Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Cutting the cost of the home phone while keeping the phone

So when I moved to my new place, the first thing I checked when I was viewing the home was my phone signal. To say it was weak was being nice. But because this place was the best one out there, I figured I would have to look into a different option sooner rather than later. I would be damned if I was gonna endure a monthly bill for a phone. Phone bills are $20 to $25 a line or you can bundle it in with your cable/dsl package which is fine but I thought there had to be something like magic jack or something similar that I could just plug in and have a VOIP. I didnt want magic jack because at the time they only offered the version which you had no choice, but to keep your computer on while it was plugged via usb. While I do that 90 percent of the time, sometimes I turn it off and I didnt want that hassle. The biggest "NO" as far as magic jack goes is that you have to pay a yearly fee. By no means is a yearly $20 dollar fee expensive, I wanted a freeeeeeee option. I'm willing to pay an upfront price for a great product but I dont want to keep paying for it. I pay monthly for internet why keep paying for something that should be free.

My search lead me to things like Ooma and Vonage, but again your running into a monthly cost. I want to cut the cord and I knew the technology was out there I just had to find it. I was talking to the writer and editor of Bauer-power.net and we were discussing options like hacking the magic jack,  however the hack was a few years old and magic jack had been able to fix the hole that allowed that hack. A few days later in my endless search, I came across a product called Obihai.

If you havent heard of google voice, they basically give you a free number that is connected to your email or cell or home phone. You also get to choose the number you want. So basically if I want a San Diego number, you put the area code and then from there you can choose your 7 digits or have them choose for you. Goolge Voice allows you to receive notifications, voicemails and make calls using google's voice for FREE.. This is where the Obihai comes in. Obihai is a VOIP adapter that allows you to use the google voice number when making and receiving calls. The setup is as simple as following the prompts. You connect it to a router or in my case gateway and as I said you follow the prompts for the simplest installation.

The Obihai adapter is 49.99 on websites like amazon.


I bought a home phone system from Costco for under 50 bucks. It came with three wireless phones and one hub with voice-mail options that that you connect to the Obihai device. So for a total of 110 bucks including tax I have a brand new phone system.  You might say well you spent 110 bucks. Well if your in the market for a home phone, your gonna have to spend money to buy the phones. So in the 7 months I've lived there I would have paid $175.oo just in a monthly phone bill.  Tthe upfront cost is well worth the savings I will continue to save.

The quality is outstanding. I have had some complaints which I think is more about the quality of phones I purchased, but 98 percent of the  calls sounds clear and perfect to both me and the people on the line. I would say the percentage would be closer to100 percent if I had purcahsed better phones but for what I need it for, I've been extremely thrilled.

Now the negative.. I could be big for people with Kids. NO E911 support. According to the Obihai website "With E911 service, when you dial 911, your telephone number and registered address is simultaneously sent to the local emergency center assigned to your location, and emergency operators have access to the information they need to send help and call you back if necessary". Its my understanding that this does not work and this could be a issue.

If I had to rate this product I would give it a 5 out of 5 rating. It does everything I need and since I dont plan on getting injured out stabbed at my house, I feel very good about recommending this product to everyone looking for a similar solution..If your looking for an option like this give it a shot and if you have any questions let me know and I will try and get to them asap.

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