2talk Around the World

, posted: 17-Aug-2008 02:28

Hello folks,

Following on from my previous review of 2talk here I thought I would follow up with my experiences from using it via softphones and via the callback service in Canada and the UK.

All in all it's been an extremely great service. I used it mainly with the X-lite softphone and have never had any major issues. I found that using the G721 codecs gave the best quality when I was on a stable connection and didnt care about bandwidth usage. Using free softphones meant I wasnt able to use the G729 codec but apparently it is supposed to be quite good. I have also used Ekiga and SIP Communicator which both work very well.

The call quality from both Canada and here in the UK have been excellent. The latency is pretty much unnoticable so long as I'm on a semi decent connection (not too hard in North America/UK!) and I havent had any dropped calls or interuptions (bar those caused on my end by useless laptop batteries or accidental cable pulls!).

I did have some small issues with billing - their system wasnt recognising some Canadian caller IDs properly and billing them as Mobile calls, but a quick email to their support team had it sorted out quick smart with a credit to cover the issues.

On that note, their support team seems to be quite proactive and responsive, although I imagine they have the advantage of being a fairly small outfit at the moment.

The callback feature is extremly useful. Basically saves having to use calling cards etc. All I do is call my 028 number, wait for it to ring, and then it calls me back (so long as they received a caller ID which can sometimes be a bit dodgy internationally), I enter a PIN and then I get a dial tone and make a call as if I was in NZ. Its great for avoiding horrendous Telecom/VF roaming charges and to avoid making toll calls from friends' phone lines etc. I have it set up on my 028 number to call back all numbers and ask for a PIN seeing as I also have an 04 number which people call me on, but you can also set it up to only call back certain numbers with/without a PIN. The call quality using the callback seems to generally be much better than using calling cards and sometimes even better than just direct dialing on a landline from here.

The other great thing is the LocateMe & OneNumber feature where up to 3 external numbers + up to 5 VoIP phones can be rung simultaneously and you pick up which ever one you are closest to and the call connects to you. Works a treat while travelling or not at a computer. I have it set up to call my NZ cell and my temp Canada/UK cell and I give out my 2talk number instead of my 027 number so that when people call me the most I pay is 30c per min by answering on my UK cell instead of 1.50/min thru Telecom roaming!

One group of people I would definately recommend it to are either businesses or families who have staff/family members spread around the country. You can have multiple lines in different regions set up on one account, and calls are free between those numbers so effectively you can set yourself up a world wide PBX that isnt tied to particular desks or offices. There are also flexible options for redirecting calls to a head office or other staff member on no answer or busy. They also have support for 0800 numbers now.

Things I would like to see from them:
- A desktop interface/director that works with hardware VoIP phones that integrates with outlook etc to control calls (particularly useful for businesses if it could integrate with CRM type software for call tracking etc)
- Have Slingshot drop iTalk and migrate users to 2talk and offer it as part of the NDSL package
- Development or support of cell/smartphone apps that can automate dialing etc.
- Support for IP Phones to have centralised XML directories stored on 2talk servers with outlook integration and web based interface.
- Push for national (and international) SIP peering with other VoIP providers to bypass the PSTN as much as possible
- Push for IP Peering with other ISPs to make VoIP traffic free/cheaper
- Develop the faxing side a bit more with software to allow seamless faxing from desktop apps rather than via email
- Offer ADSL/Cable routers preconfigured with QoS settings to maximise VoIP experience

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Comment by sbiddle, on 17-Aug-2008 09:08

In regards to faxing there are already plenty of solutions available. 2talk is T.38 compliant and there are already software based solutions that create virtual printer drivers that work with T.38 meaning you can seamlessly send a tax from any Windows application.

Author's note by mushion22, on 17-Aug-2008 11:14

Ah ok wasn't aware of that. Still would be good for them to at least make available and support one - I asked them about it and they couldn't help me.

Also, the Telecom roaming inbound calls are only $1 now, not 1.50 - was 1.50 when I left NZ in January. They are also at half price at the moment so not too bad.

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Hamish Goodwin
New Zealand

Have a Bachelor of IT (Hons) majoring in Info Systems. Mainly focused on management in strategy with a bunch of development as well. Now a Capacity Planner in Wellington (No i don't really know what that means either...)

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