!

Steve...(above quote for reference to my question) What makes you believe that Vestalink may be providing misleading information about their ATA being like an OBi in ceg3's question to them and their response?