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Old 04-28-12, 05:37 PM   #1
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Options for landline phone?

My cell phone coverage sucks at my house, and it seems to be getting worse. The only 'good' thing is that someone else, with another phone, on another provider, also had crappy coverage at my house - so it's not just my phone or my provider.
That said, I'm looking for a cheap yet reliable addition to my cell phone for home use.

Thinks I've looked into to some extent:
* Basic local landline service from AT&T - 21.00/mo. (plus I'm sure taxes etc.) I will make do with the cell for long distance, and I don't need any features (voicemail, call waiting, etc.)

* MagicJack or MJ Plus - not sure about the pricing, but i've heard wildly divergent opinions on this.

* Some other VOIP like Vonage - their regular price is 26/month, so I'd just go with the AT&T landline over this.

* Some Android app that does VOIP on my wifi? (This would sort of be a last resort, because my phone is pretty much always with me, and part of the reason for this search is to have something at home for guests/babysitter/etc).

Anyone have opinion on any of those, or other suggestions I'm not aware of? At this point I'm seriously considering reactivating the landline - as much as I like my cell phone as a portable computer, as a phone it's pretty crappy, and I'm not in a great area for home cell usage.
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Old 04-28-12, 06:28 PM   #2
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Obihai is the cheapest, you just pay $40 to $50 for the unit,and it uses Google voice. No monthly fee. Google voice is only guaranteed until the end of the year, though google may extend it.Ooma works well,unit is $150 or so,and you pay a $4 monthly fee.I havent used mj. You can use groove IP for free calling on your android through Google voice. But the quality is not that good.
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Old 04-28-12, 10:37 PM   #3
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Whichever way you go, pick up something like this:



You would plug the base into your computer (through MagicJack or whichever route you choose), then put the cordless phones elsewhere in your house.
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Old 04-28-12, 10:58 PM   #4
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Re: Options for landline phone?

I don't understand Google voice. Is it a phone number that routes to a phone connection I already have? It might have a limited lifespan? I have not heard of Obihai before.

The cordless thing is definitely nice. I did have a set like that when I used Packet 8 a while ago. The intercom/paging feature was very convenient.
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Old 04-29-12, 10:20 AM   #5
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by dtcarson View Post
I don't understand Google voice. Is it a phone number that routes to a phone connection I already have? It might have a limited lifespan? I have not heard of Obihai before.

The cordless thing is definitely nice. I did have a set like that when I used Packet 8 a while ago. The intercom/paging feature was very convenient.
You create a new number for google voice. You can also port your old number to Google voice. Google only guaranteed it till end of this year, but they may extend it. They have extended it in the past few years. Obihai is a third party module that works with Google voice to allow you to receive and send calls similar to a traditional land line, but using voip. I have used it for over 6 months and it runs pretty well. Occasionally, it might get stuck and you may have to shut it off and on again. It happens to me maybe once a month. My cable modem and router needs to be reset occasionally too. Ooma is more stable, but costs a lot more. If you are worried about Ooma going under, buy from Costco, they allow for returns on most items whenever. All of these options require your own phone, a cordless phone set is nice, I have one using Obihai. I used Ooma for maybe 2 years, and gave it to my parents. I bought another set to give as a gift for use overseas. I was able to use grooveip overseas for free calls as well, but quality isn't great.
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Old 04-29-12, 11:18 AM   #6
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Re: Options for landline phone?

A friend at work just switched over to NetTalk and he really likes it. It's similar to Magicjack. $50 for the Device and a year of service and then $30 every year after that. Cool thing is you canteen your current home number. www.nettalk.com
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Old 04-29-12, 12:17 PM   #7
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Re: Options for landline phone?

i've heard about nettalk, but based on the reviews, i did not feel comfortable recommending it.

Nettalk
http://www.amazon.com/Nettalk-Duo-VO...ews/B0045S2JE8

Obihai
http://www.amazon.com/OBi100-Telepho.../dp/B004LO098O

Ooma
http://www.amazon.com/Ooma-Telo-Free.../dp/B002O3W4LE
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Old 04-29-12, 02:25 PM   #8
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Re: Options for landline phone?

