I currently use a VOIP provider for my home phone service. VOIP is a modern way to use the Internet to make and receive phone calls. Vonage is probably the most well known VOIP provider. My current VOIP provider is Voice Pulse and I pay $17 a month with taxes for 200 LD minutes and unlimited locals. It’s ok but the service has gone downhill these past six months which forced me to reevaluate VOIP service providers.
Let’s talk Google Voice. I have been using Google Voice for about two years now. It’s an interesting service. All USA calls are free with no hidden fees. But until recently you still needed a phone company to use Google Voice. What Google Voice does is call you for outbound calls you make. You login into the Google Voice web page and tell it who you want to call. It then calls your land line (or cell) and then connects you to your party. It’s very slick and for $0 how can ask for more? Well I want to get rid of that $17 VOIP charge every month from my current provider. And that’s where ObiTalk comes in.
Obitalk is a free service that only requires you to buy their hardware. The hardware is $44 and this little box connects to your internet connection and land lines analog phones. You then sign up for a free ObiTalk account and register your Obi100 which does not take more than 2 minutes to configure. You need a Google Talk account (also free) setup prior to setting up an ObiTalk account. Once complete you don’t pay ANY fees to make or receive USA calls. If you need to call international, Google has some great pricing averaging .02c a minute for many countries.
If you’re a current VOIP user you should have zero issues setting up ObiTalk. If you are currently using a traditional Ma Bell service there is some learning involved. You need to disconnect the wires coming into your house that connects you to the traditional copper service. Once they are disconnected, you can plug your Obi100 device into any phone plug in your home to get all your phones connected.
There are some limitations. First off you lose your home phone number. Google Talk does not currently support porting land line phone numbers into their service. When you sign up for a Google Talk account they will assign you a new local number for free. Next Google does not support Caller-ID name. You will only see the phone number of the person calling you.
Google Talk has some very nice features you would normally not see using a traditional Ma Bell provider. You can setup filters to push calls right to voice mail. You can also take those annoying calls about credit card consolidation and just route them to the black hole. Google Talk can even ring multiple phone numbers like your cell phone, land line and work. And having a phone number from Google means you don’t need to pay for expensive texting on your cell phone, just use their service, it’s free. You also get voice mail with lots of cool features like transcribing. New voice mails can send email or text alerts to your cell phone.