Most of this information is most useful for those in the U.S. It can also be helpful if you're outside the U.S., but still calling, or being called from U.S. numbers.
I'm not sure exactly what you're looking for so I'll try to break down a few points I've gathered from testing a zillion different options.
Vonage is fine. I'd go with Broadvoice for about $5 less a month. I've used both and Vonage seems to be worth $0/month more in terms of call quality.
I don't know how much time you spend on the phone, but for maximum flexibility and minimum price
, I like the following combo...
(with Skype Out) - for long duration calls. I've had better success with Skype over unknown wireless connections than Vonage/Broadvoice and it costs about a tenth of the others.
T-Mobile To Go
- This is a cell phone
thing, but great for making short calls. A $100 refill gives you something like 1000 minutes that don't expire for a full 365 days. Any subsequent refill resets your 365 days for all the minutes. Most prepaid plan minutes expire in 30 or 60. With the cost of the phone, your total should still be under $150.
If you can get an invite, Google
Voice allows you to tie these services together in such a way that you can make calls to regular numbers on
Skype using Skype-In rather than Skype-Out.
Another option to add to the arsenal is Gizmo5
. This service
combined with Google Voice
allows unlimited free incoming and outgoing calls when combined with Google