I have both Ooma Telo and OBi100, Ooma is much better.
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Old 04-30-12, 11:53 PM   #9
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Re: Options for landline phone?

VoIP is definitely the way to go, even if you get a more expensive provider like Vonage. That $21 for an AT&T landline will balloon to $30 or more after all the taxes, fees, public utilities surcharges, and federal universal service fund recovery fees.

The only extra fees on VoIP are usually sales tax and E911 recovery fee.
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Old 05-01-12, 10:09 AM   #10
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Re: Options for landline phone?

I have Skype (w/Skype In/Out) costs $60 a year for unlimited domestic calls. I purchased a FREETALK module that connects directly to your network router.(no computer needed) It communicates to the Skype servers over your internet connection and provides a standard phone jack so that any phone, including wireless base stations, can be connected to it.

This setup works wonderfully, with the added bonus of allowing any device with a Skype client to act as a phone.
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Old 05-01-12, 12:42 PM   #11
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Todd B. View Post
VoIP is definitely the way to go, even if you get a more expensive provider like Vonage. That $21 for an AT&T landline will balloon to $30 or more after all the taxes, fees, public utilities surcharges, and federal universal service fund recovery fees.
Absolutely true. All the additional taxes and fees are the reason I don't have a landline.
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Old 05-01-12, 03:43 PM   #12
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heat View Post
Whichever way you go, pick up something like this:



You would plug the base into your computer (through MagicJack or whichever route you choose), then put the cordless phones elsewhere in your house.
FWIW

This is basically where I am at now. I was using CenturyLink's basic line at about 24-25/mo after taxes&fees.

I moved my business home but only had the wiring for 2 lines, so I had CenturyLink use those two lines for the business rather than running new lines, and I had them disconnect the home phone.

I ended up purchasing the MJ Plus (no computer req.). Installed it and have it set up as above with the phone base plugged into the MJ Plus which is plugged into the outlet as well as my router. The other handsets are located around the house. Everything works the way it did prior to going with the MJ Plus. I waited a week or two before switching over my old phone # to the MJ Plus since I wasn't sure if I'd like it.(Extra $10 a year for attaching my old # to it) Once the phone # was switched, CenturyLink automatically closed my account, so there was no need to contact them.

Thus far, I have had no problems after using 2-3 months. It is noteworthy that this is not a true "landline". Power/internet go out = no phone...but that's what cell phones are for.

Total cost for this year: $70 for MJ Plus including 1 year, $10 to transfer phone #, $10 yearly fee for transferred # = $90. Annual phone service is $30 but they offer 5/$100 when you log into the MJ site which I will probably do when it is time to renew.

EDIT One thing I should note is that I must dial the area code even though my phone # may have the same area code. Not a big deal for me, but it may be a turnoff to some.

Last edited by dfmaverick2; 05-01-12 at 03:55 PM.
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Old 05-03-12, 11:08 AM   #13
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Re: Options for landline phone?

I heard some of these services (like Ooma) don't work with security systems like ADT. Is that true?
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Old 05-03-12, 08:45 PM   #14
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Re: Options for landline phone?

VoIP works well for voice transmission, but it doesn't work that great for things that require data transmission (like fax calls, dial-up modems, POS terminals, etc.). For data transmission, it may work at reduced speed, it may work unreliably, or it may not work at all. This is because the codecs and protocols for VoIP are optimized for vocal information, not for the modulated noise of data connections.

If you need a reliable phone connection for data transmission, you'll probably need to go with a landline. I'm not sure what the requirements are for ADT.
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Old 03-08-14, 09:43 AM   #15
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Bump for input, as I'm considering switching to Vonage or similar.
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Old 03-08-14, 11:43 AM   #16
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Check with your cable service. It only cost us $10 a month to add telephone to our cable/internet package.
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Old 03-08-14, 05:50 PM   #17
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Re: Options for landline phone?

