I wrote a while back that I was looking for a replacement for my T-Mobile @Home service. Even though I was very happy with it, I was moving my cell phone service to Republic Wireless (which I highly recommend) so I needed to get a new home phone service or drop it all together.
I tried MagicJack and the quality was so bad that it didn’t last a day.
Next in line was NetTalk. That seem to work well, so I ported my number smoothly, only to find out that the service didn’t really work as well as I first thought. Incoming calls were pretty poor voice quality and outgoing calls were unusable. Then, when I upgraded my router, the box just started to disconnect from the network for no reason and had to be restarted almost daily
It’s been almost a year and I was just going to let my service expire and my old home number just go away. I decided to give it one more try. I searched Ebay and discovered the OBi100. I ordered one for $40 and was glad I ordered early because I wanted to try it before porting my number again. It got a little lost in shipping, but arrived 9 or 10 days late.
This box uses Google Voice to make calls, but can be used with many different VOIP service providers, so even though I choose Google Voice because it’s great and FREE, if they ever change or go away I have other options.
I plugged it in and only had limited service. It didn’t really work. I immediately thought “Oh Crap, not again”, but then realized I had plugged it in to my network switch. I moved some network wires around, plugged it directly into my router and it worked perfectly. I changed a few settings at Google Voice and this time did extensive testing. It couldn’t have worked better.
My next challenge was to port my home phone number to Google Voice was a bit more complicated. Google Voice is a wonderful service, if you haven’t tried it I would say absolutely do. There is a one time $20 charge to port your phone number, but otherwise it’s completely free. My problem was that Google doesn’t port landlines, only mobile numbers.
My solution? I went to my local Target store, bought a prepaid flip phone on sale for $5 and a card for $10 worth of minutes. I went to their website and ported my phone number into that, waited about a week for that to happen. Once my number ported, I activated my phone and used my $10 minutes card to make and receive a few calls to be sure everything with the port was hunky dory and it was. At this point Google voice gladly accepted my phone number, so it cost me $35 to port instead of $20, but still quite the bargain in my book.
I know Google Voice has been incorporated into their Hangouts app in my phone and maybe their service may change in the future, but I’m not locked in by the OBi100. So if the service does change in the future I can always switch providers, but for now I’m lovin’ it. Google Voice has some wonderful features. I can ring any or all of my phones with it or I can have it send me an email or text when I get a voicemail, with the message transcribed and many other features.
I’m going to highly recommend the OBi100 for quality, service and value.