Lingo VoIP Internet Phone Service Provider is a subsidiary of McLean, Virginia-based Primus Telecommunications Group, Incorporated (Primus Telecom). Primus first entered the VoIP market in 1999 and owns and operates an extensive global network, including a VoIP network which spans 150 countries and carries nearly 2 billion minutes of worldwide VoIP traffic annually. Through the Lingo service, Primus Telecom offers U.S. residential and business service to over 300 major markets and international phone numbers from cities in fourteen countries.
Installation and Interface
To place and receive calls, customers only need a broadband Internet connection, a regular phone, and a Telephone Adapter known as a “Lingo Box.” This adapter is provided free when the customer subscribes. For Lingo's Softphone service, simply download and install the application and talk from virtually anywhere through a desktop or laptop computer. Lingo suggests a minimum Pentium III processor, 128MB system memory, 20MB hard disk space for installation, Java Runtime 1.5, and Windows XP or Windows 2000. Lingo Softphone is not compatible with Windows Vista or with Macs.
Lingo provides a plethora of features that are added to a customer's monthly bill. These features, which are available through the phone or computer connection, include call waiting, three-way calling, speed dial, call forwarding, simultaneous ring, caller ID with name, call return, caller ID block, anonymous call rejection, do not disturb and last number redial. Customers also can keep an existing phone number or choose a number. Calls can be made by phone or through a computer with Lingo's “Softphone.” Most importantly, where most VoIP services do not provide an emergency 911 service, Lingo offers two different 911 capabilities. The Lingo Enhanced 911 service routes 911 calls and delivers location specific information (address and call-back number) to Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) whenever someone makes an emergency 911 call. Lingo Emergency Calling Service is an alternative 911 dialing service offered in locations where E911 Service in not yet available. ECS Service routes 911 calls to the PSAP's general access line, which is different from the 911 Emergency Response Center. You will need to state the nature of your emergency promptly and clearly, including your location and telephone number, as PSAP personnel will not have this information at hand.
In 2007, Wired Magazine labeled Lingo as the “most inexpensive plan” among other VoIP services, along with providing kudos for a 'tidy online account manager' and 'no hold time for tech support.' Wired initially encountered “an annoying echo with overseas connections,” but after they contacted customer support the problem was eradicated. The problem lies more with Lingo's parent company, Primus Telecom. Although Primus Telecom owns and operates an extensive global network, the company admitted paying more than $22 million to settle a lawsuit alleging illegal or fraudulent transfers of funds in 2007. Primus Telecom also has been named as a defendant in addition federal litigation and, in 2008, the company's stock has dropped more than 99 percent from its peak in 2000 amid declining revenues and accelerating losses.
Service and Support
Lingo's support services are easily visible through a link at the top of their Web site. They offer a list of FAQs, an installation and features guide and information on how to use their 911 services. Customer care, tech support, and sales numbers and emails are readily available as well.