I have Vonage and it's great because international calls are free (except to mobiles in the UK). If you have bad cell coverage complain enough to the service provider and get a fermacell.
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Old 03-08-14, 06:35 PM   #18
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Basic Talk through Walmart. 9.99 per month plus tax. It's VOIP and works great.
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Old 03-09-14, 03:43 PM   #19
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Re: Options for landline phone?

i use these guys. no idea how they might compare to other rec's on here.


http://www.voipo.com/
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Old 03-24-14, 09:07 PM   #20
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Thought I'd throw this out there..

My wife and I both work from home. She's on our home phone all day long in meetings which means I have to use my cell phone for meetings. Cell reception here is spotty at best.

I remembered the other day we had a magic jack from like 3 years ago that was sitting collecting dust. I never had even tried it. I found an app GVJackApp that makes your magic jack go through google voice. It was $12 w/free 7 day trial. I was really skeptical at first but I tried it and to my surprise it worked absolutely perfectly. I just unplugged my phone from the landline and into the back of the MagicJack. Today I used it on several calls and everyone said I sounded really clear and I had no problems at all. Incoming calls w/caller ID, google voice taking messages if I don't answer, call recording, etc.. and it doesn't cost anything more than the one-time purchasing of that software. For an old piece of equipment laying around I now have another full featured phone line
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Old 03-31-14, 09:04 PM   #21
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Re: Options for landline phone?

When I had VOIP before, I'd constantly get weird audio artifacts, echoing, etc. This was 5 years ago. I got so frustrated, I got rid of it.

Anybody else have these problems? Is it better today?
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Old 12-03-15, 05:07 PM   #22
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Re: Options for landline phone?

So I posted about my Magic Jack thing about 20 months ago and have been using it and it worked out great for me.

However, now, she wants a line of her own as well and she needs it to ring whether she has her computer on or not. So I got the Obi 202 .. 5 minutes after I got it out of the box she has her own line and I have my own line and it works quite well.

I do have some complaints about it.. No voice mail indicator, no line in use indicator, and caller id is the number only.. it doesn't do any name lookup. Furthermore it doesn't have any 911 services but we still have our landline.

Any for $60 it was a great device to pick up.
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Old 12-04-15, 02:13 PM   #23
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Re: Options for landline phone?

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeblow69 View Post
Check with your cable service. It only cost us $10 a month to add telephone to our cable/internet package.
Yeah, that. I didn't want (or need) a home phone, but TWC offered us a package that included home phone (and some other stuff, like HBO) that was $47/month cheaper than what we were paying. I bought a cheap Vtech cordless phone from Walmart, and now the missus really likes it for talking to her best friend in another state: the cordless phone is a lot more comfortable for long phone conversations than her mobile. All in all, we're pretty happy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Honbo View Post
When I had VOIP before, I'd constantly get weird audio artifacts, echoing, etc. This was 5 years ago. I got so frustrated, I got rid of it.

Anybody else have these problems? Is it better today?
Before we got Time Warner's home phone, we just went without for a couple years. Before that, though, we had VoiceEclipse, mostly because their $19.95/month plan gives you two numbers from any area code you want; I had just moved from Atlanta to Charlotte, so I was able to get an Atlanta number for friends and family. Call quality was pretty bad at first, but I flashed our router (an old Linksys WRT54g) with Tomato and set up QoS. It was much better after that, but would still sound odd and tinny sometimes. One nice thing about TWC's home phone is that it uses a totally separate channel from your TV or Internet service. It doesn't matter how many TVs are on, or what you're uploading\downloading - it won't affect the call quality. I hate to sound like a shill, but TWC's home phone rivals a traditional land line in call quality, such that even though I have unlimited minutes on my cell plan, I usually reach for the home phone if I'm making a longish call. Ordering Chinese? Use the cell phone. Calling grandma? Use the home phone.

Just a heads-up: Straight Talk offers home phone service, too. But two of their devices - the Huawei H258C Home Phone and the Huawei H226C Reconditioned Home Phone - are basically just Verizon cell phones in a router-sized box you attach a home phone to. So no Internet is needed. But if you live in an area with crappy Verizon service these devices won't work very well.
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