I just finished updating all of my phone technology, and I’m pleased with the results – lower cost and more functionality than before. I’m relating the experience in the event that it is useful to you.
I started with (1) an old Sprint cell contract and phones, (2) a land line from Centurylink to support a device that sends out alarm calls on low temp, water in sump, and power fail events, (3) internal Panasonic phones driven from the land line from Centurylink, and (4) Comcast cable internet service.
Briefly, here’s what I did.
- Established a Google voice number to allow me to play with voip.
- Installed an Obihai bridging device – OBI110. (about $50 from obihai.com or amazon) Configured it to act as a bridge between my internal phones, the land line, and the Google voice voip service over the Comcast internet service. This gave me confidence and some understanding of the OBI110 device and voip features.
- Signed up with CallCentric.com for a more professional and stable voip service to replace the Google one. This cost all of about $10, including a monthly fee of similar size. I ported my land line number to CallCentric, which ended my CenturyLink relationship and saved nearly $20/mo.
- Bought a simple smartphone and cell service from pagepluscellular.com. This is a reseller of Verizon access. This saves me on the order of $30/mo over sprint. The smartphone is a low end model and cost me $150, but I figure that a 5 month payback period is just fine.
So, I end up with more features, total portability, no long commitments, flexibility, etc., and I save about $50/mo. Oh yes, and I can make internet-based phone calls from my tablet anywhere in the world or from the smartphone to just about anywhere else in the world to save more $. It is not “sexy”, but being a nerdy, cash-strapped retiree, thinking about travel/relocation, this was all important to me.
I should also mention that to protect against power outages at home I have made sure that key components are powered from UPS devices, which I already had since power is unreliable here. This means that my device that sends out alarms can operate for a while during power outages.