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02-11-2011, 01:28 PM   #1
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Cutting the phone company for VOIP, experiences?

My smart phone recently died and I am switching back to my old dumb phone to ride out the last 4 months of my contract with sprint. After this contract is done it is my intention to completely ditch the traditional cell phone company relationship in favor of an Line2 ($10/month or $50/6 month) using either an iPod Touch, an iPhone, or an Android handset. As a backup for when I am not around a wifi connection I was planning to do a prepaid SIM card with either ATT ($.10/min) or T-Mobile ($100 for 1000 min that lasts 1 year). The other option would be a mobile hot spot ($40/month) but that is pretty expensive IMHO since I already have wifi at home and work and would require carrying and charging an extra device. The dream is to be able to have a smart phone for internet access anywhere with wifi and a phone available anywhere for $200/yr or less.

Has anyone else done this or something else similar? If so could you please share your experiences, tips, pitfalls, etc...

Like I said I have 4 months to plan this out so I have time to find a device and I don't have my heart set on an iPhone or Android so I could go with either.

02-11-2011, 06:17 PM   #2
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Reality check

I see you live in New Orleans Mike. Did any of these devices continue to work when Katrina hit?

Chris
02-11-2011, 07:57 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I see you live in New Orleans Mike. Did any of these devices continue to work when Katrina hit?

Chris
The only thing that worked was text messaging, voice calling was hosed from all providers because everything to a 504 number was routed through the ATT building in downtown news orleans and every circuit was jammed.

I evacuate early anyway so it is not a huge deal for me and like I said I plan on having a prepaid SIM so that I have access to the cellular networks on an as needed emergency basis.

I have been doing some research and I am leaning towards grabbing an android device and using Sipdroid with Google Voice which are both free so it would mean paying the cost for the handset and a $20 charge for porting my current number to Google Voice. And it looks like to make a phone call over the cell network you just dial the phone number and put a + after the phone number and it dials out over the SIM card.

I just find that I am paying $130/month for 2 lines with voice, text and data and using it almost exclusively in places where I have wifi (home, work, and friends/family houses) or places where I don't want to be disturbed (namely when I am driving b/c I hate to talk and drive). One of the things about carrying a cell phone that has always grinded on me was that I am too available to people and I want to cut back other people's access to me. I think I will be able to make it work because I can still check my messages when I am on the go by stopping for a minute anywhere with wifi and checking. I haven't been satisfied with the data speeds of the cell networks either.

I will still have a cell phone bill for my wife but I am hoping that if it is easy to use this setup that she will follow suit, but I don't have my hopes too high.
02-11-2011, 10:22 PM   #4
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Please keep us updated MikeMike. My iPhone contract ends this summer. I was really hoping to go the iPod Touch + VirginMobile Hotspot + Google Voice route but found out that Google Voice isn't approved for the iPod Touch. I wonder if I can continue to use my iPhone + Google Voice or iPhone + Line2 after my contract ends? I've got an old 2.5 G iPhone that I'll test with.

FWIW, the Virgin Mobile hotspot doesn't have a contract. You can just buy it for a month at a time.

This whole Net Neutrality scares me though. Give the providers control of the pipes and they'll soon be stomping out technology advances like VOIP that threaten their cash cows.

02-12-2011, 05:55 AM   #5
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Skype works well on the iPod touch. It is relatively inexpensive to add landline and cell calling, and you can also purchase a phone number and have voicemail, though you can't port your number.

I have virgin mobile hotspur. They are going to begin throttling the unlimited plan at 5gb later this month, but if you don't watch video or download alot that is still quite a bit of usage. It has no problem with VoIP through skype, and has been great to have since I've never really had a contract or smart phone with a data plan. If you buy the hotspur at walmart, they have an exclusive 1gb/30day plan for $20 also...not sure if that would be enough for regular voice, but that is what I am switching to with the impending throttle.

Ive been running prepaid only for quite a long time as well. I used to swear bt tracfone and net10, but have had to deal with their customer service one too many times, it is atrocious. Boost and virgin have the best monthly prepaid plans, but i have been using common cents mobile for 4-5 months and am very pleased. They do have a limited selection of phones, I got the kyocera with the keyboard and it is good voice qual but just ok build. Their $150/year plan at 7 cents per minute/ text with round down after the first minute is tough to beat, especially if you generally make short 2-3 minute calls most of the time. Any other questions, shoot!
02-12-2011, 06:11 AM   #6
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I just did some checking myself, sounds like skype uses about 50mb per hour of talk, that would be a pretty good yield of voice coupled with a prepaid phone. 1gb I think would be plenty of data for light surfing, email and skype usage.
02-20-2011, 06:27 PM   #7
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What will you do when the President flips the internet kill switch?
02-21-2011, 11:58 AM   #8
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I will keep my POTS line forever.

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02-21-2011, 07:26 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChrisPlatt Quote
I will keep my POTS line forever.

Chris
I have and still use a mustard-colored standard dial phone that came out of my mother's kitchen and a white princess touch tone phone that was our first telephone as a married couple. We paid an extra $1.16 a month for the princess phone.

No matter what else happens to the electricity or cell service, these two phones alwayts seem to work (because the phone system has its own electricity).

AT&T hates me because I just won't go away.
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