Tired of paying $50 per month for landline telephone service I dumped my local phone carrier in July 2013 in favor of Google Voice connected to a $40 box from ObiHai. The solution has served me well (and saved me almost $500 in ten months) but in October 2013 Google Product Manager Nikhyl Singhal announced that Google is dropping support for Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol (XMPP) in Google Voice on May 15, 2014. This means that devices like the OBi100 will soon stop working with GV.
What to do?
Since Google Voice service will stop working with OBi devices on May 15 you need to sign up for a new, compatible VOIP service and port your GV number to it. Or go crawling back to your local phone carrier.
Luckily OBi hardware can be used with many Internet phone (VoIP) services and a new service can be easily configured from the OBiTALK website to work with your existing OBi hardware. Currently only two options are available, but OBi claims that more will be added soon.
- Make and receive calls with your OBi device
- 911 emergency calling
- Use your Google Voice phone number or get a new number
- Port your number to the new service
- Telemarketer blocking
- Three-way calling
- Call waiting
- Caller ID
- Low international calling rates
Anveo plans for ObiHai customers start at $40 per year (for 333 outgoing minutes) and go up to $84 and $300 per year for more minutes. Phone Power plans (above) start at $35 per year (for 300 outgoing minutes) to $60 per year for unlimited outgoing minutes – the best deal right now.
So while it's no longer free, $60 per year (plus the ObiHai hardware) is a relative bargain for landline phone service compared to the $50 per month I used to pay for the privilege.
What's your plan on May 15?