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So, I will talk now about my experience with Bandwidth. There is not too much I can say to introduce this company. One of the top in the market. I know them because one of my ex-employers use to deal with them using their termination trunks.

I will try to tell you what happened with my approach here.

My Approach to Bandwith

The first thing I did was filling the "Ask for a Trial" form. There is no way you can get an account by yourself. The very next day I got an email from an account manager discussing my needs, my company and what bandwidth would do for me. I was never offered the so-called trial.

The Contract and Terms Highlights

So, after some emails and a phone call, I was asked to fill the screening form. The form asked for the company generals, three business references or a copy of some bills. After filling a screening form, three days later I got approval from Bandwith that they were willing to do business with me. Some outstanding points of this document:

  • It was a two years contract after that, it becomes renewable by the year.
  • Postpaid service.
  • A 30-day period to back off from the deal (I think this is the "free trial"). It was not clear if the trial was for free or paid. The wording on this part was kind of shady.
  • As soon as I get the "Master Service Agreement" (aka MSA), I read it and I sent a long list of observations. Oddly, I found resistance to answer in written form; they always wanted to do it on the phone. I didn't yield to this until I started to get written answers.
  • The MSA, as they call it, was sent before showing any rate. So I had to stop the process until I had them. No way I would sign a document up without knowing the prices.
  • The following surcharges were stated:
    • Abandoned calls: a 30% threshold with a surcharge of 0.01 USD per exceeded call. For Bandwidth, an “Abandoned Call” means any call attempt that is received by Bandwidth for completion, but which is abandoned and/or cancelled by the calling party prior to completion. Personally speaking, I had no issue with this. However, if you give a thought there is a catch here. It is very common that in your PBX you configure ring-groups to call extensions and cellphones simultaneously. More likely, some extensions may have a call forward to cellphones. When an incoming call arrives, all involved cellphones will ring, when someone answers all the other channels will be abandoned.
    • Short Call Duration: a 15% threshold with a surcharge of 0.01 USD per exceeded call. For Bandwidth, a "Short Call" means any call of a duration of less than or equal to six (6) seconds. Not too much to say here. If you are still wanting to sign up with them, you may want to read my article about how to avoid these charges.
    • Average Call Duration (ACD): 90 seconds average is asked with a surcharge of 0.01 USD per missed second. This is a dealbreaker for me. First, because there is no way to force a longer conversation. Not even a secretary stays on the phone that long with a customer just to do an appointment reminder call. Secondly, taken from their document:
      "If the Average Call Duration during any applicable billing cycle is less than (90) seconds, Bandwidth reserves the right to charge, and Customer will pay, an ACD Surcharge equal to (i) (x) the number of minutes Customer would have used if the Average Call Duration would have equalled (90) seconds with respect to the number of calls actually completed, minus (y) the number of minutes Customer actually used with respect to the calls actually completed, multiplied by (ii) the ACD Surcharge. (For example, if Customer’s Average Call Duration during a billing cycle is sixty (60) seconds, Customer completed 1,000,000 calls during the billing cycle and the ACD Surcharge per applicable minute is $0.01, the aggregate ACD Surcharge would be $5,000.00, calculated as follows: (90 seconds x 1,000,000) – (60 seconds x 1,000,000) = 500,000 minutes x $0.01 per minute.)"
  • Bandwidth reserves the right from 6 to 9 months to bill retroactive "errors".

After some emails, I was offered another rate deck that was exempt from the ACD. The so-called UC deal was as follow:

  • Local DID: .5 (includes 911) Toll-free DID: 1.00 Inbound: .004 Outbound: .008 Toll-free inbound: .02 Toll-free outbound: free

Although the ACD surcharge wouldn't apply, the other two would do. So paying a 0.008 USD/min flat rate for domestic calls is for me a steal. If I wanted to pay that rate, I know companies that charge me that rate without a two-year commitment.

Rates

Bandwidth uses interstate and interlata rates to terminate to the USA. It could be very affordable. They do not have the best rates, but they have good ones. Rates increments are a mix, for US domestic calls 6/6, for international calls 30/6.

The 6/6 increment is fine, but the international increments of 30/6 means they will bill you right away a half of a minute. This could become really expensive in the long run.

Surcharges

After the emails. The following surcharges were found:

  • Abandoned calls: a 30% threshold with a surcharge of 0.01 USD per exceeded call. This could be voided if I get the other service where the minute was rated at 0.008 USD/min. To my opinion, too expensive.
  • Short Call Duration: a 15% threshold with a surcharge of 0.01 USD per exceeded call.
  • Average Call Duration (ACD): 90 seconds average is asked with a surcharge of 0.01 USD per missed second.

Verdict

Although Bandwidth has some good rates (not the best) on North-American domestic termination, their tricky surcharges are a big no to me. I passed and didn't sign up.

Sign up with them if you want to get in big debt for the following two years.

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