VOIP to landline service options in the wake of Google Voice's May 15 deadline

VOIP to landline service options in the wake of Google Voice's May 15 deadline

Summary: Anveo and PhonePower are viable replacements for Google Voice if you want to connect them to a landline phone.

TOPICS: Apple, Google
OBi100 is a low-cost analog telephone adapter (ATA) - Jason O'Grady
(Photo: ObiHai)

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.

Currently Anveo and Phone Power work with the OBi hardware and provide phone service starting at under $40 per year. Anveo and Phone Power include the following features:

  • 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
Phone Power's VOIP calling plans - Jason O'Grady

To get started you need to sign in to OBiTALK and select Approved Service Providers to see the offers from Anveo and Phone Power. 

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? 

Topics: Apple, Google

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  • I used to use a "NetTalk device"....

    I used NetTalk which was $35/year until my NetTalk device died and it seems they no longer exist. (Can't call them for support anymore and trouble tickets are ignored.) So went to my internet ISP (MediaComm) to add phone service and I now have unlimited service for about $15/month. There's no contract with MediaComm on my phone service so if I don't like them I can always drop them and consider alternatives like OBI.
  • I'm kind of amazed

    the number of people still using landlines. I can understand in a business, but for home use it blows my mind.
    • Tried and tested technology

      when all else fails, it seems to always work.
      • sure but

        it's not like the newer more convenient technology of wireless is failing anyone
        • and

          if you're going to have wireless anyway, which 99% of us do, there's no reason to spend more money on a superfluous line.
        • Reception Reception Reception (and some health concers)

          Reception in mobile is never as good as a landline (be it VOIP or PSTN based).
          In addition to health concerns (having loads of Fully active Antennas near your brains in Mobile VS one in regular phone.
          And then there is the cost which has become very lenient in VOIP based solution. Actually for US and Canadian numbers it is 0C for maintenance and 0C for mobile or landline calls in withiin the US or Canada.
          • if your reception is so bad

            then you just have a bad carrier. almost every area in the US has at least 1 carrier that gives pretty much perfect reception. and if you use VoIP with your cellphone (which I do), then not only can you get great reception almost anywhere you're going, in places you have WIFI (for example home and work) you have an even better connection for your VoIP. there's still no way that a landline is better.
          • after finishing reading all of your comments

            I have come to the concluded that you have to be one of the DUMBEST people I have ever seen make several comments in a row that most people would have realized just how stupid they make them sound and would have stopped after the first one, probably even deleted it.
        • Some areas get lousy rececption

          Or you phone loses the charge and you have nothing to charge it with in an outage

          But as long as the wires to your landline is undamaged, then your phone will work great since they've been powered over the phone line itself from the beginning.

          It's a pretty well constructed and thought out technology from that standpoint.
    • Good old-fashioned POTS landlines are the best!

      During a week long power outage (after tornadoes in N. Alabama), I lost electricity for 6 days but never lost my old-style landline. Unfortunately I've moved and the old POTS style lines are not available anymore in my area. It's VOIP or nothing. As for going cell phone only? No way! Most decent cell carriers charge around $45/month. I do have TracFone but coverage is very spotty. At least TracFone only costs me $20 per quarter ($80/year).
      • in a power outage

        you won't have VoIP anyway, or am I wrong about that? why not get rid of your land line and use that money to get a cell carrier that actually works?
        • It Depends

          I have Verizon FIOS. Its access box is backed up with a UPS battery. VOIP still works as long as the UPS has power. So it depends on whether your internet service stays up and whether you've had the foresight to have all your VOIP related equipment (router, network hubs, etc) UPS powered during a power outage.
    • Why?

      It costs a fortune to run a mobile phone (every call costs) but I can call anywhere in the country from my landline without having to worry about upping the phone bill.
      Laraine Anne Barker
    • Maybe you need higher quality head gaskets?

      If your brain is "blown" over something so simple to figure out and understand, then it must be blown several times a day.

      It's pretty easy to imagine, even without someone telling you, why some people use a landline besides the fact that it was FREE until today and now it will cost me 40 bucks PER YEAR) so I had FREE home phone service for almost 3 years and since I work from home, it obviously makes sense and it rings all my phones from one number. (Am I starting to "un-blow" your mind yet?)

      I only spend 11 bucks per month on a tracfone and do not re-up the minutes every month because I use less than the 100 minutes I get most of the time because I am home 98% of the time using my FREE phone for calls and texting using my PC.

      So, I have home phone that has the same or better quality of Vonage or ATT, Time Warner or Comcast and when I go to the store or leave the house for some reason, I use my $15 Tracfone that I could throw down the street it's so cheap to replace. So all together, not counting internet costs because I would already be paying for that anyway, I spend less than 15 bucks per month and have all my communication needs totally fulfilled.

      NOW your mind should be blown.
  • read it again

    please read his comment again, you're not getting what he said. He doesn't have or want VOIP & he explained why he doesn't want cell.
  • Land Lines

    Are about to stay here.
    Reception is never as good in mobile and it always feels as if it burns your brains.
    The amount of De-Facto transmission-reception antennas actively working while talking over a mobile phone is just growing.

    I bet Obihai and other adapters would be found in every house in the world pretty soon.
    The personal use has become just as important as the business use.
    I use Obi with a bit complex configuration of Anveo for DID and incoming and voipstunt for outboud and it works perfectly.
    The savings are incredible and the value add is amazing.
    Highly receommended.
    • help with obi set up, pretty please

      how did you set up your OBI to use voipstunt for outgoing? Been trying for one week. tried with several different SIP addresses, such as sip.antisip and callcentric. However, I do not want to use a paid service if I can get a free one, such as voipstunt. I don't make many calls, and when used with OBI they can do a callback which makes the minutes be minimal. Can you pls. help me with the setup for OBI? if possible, as a passthru for GV, or spoof my GV num into it...? thanks a million!
  • How To Keep Using Google Voice A Phone After May 15th Without XMPP

    Just Google the term GVMATE or GVJACK
    • The downside

      The downside to this is that it would require a PC running 24/7.

      Most Obi device owners would prefer to stick with their small silent box.

      Personally, I would consider re-activating my NetTalk device, but unlike most companies that will even offer discounts to get customers to return, NetTalk actually charges an additional re-activation fee to return.
  • Why is everyone freaking out about Google Voice's May 15th deadline?

    The ObiHai products are primarily a very user friendly and reliable VOIP boxes. The ability to act as a Google Voice client directly was a bonus feature. This is the functionality being eliminated. I don't see the big panic.

    I signed up with a great VOIP service and requested a random US phone # and then setup Google Voice with that new number. With my extremely low-cost and reliable VOIP service I do all sorts of phone number gymnastics to circumvent Google Voice not being friendly to Canadian phone #s (i.e. my cell phone.)

    Unless the upcoming Google Voice changes eliminates the ability to ring an old-fashioned phone number, what's the panic?