These days to have phone service many need to go through their internet provider to get it. And it can be quite costly. It can cost over $20 a month paying for it through your internet provider. I did this for a few years but got tired of getting ripped off. So I took the plunge and set up my own voice over IP phone. The initial cost was higher, but thats because I chose to use a real IP phone. You can save money and use a standard phone, but you will need a device called an ATA (analog telephone adapter) though they cost much less than IP phones.
When I first started playing around with voice over IP I had a free google voice account that was set up through an Obihai ATA device. This only cost me about $70. Though a year or so later, Google announced they would discontinue their SIP service. Which is the gateway to get into the phone network to call others or to get calls to your phone. Having a SIP gateway is crucial, and now a days I pay for one through a service called CallCentric. They also offer light technical support in some cases on getting your device up and running, many VOIP companies do not help. So something to keep in mind. Luckily there are many guides out there setting up ATA devices and native IP phones.
I use the Pay Per Minute plan, see what is best for you.
Though the costs are low, I do not make alot of phone calls and I pay by the minute. So 113 minutes of talk time only cost me $3.32 otherwise it would cost me $20 plus dollars regardless if I make calls or not through my internet provider. One thing to keep in mind is 911 service costs extra, a few dollars a month I believe.
When I signed up for the SIP service I also upgraded my phone network. I got rid of the ATA and got my self a native IP phone. Here is one for sale on ebay for $144, eventhough the initial expense is higher it pays for itself in a year. Now ive had it for many years im saving alot of money. Honestly I did not need to buy an IP phone, I could have kept using my analog phone using an ATA. But really wanted to have an IP phone, something about plugging my phone into my ethernet port is really enjoyable.. haha
Many IP phones also offer a single cord design using a technology called Power Over Ethernet. This means you inject power into the network cable and everything is done through just one cable, the Ethernet cable. Though with my setup I just use a power supply.
There is a group called Futel that has coverted many payphones to free to call phones using VOIP technology. Pay phones were disappearing quickly but have now renewed their use as free to use phones. I do not have any near me but its great to see others spreading the use of VOIP outside of business offices and corporations. Their use is great for personal calls and when compared to how much internet providers charge it just makes sense to use it.
I hope to come across a Futel phone one day.
A few words of warning: by having an IP phone you do put yourself out there for hackers and others to try to mess with you. Though you can make it much harder for anyone to find your phone by changing your ports in your settings. See my post about getting a call from Sipvicous.
This has happened to me once in three years of operating the phone, just an annoyance.
Also, some government offices will not route your call. I have called many state and federal offices with my VOIP phone and sometimes the calls do not go through. I have thought about this and I think its due to a response in "swatting". Using an IP phone you can hide your identity, so maybe all IP calls are blocked to government offices. Though people like myself that just use the phone to save money get screwed. And I have to call those offices on my cell phone sometimes.
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