Several weeks ago I was at my mom’s place, and realized she still had a land-line that was costing her almost $400 a year. Personally I’ve never had a land-line. A Skype connection or my cell phone has been enough to meet all my voice communication needs. However for most people who grew up before cell phones and Internet, the idea of ‘cutting the cord’ so to speak, doesn’t sound like a good idea. So, rather than nix the land-line altogether, I began researching options that would enable her to keep her familiar land-line phone equipment. After about an hour of browsing Amazon and other review sites, I settled on the OBI 100 Internet Phone.
How Does the OBI 100 Internet Phone Work?
The OBI 100 Internet Phone, is a fairly simple $40 box you can pick up from Amazon with their free super saver shipping. Essentially, it connects your standard phone line equipment to your Internet connection enabling you to make free unlimited voice calls using any number of supported VOIP (Voice Over IP) services. The biggest advantage of the OBI 100 over other devices, is that it is not tied to any one service. Because it utilizes open standards like GV and SIP, you can pick from a host of Internet phone services, including: Google voice, Callcentric, Sipgate, Vitelity, Voip.ms and more. Unlike many other Voice Over IP solutions, you don’t need to use a computer in setting up this device. All you need is a high-speed Internet connection and router, a cordless or corded analog phone and your chosen VOIP service.
Using Google Voice to Make Free Calls
The Voice Over IP service I chose to use, is the Google Voice service which enables you to make free calls anywhere in Canada or the United States. After receiving my $40 packet in the mail, I unwrapped it and began plugging wires in. It was trivial to set up. Here are the steps I followed:
- Used a network cable to connect the OBI 100 to the router.
- Connected my mom’s wireless phone base to the OBI 100 device.
- Signed-on to the OBITALK website and set up the account connecting it to my mom’s Google Voice account (the instructions on the OBITalk website were excellent).
- The last step in the setup process was to make a test call by dialing **9 222 222 222.
The whole process took less than 15 minutes and I was able to save my mom right around $400 a year.
How have you used technology to save on your communication bill?