Best VOIP options?
April 4, 2011 1:26 PM   Subscribe

I've got a VOIP service that's really inexpensive, a first year, new client deal. That's about to expire and my rate will bump. While it's still inexpensive, I'm wondering how I can get control of this and not be at the affect of a external company, specifically how can I control my public phone number, keep my calling rates low, and avoid having an external company call the shots.

I've got a deadline to renew my VOIP account. The original deal was $8/month, really excellent, but the 1 year renewal is $15/month. Not to cry crocodile tears but I want the $8 deal or something else. Looks like something else is on the menu since the company isn't offering their 'new customer' deals to existing clients.

The phone number on this VOIP account is our house 'public' number, the one most of our friends and family call us on. I've got till the 7th before the billing rolls over, but can probably put it on a month to month billing cycle while I move the number.

I'm wondering what alternatives there are to a standard VOIP company. Is Skype an option for this? What are the 'best' options. Should I try to move the number into a service like SipGate or Google Voice? I like the free calling services, and the inexpensive price of my current service, I don't like that the number is controlled by a company that bumps my rate and I can't do anything about it.

Any information appreciated. Thanks in advance.
posted by diode to Technology (4 answers total)
I faced the same situation over a year ago - wanted to get the landline costs way down, my employer foots the bill for FiOS and an office landline, and we ended up going with Ooma.

Available at RadioShack and other major outlets (as well as online), at the time I went with an older model (this was about 14 months ago) that cost me about $250. I was paying something like $25/month for minimal telco service, so the last six months it has been paid for.

Of course at $15/month it will about 13 months to recoup a current $200 pricetag for the 'Telo', their current system, but certainly worth looking into.

As far as your phone number Ooma can port the number over, for something like $40, which is what we did. There is an occasional hiccup where I need to reset the unit (unplug/replug), and a goofy situation about 10 months ago where the service was flaky for several days, but otherwise it has been rock-solid.

I've been paying $0 for 14 months, and overseas (East Asia) without any dial-around service for about $0.024 per minute, which isn't the cheapest (I used to use a service at $0.022) but sure is convenient - just pick up the phone and dial.

Well worth the up-front 'investment' (if that word can be used here) and the voice quality is great.
posted by scooterdog at 1:55 PM on April 4, 2011

Perhaps you could call your current VOIP and politely ask for a similar rate.

I have an online phone number with Skype and haven't noticed any rate changes in the last few years. Skype Prices I also have a USB handset that plugs into my desktop PC, and you should be able to find different models online at various retailers.

For the majority of my texting, I use Google Voice so it's free for now. Not sure if/when they'll start charging for texts and calls, but so far so good. I can use my Skype number in conjunction with Google Voice to make calls if I want.
posted by dragonplayer at 6:06 PM on April 4, 2011

Best answer: Port your current number to Google Voice
Then try something like NetTalk.
posted by WizKid at 12:43 PM on April 5, 2011

Response by poster: I think the NetTalk looks like a great way to go. Going to give that a shot.
posted by diode at 12:37 PM on May 5, 2011

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