Can I ditch my landline with this plan?
March 17, 2010 9:01 PM   Subscribe

I've got a plan to ditch my landline using Google Voice and cell phones. But I'd like some Mefites to look it over and provide input.

I'm dying to get rid of my landline from AT&T. It's $40 a month, plus all the taxes and fees. The only reason my wife and I have it is to give a number to somebody who I don't want to have my cell phone number. I've come up with a plan to rid myself of it, but it relies on a few things I have little to no experience with, and I'd like somebody to check it out and provide some input.

I have a Google Voice number that I've never used, and currently have 3 invites available. My wife and I also have our own cellphones with more minutes than we'd ever need in a month. My plan is this: give my wife a GV invite, then we each point our GV numbers at our respective cellphones. That is the first half of my plan.
The second half is for our home phones. Our current phones are one of those wireless sets where only the base station plugs into the phone jack, and it transmits the signal to the other handsets, which only need a power socket. I was thinking of getting an Xlink BT: just plug the base station into that, and voila! Any call coming into our cellphones can be picked up on any of the handsets. But I have no experience with this unit. How good is the audio quality? Any hiccups or delays in the audio?
I see three problems with this setup. I have DirecTV, which says they require a phoneline. But from what I've read it's only needed for ordering pay-per-view, which I've never used, and even if I wanted to, I could order it from the DirecTV website. Secondly, I have a home alarm system. Although I like the peace of mind it provides, it's not worth the ~$80 a month it costs (about $45 for the landline and another $35 to the alarm company).
The third problem is that I'm not exactly sure how this would affect my 911 service.

I'd be very appreciative if any Mefites can provide some feedback on my plan.
posted by ChrisLSU to Technology (5 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
This may not affect your plan, but Google Voice has a problem - it does not automatically change the outgoing caller ID to your GV number. You have to dial your own GV number and press 2 and then the number you want to dial, in order for your outgoing calls to show your GV number. Otherwise your calls will show your cell phone's outgoing caller ID number instead. There are other workarounds, including using cell phones that support a GV App - listed here, at the bottom of the page - that will auto-set your GV as outgoing CID, or else making all your outgoing calls from the GV website via your computer, which will call your cell phone and then call the other number and connect you.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:10 PM on March 17, 2010

Also, Google Voice is not currently reachable from all areas. For example, all Google Voice numbers in Minneapolis area codes cannot be called by any AT&T wireless customers. Read more here.
posted by IndigoRain at 10:16 PM on March 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

DirecTV: Technically, they do require a phone line. In practice, they don't. I have a DirecTiVo unit that's showing over 1,300 days since the last successful call to DirecTV. If you have a sports package (MLB Extra Innings, NHL Center Ice, NFL Sunday Ticket, etc), it is possible DirecTV will drop the sports package from all but your primary receiver, but this has not yet happened from what I have head.

911: Your cell phone can dial 911, and the answering operator is supposed to see location information based on where your cell phone is sitting. I have called 911 from my mobile a few times while out and about, and got connected to the correct city dispatchers. They did ask my location, but I don't know if this was for confirmation of what they already had or because they had no information.

Alarm system: There are supposedly alarm companies that can monitor using just an Internet connection--if you plan to keep a fixed version of one of those--but I've never used any of them. This is an example of one company I've seen referenced.

BTW, number ports aren't supported (yet) through Google Voice, so you would need to change your number with everyone.
posted by fireoyster at 1:13 AM on March 18, 2010

I also ditched my landline and purchased an Oooma core system. I also have Google Voice and set my GV number to ring both my home and my cell phone. That way I don't use my cell phone minutes when I get a call at home. In terms of call quality, I don't notice any difference between my Ooma line and my former land line. Alll calls are free with Ooma and I can also make very inexpensive international calls. Plus, you can sign up for Premiere service and get all sorts of cool extras. Lastly (before I start sounding like an Ooma salesman), you can use the Ooma system with your existing phones. That's applicable for the Ooma Core system. They have a new version out now (The Telo) and I have no experience with that one.
posted by gfrobe at 5:31 AM on March 18, 2010

Thank you for the input.

Checking the website of my alarm company (Monitronics) it appears they offer alternative ways to communicate - cell or VOIP/broadband. I definitely would like to keep them, just for the peace of mind, even if I hardly ever set the alarm. I'll give them a call and see what they can offer.
posted by ChrisLSU at 7:46 AM on March 18, 2010

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