We closed on our new house Friday, and I’m reconsidering all of our services. Right now we have cable, phone, and Road Runner through Time Warner. Since we’re moving out of the county, TW won’t let us port our number to our new home.
After really thinking about it, I realized that all we really need to have is internet. With internet we can go online, watch Netflix (which we mostly do anyway), and use VOIP for phone.
I’ve already started using Google Voice to receive calls (and texts). I love Google voice, but don’t want to use my cell phone for all of my outgoing calls. Using my cell phone, I can make calls FROM my cell phone or Google Voice number, but both options use up my cell phone minutes (currently 700/month shared between three phones).
This has me looking at additional options. I’ve pretty much dismissed Time Warner VOIP and Vonage (both have high monthly costs), and I’ve found some interesting alternatives so far:
Magic Jack Plus: Unlike the original Magic Jack, no computer is needed and you can port your old number (where available), and e911 is available. Their salesy website is a big turnoff. Reviews I’ve found are not encouraging. Live Chat, but no phone support. COST: $69.95 for the device and one year of telephone service with all subsequent years of service for $29.95/year. Device insurance for $10, and number porting for a one-time fee of $20. Also available at Radio Shack.
Obi110: www.obihai.com Cheap, one-time equipment fee and can be set up with Google Voice. However, no 911 service (can be added with CallCentric) and requires Google username & password to work (security?). Some people will set up a secondary dedicated Google Voice account, but I’d like to keep the G-Voice number I already have, and not have to login to different Google accounts on my Droid to see Gmail and Voice. Obi110 has two ports so you can set up more than one VOIP service with one device. COST: $49.99 equipment charge. No monthly fees.
CallCentric: www.callcentric.com 911 Service for $1.50/month to use with Obi110.
VOIPo: http://www.voipo.com Offers VOIP services as well as Cloud Numbers. With a cloud number, I can port my old number to them, and for $36/year forward those calls to my Google Voice number that I can access with Obi110. They have US-based phone support during normal business hours (Monday – Friday from 10AM-6PM Central). I’ll be calling them tomorrow for more info.
A couple more options I’m considering:
Ooma Hub: http://www.ooma.com/products/ooma-hub
Ooma Telo: http://www.ooma.com/products/ooma-telo
Lots of cool features, including a free second line. Compatible with Google Voice. Looks like it’s necessary to use a DECT 6.0 handset, if you plan on using a cordless phone. COST: Both Ooma devices are about $200. Calls are free for basic service, or $9.99/month for premium service. Free service isn’t 100% free, as you must pay for e911 service at about $12/year. One-time $39.99 number porting fee, or Free with premium service signup.
I’d love to hear your experience with any of these services! I’ll keep you posted with what I end up doing and results.