While there is a huge trend in the communications industry towards mobile devices like smartphones and tablets, there is still a very specific need for the good old fashioned home phone. I certainly still have one despite using my cell phone most of the time. The reason I have it is to take advantage of some seriously cheap calls using VoIP on my home broadband Internet connection. When I recently had to replace my VoIP router I decided to overhaul the entire system along with the service providers.
Having done it before I know exactly what I wanted to be able to do. I wanted a device that let me set up multiple service provider accounts so that I could have Google voice for national calls, and another provider with cheap International calls. The result of my research was an Obi device which works perfectly.
It is really simple to set up Google Voice, which until mid this year is free for national calls. It doesn’t get much cheaper than that!!! I am still experimenting with a few other providers for international calls and I haven’t found the perfect match yet. Some cheap ones I have tried out tend to have problems with audio quality. Once I have gone through a list of 10 different providers, I will write up another post with my findings and recommendations.
While looking for a new cordless phone with multiple handsets I came across some really interesting information. I had no idea that there were some major advances made to integrate home phones with cell phones. The solution seems so obvious now. You can essentially buy a cordless phone with Bluetooth built in, which then allows you to pair your home phone with your cell phone.
The advantage of this is that you can first of all load all your phone contacts from your Android phone over to the cordless phone. This is a huge time saving and avoids a very frustrating task.
The more significant reason though is that you can have your cell phone forward all calls to your home phone while it is in range. When I get home I generally have to connect my smartphone to charge in the office. If I’m somewhere in the rest of the house I can’t hear it ringing while it’s charging. But now I can simply pair up my home and smartphone and all calls come through to the cordless handset.
In addition I also got a hands free kit for the cordless phone which gives me added flexibility when I am taking a business call and want to take some notes on my laptop as well. The total cost of the equipment has come to $180 for 3 handsets, the VoIP connector and headset, which in my opinion is a pretty good price to pay.
My monthly phone bills are very low, with only my international calls costing me. Google Voice is fantastic and I use it for incoming calls and voicemail as well. I seriously cannot recommend this type of Bluetooth phone set up enough, as it is a really great convenience to have the whole system fully integrated.