Save money on your phone bill!

June 5, 2012 by Karl

telephone berry berry berry berry berry


This article will show you how to save money on your land-line phone. Many people still like the security of a land-line phone and if you have a business it is almost a necessity. If you have reliable internet service, you can easily cut the price of your land-line in half if not better. We went from a $60-$70 bill (USA) to less than $10 per month for a much better service! Anyone can do it if you have a little technical knowledge.

How do we save so much money? We made the shift from our standard Verizon service with two phone numbers, to Voice Over Internet Protocol (also known as VoIP).  When we were with Verizon, we had the very basic service for each of our numbers. With VoIP we have built-in caller ID, voice mail which we have sent to our email as an attachment, and more importantly, the ability to block phone calls from specific numbers. If we have specific telemarketers calling us from the same number all the time, we simply block their number. It’s GREAT! All for less than $10 per month for two phone numbers! We even switched our existing phone numbers from Verizon to our new VoIP service!

To make this possible, you need to have a solid high-speed internet service. DSL, Cable, or FiOS are the best, but you are not limited to these. The important thing to check is the amount of latency you have with your internet service.  To find out what your latency is, go to speedtest.net.   On the speed test, latency will show up as either ping, or latency, and will be in a box showing the number of milliseconds of latency you have.  (ping and latency are basically the same thing for our purposes).  If the latency is less than 150ms then you are in a great position to switch to VoIP.  If it is between 150ms and 300ms, you will hear some noticeable lag or echo in your calls.  If it is greater than 300ms, I would not recommend VoIP as an option.

You can purchase a VoIP phone, but that is not necessary, and they are very expensive compared to standard phones.  What you will need is a box called a VoIP phone adapter that will convert your internet signal to a voice signal and feed it into the existing phone lines in your house.  The one I have been using is the  OBi110 Voice Service Bridge and VoIP Telephone Adapter found on Amazon.com for around $50.  You will need one for each phone number you have coming into the house. The OBi110 gives you more flexibility than other devices because it allows you to tie into Google Voice which gives you free outgoing calls.

Next you need to set up a VoIP account with one of the many providers out there.  The one I chose and love is voip.ms.  They offer LOTS of flexibility at very low prices.  You also need to set up a Google Voice Account.

Here’s the way it works.  Your incoming calls will be routed to your VoIP provider, who will send the call to the OBi110 device which connects your internet to your phone line.  Your phones will ring and work just like they normally do.   Your outgoing calls will be sent from your OBi110 device to your Google voice account, and from there the call will be sent to the number you dialed just as normal.  The only difference is that the person picking up the call will see your Google Voice number on their caller ID display rather than your normal number.  That’s it!  Your outgoing calls will be free with Google Voice, and your incoming calls will be charged at the rate of your VoIP provider.  In my case it is $6.95 per month + $1.50 per month for 911 service.  The additional phone number I have set up for $.99 per month on the basic plan because I don’t use it much.  You will need to tweak things to work best for your own calling usage.

The OBi110 can also be tied into individual phones if you like, instead of tying it into the entire house.  The flexibility of this device is truly amazing.

Initially I bought the OBi110, and tied it directly into my business phone just to check it out.  I also had my regular Verizon service tied in at the same time so I could compare.  After a month of testing, I could see the savings add up, and by the next month I had purchased another device and plugged them both into all our house phones.  I then transferred or “ported” our existing phone numbers from Verizon to my new voip.ms service, and cut Verizon out of the loop completely.  My bill for last month (May 2012) was $9.48 for both phones.  This is my sixth month after the switch, and we are completely thrilled with the service and the savings.

obi setup photo

I am sure you would have the same results if you have a decent high-speed internet connection.  If you have made the switch already or want to give it a try, please leave me some comments below.  I love helping people save money!

I do receive compensation from Amazon for the OBi110 links on this page, but would recommend the product whether I received anything or not.  It is an excellent product.


3 Comments »

  1. Since the connection for the phone is through the internet, what happens when the internet is down? We have 52ms for latency, but there has been enough loss of internet for me to be concerned. We have 4 computer connected, 3 are on a cisco wireless connector, does the situation pose problems?
    Thanks,
    Debra.

    • Karl says:

      Debra,

      As you have probably guessed, when the internet is down your voice over internet phone is down too. Also if your power goes out, you loose your phone. I used Verizon Fios for about 6 years and never had it go down (except in an ice storm where the cable from the road to the house went broke). I have been using Comcast for about 8 months, and it has only gone down once…. for about 2 minutes (that I am aware of). I’m surprised that your service goes down so often. What type of service do you have?

      Karl

  2. [...] They simply will not open an account for you. I don’t have a “land-line” (I use VOIP for my home and business lines), but I was able to get a referral from an existing customer of [...]

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