I discovered today what I thought was probably the best deal in VOIP/PSTN offerings right now: MeritCall. No monthly fee, 1.9 cents a minute to call anywhere in the US.
The problem is, you can only sign up by buying their equipment. Their cheapest phone is a flimsy looking USB device at $79. The next device is overkill, a full-blown VOIP phone at $100.
I contacted MeritCall sales to see if they would hook me up with service using my own VOIP equipment; no dice.
Me: Hi, I'm interested in signing up for Meritcall service, but I already own VOIP equipment. Is there a way to sign up without having to purchase one of your phones?
MeritCall: Thank you for contacting MeritCall sales center. My name is Scott and it’s my pleasure to assist you. Unfortunately, since we are offering no monthly fee no contract service, there is no way to use our service without purchasing our phones. Thank you.
Me: If I buy one of your phones can I just set it aside and use my VOIP equipment instead?
MeritCall: I don’t think that’s going work. The way is to buy our phones. Thank you.
So I guess after MeritCall the best deal in VOIP is SIPPhone at 3.5 cents a minute. SIPPhone, they claim, works with any SIP capable equipment, even softphones.