Fed up with my landline phone bill, I finally cut the cord

Summary:I cut the cord on AT&T Mobile in 2011 and ported my number to Google Voice and I haven't looked back since. Here's how I did the same thing with my over-priced landline phone.

Fed up with my landline phone bill, I finally cut the cord - Jason O'Grady

Update 2013-1231: ObiHai announced that Google is ending support for XMPP based calling with Google Voice on May 15, 2014 which will make Google Voice incompatible with the OBi100 device.

Update 2014-0417: I wrote an article about VOIP to landline service options (including Anveo and Phone Power) in the wake of Google Voice's May 15 deadline.

(My original blog post follows)

I received the following email from reader Just Blaze and wanted to follow up on my post from 2011:

I'm looking to make the change. Do you still stand by what you mention in your 2011 article ("Outta here! I'm porting my AT&T number to Google Voice")? I've just moved from US (New Jersey) to London. I'm thinking the best thing to do is to keep my US number for folks who want to reach me back home. I can at least get the voicemail and int calling free to the US + there are much better phone/data rate for local services here (UK). Thoughts? Thanks

Yes, I still stand by my article from 2011 about dropping AT&T for Google Voice. But remember that with Google Voice, you still need a mobile phone with service and the Google Voice iOS app (free, App Store). It's not 100 percent perfect (occasional drops, periodic quality issues and such) but it's hard to beat the price. If you don't need a mobile phone you can also use a Google Voice account with a landline. More on that in a second.

If you still need a mobile phone but don't make a lot of voice calls I highly recommend the secret $30 per month plan from T-Mobile. It includes 100 minutes of voice calls and unlimited data (albeit only 5GB at 4G speeds) and is the best kept secret in technology. The problem is that it's almost impossible to find and very well hidden on the T-Mobile prepaid site.

Since porting my mobile number in 2011, I've also ported my landline phone number to Google Voice. I used to like the quality and reliability of a landline phone and the reassurance of having 911 service, but the pricing was the simply too much. A Verizon landline in my area with unlimited local calling, an unpublished listing, Caller ID and Call Forwarding was costing me $48.30 per month. Ridiculous. Even lowering it to a basic pay-by-the-call account with no trimmings would have cost me $30 per month, so I decided on spending zero dollars per month instead. 

Although it's not technically possible to port a landline directly to Google Voice, you can do it by porting to a cell carrier first, then porting from the cell carrier to GV. I purchased the excellent ObiHai OBi100 Service Bridge ($40 from Amazon) which turned my Google Voice number back into a landline (with dial tone). You simply plug the OBi100 into your cable modem, configure it, then plug a traditional landline phone into the ObiHai bridge.

Now, I've got both my mobile number and my landline ported to Google Voice for the ultimate flexibility. My calls are free (at least through 2013) and I get to keep my mobile and landline phone numbers for life.

Further Reading:

I'm also completely fed up with the exorbitant pricing of cable TV and cut the cord on that too. More on that in my next installment. 

Are you still using a landline phone? How much do you pay per month?

Update 2013-1231: ObiHai announced that Google is ending support for XMPP based calling with Google Voice on May 15, 2014 which will make Google Voice incompatible with the OBi100 device.

Topics: Apple, iOS, iPad, Developer


Jason D. O'Grady developed an affinity for Apple computers after using the original Lisa, and this affinity turned into a bona-fide obsession when he got the original 128 KB Macintosh in 1984. He started writing one of the first Web sites about Apple (O'Grady's PowerPage) in 1995 and is considered to be one of the fathers of blogging.... Full Bio

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