Goodbye 8x8, Hello Line2

Goodbye 8x8, Hello Line2
I just switched my VOIP phone from 8x8 to Line2 today, after a 5+ year stint with 8x8 (previously Packet8). Nothing against 8x8, except that I was looking to save some money and have some integration with my iPhone.

Porting my number to Line2 was easy; however, even though I was told that I’d receive a message when the transfer was scheduled, I’ve received no notification—and the transfer was completed yesterday.

Right now I’ve got it setup so that calls to my Line2 number ring my iPhone directly, instead of the Line2 app. My reason is this: if my phone is locked, I have to respond to a notification and then unlock my phone. Using my phone normally to answer calls would seem to be easier.

If I don’t answer, my Line2 voicemail kicks in. I’m going to have to play with this a little bit, since I don’t want my mobile voicemail to pick up; I want all messages in one store. I can turn off my mobile voicemail, but then calls directly to my cell phone will never go to voicemail. I wonder if Sprint can set the voicemail to pick up later? [Update: No.]

Outgoing calls I’ll make through the Line2 app, which has an interesting feature called tri-mode calling. Line2 will attempt to place calls via WiFi first, falling back to using 3G/4G and then your cellular plan if necessary and if those modes are enabled. You can also choose to use cellular on a call-by-call basis if you’re on WiFi.

Your workflow for receiving calls can be more complex than I’ve described here, with options for ringing your softphone (iOS device or desktop) first; sending the call directly to voicemail; forwarding the call to one or multiple phones; forwarding with call screening; and auto-attendant handling. Your call flow and voicemail messages can be different for general, business and personal callers (defined by your address books) and for after hours callers as well.

Most of those options are available only with the Line2 Pro plan, which is $14.95 per month or $149.50 per year. That compares well against 8x8, which was costing me ~$28/month.[1] But the Standard plan, at $9.95 per month or $99.95 per year, is certainly useful for many people.

I do have a few gripes, though. First is that the multiple softphones can’t be logged in at the same time. That means your desktop app and a mobile softphone (Line2 also supports Android) can’t be used simultaneously. Second is that while notifications are made for incoming calls, no notification is sent for new voicemail. [Update: I’ve got a workaround for this issue.] But these issues are minor and hopefully will be addressed in a future update. Right now, this switch has gone well and I’m happy with the service.

  1. 8x8 is no longer offering residential service on new accounts and their lowest price is $30 (excluding surcharges) for a business account. Incidentally, the rep offered to drop the fee on my account from $25 to $10 per month. It stings a bit that they were charging me $15 a month extra for who knows how long.  â†©