SIP Provider Comparison

1 minute read

Until now I've been using les.net which is a Canadian SIP provider, so they must comply with Canadian privacy law by keeping personal information private. As SIP providers can't/don't provide end-to-end encryption, in the post-Snowden era we can safely assume all VoIP/SIP calls are being recorded by the NSA. Because of this, I decided to do a SIP provider comparison with les.net and two other low-cost solutions, voip.ms and callcentric.com.

For the non-techies who are still reading this for some reason, SIP is a popular Voice Over IP (VOIP) protocol that allows you to make really cheap calls over the internet, from your computer, landline, and/or mobile/smart phones. If you want to know how to use this for home or business, drop me an email.

In the first graph I compare inbound (DID) rates, first on a per minute basis, and then with each provider's unlimited plan. If you receive more than 200 minutes/month of calls, unlimited voip.ms is the winner at $4.25/m. Note, the below graph is not only interactive (hover your mouse over it), I have configured it to update dynamically based on the exchange rate.

I then did a comparison of outbound SIP calls, as with SIP providers these rates are separated from inbound. It's also interactive and exchange rates are updated every 20 minutes.

As you can see, once again voip.ms is the clear winner.

A few points of note:

  • I did my comparison based on Canadian rates.
  • Android has built in SIP functionality. Click on the phone icon, then go to "Settings" in the dialer and scroll to the bottom, you should see "SIP accounts" under Internet Call Settings.
  • Unfortunately none of the providers seem to offer SRTP (TLS/Security). My next plan is to test zrtp on these providers, which provides end-to-end encryption.
  • Skype provides unlimited calls for $2.99/month, but it doesn't use SIP, Microsoft gives the NSA a direct backdoor to all your calls, and Skype is a battery killer on mobile/Android, so they're not on the list.
  • If you're geeky enough to get SIP working, you should also check out Asterisk which will blow your mind.

Let me know if there are any other providers I should add to the list.