Keep Your Land Line Phone – Ditch The Cost
Back in the late 90′s making phone calls over the internet started gaining attention. I remember my first time calling using dialpad.com to make a long distance call for free. With my dial-up internet (ugh!), and a headset, I called a relative – who will remain nameless - to test it out. When they picked up, I said “Hey it’s Rob, I’m calling you over the internet”. She frantically asked “Oh… Rob…, can you see me?” After a second of being dumbfounded, and laughing hysterically, I jested “Yes, can you please put something decent on?” Unfortunately I couldn’t drop my long distance, because calls sounded like very bad cell reception most of the time.
Calling over the internet is better known in the tech world as VOIP (Voice over internet protocol) and it has come a long way as internet speeds have increased, and technology expanded to enable good call quality. VOIP essentially takes speech, converts it to 1′s and 0′s to travel over the internet, then converts it back to audible speech on the other end.
My Recent Experience
About 6 months ago I took the plunge and dropped my Verizon land line after buying an Ooma Telo. I live in the sticks, and with my 1.5Mbps Comcast connection it sounded great, even while streaming a Netflix show. I paid about $150 – refurbished – of course, as well as the $40 number port. All-in-all I have to say that the Ooma is not perfect, but it is pretty darn good, good enough not to tempt me to bring my land line back. According to over 2000 reviews on Amazon a lot of other people seem to like it too. As a matter of fact Consumer Reports magazine name it as the top phone service provider in recent ratings – including the Verizon’s and AT&T’s.
I’m saving $50 per month on my phone bill. The Ooma paid for itself in 4 months. I’ve heard that the Ooma handsets enhance the experience even more, so I’ll be on the prowl for a refurbished set. It took me about 2 hours to order, setup and port my number. Over 5 years it will save me $3000. Even if you’re only saving $30 per month it’s a great deal to save $1800 for 2 hours of work. My landline was costing me $54. I still need to pay $4 to cover Uncle Sam’s piece of the action. Other than that – it’s free calling inside the domestic US of A.
Another device worth mentioning is similar to the Ooma, called OBi100 and only costs $40. It also offers good call quality and is free when paired with Google Voice service. Google Voice is free – at least until the end of 2012. I’m sure after that, if there is a charge, it will be nominal. This should also be a good bet if you’re trying to squeeze out a few extra bucks.
- Money: $200 - for the device (refurb) & port – $4/mo for taxes and fees.
- Time: 1 hr – (including setup, testing, porting, etc.)
- Money: $50/mo ($12,000 over 20 years)
- Payback Years: .25 (4 months)
- Avg Hourly Rate Over 5 years: [($50 x 60mos.) - $200 (cost of device)] /1hr = $2800/hr