Help Me Dump AT&T
April 21, 2011 9:50 AM   Subscribe

AT&T be gone. What are my options to have a land line at home? Can I use the phones I have?

I am dumping AT&T. I have google voice and an android cell phone. My cell phone coverage is not great at home so I would like to have a phone at home that I could forward cell calls or google voice calls to. It would ideally be free or very inexpensive. Being able to fax would also be great. I would love to be able to keep the phones I already own and my existing number but that isn't a deal breaker. Is some sort of voip planmy only option. I have cable internet.
posted by snowjoe to Technology (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Assuming you have some other form of internet at your house, you can buy a Verizon "femtocell" repeater on ebay for a one time cost of about $200-$300.
posted by I_am_jesus at 10:11 AM on April 21, 2011

Though I haven't explored this myself, there seem to be a surprising number of local Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and telephone providers, from the ads that run on the local NPR station. I don't trust internet searches to give as good of a range of service providers as a local phone book, as the Big Names seem to rise to the top, where the phone book would list everyone. And if you don't happen to have a phone book, they're typically available at grocery stores or pharmacies.
posted by filthy light thief at 10:25 AM on April 21, 2011

The 1996 Telecommunications Act requires that at&t sell access to the copper pair running to your house to third party telephone companies. They are, at least in my state, listed in the directory. Most of them are geared toward poor people who can't get unlimited service from at&t, but there are a few others. They tend to be much less expensive than service directly from at&t.

Another alternative is to switch to a metered rate line from at&t. In my state, it comes with 200 minutes of outgoing calls and unlimited incoming calls for less than half the price of the standard unlimited line.

VoIP is also an option, of course. You can use an ATA to backfeed the telephone lines in your house if you disconnect your wiring from at&t's at the (usually gray) box on the side of your house. That will let you use your present phones, although I much prefer actual SIP phones.
posted by wierdo at 10:25 AM on April 21, 2011 [2 favorites]

Here are some VOIP options.

If you're fairly tech savvy:

Callcentric. You provide your own VOIP adapter, set it up for their service, pay a small monthly fee ($2ish per month), and pay per minute. There will be some taxes and a 911 recovery fee, but I believe the whole thing will be less than $5 per month if you make no calls. There's a $25 fee to port your number.

If you want them to worry about the tech details:

Ooma. You buy their (more expensive) hardware and they take care of the rest. Use their tax calculator to determine the monthly taxes but unlimited domestic calls after that. The premier service (+$10) offers more features.

VOIP resources:
Broadband reports sub-forum
Voxilla forums
posted by sharkfu at 10:34 AM on April 21, 2011

If you don't want VOIP, you can get landline from Verizon in Glendale.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:53 AM on April 21, 2011

Or Charter.
posted by chesty_a_arthur at 10:54 AM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Your cable internet provider will likely give you an option for using your existing landline phones. Whether or not it is cheap by your standard is another question (also remember that they will likely be open to giving some form of discounts if you bundle your phone with internet.
posted by mmascolino at 12:01 PM on April 21, 2011

I am in the process of doing exactly what you describe. I chose obihai, it integrated easily with google voice. I'm pleased so far but it has been less than a week.
posted by forforf at 12:47 PM on April 21, 2011

I just went with Ooma - so far been pretty happy and very straightforward to set up. Got it through Costco and got a 50$ credit for use for international calls (domestic is free!). It was cheaper than all the alternatives amortized over a two year window. You'll need a connection to the internet.
posted by zenon at 1:16 PM on April 21, 2011 [1 favorite]

Nthing the Ooma. I have purchased 4 of them so far for family and have had no issues. Best option IMHO as you can use regular phones with it.

I have purchased them as cheap as $60 (refurb previous gen).

I ended up using my cell phone so little that I am on prepaid and costs me ~$8/month for the minutes I use.
posted by wongcorgi at 8:47 PM on August 17, 2011

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