Going completely Skype, wireless and mobile?
December 31, 2007 5:22 PM   Subscribe

I live in a semi-rural area and am incredibly frustrated with my area's landline phone provider. The provider has a monopoly in the area and delays fixing constant faults for many weeks. I want to go completely Skype, wireless and mobile. What are my options?

I already have mobile phone access from another provider and am aware I can also get broadband for the area. I also have a mobile phone with basic internet access. I live in Australia not far from a major city. The provider is Telstra. However will consider any overseas service which is effective. Frankly, I don't really like the intrusiveness of telephone calls in any case so would be happy with a voicemail service retrievable over the internet perhaps. I could get phone numbers in cities that my friends and relatives live in so it would be cheaper for them in any case.
posted by zaebiz to Technology (7 answers total)
If you already have a mobile phone, your easiest and option is to just cancel your landline and use your mobile for all your voice telephony needs. Keep your broadband.

This is common enough that I am not sure why you even have a question. Is this less common in Australia? Are mobile phone minutes much more expensive there?
posted by aubilenon at 6:54 PM on December 31, 2007

It sounds like mobile + broadband internet + Skype will do the trick. It's what I use in a semi-rural part of the US for my business and personal calls. I have the cheapest cell phone package, which limits my minutes, so I use Skype as much as possible.

You might wait until the broadband is installed and working reliably before you cut the landline completely. I waited and was glad I did, because the broadband had issues for the first 3 weeks. I'm also looking at GizmoProject, which apparently has a better interface than Skype.
posted by PatoPata at 7:22 PM on December 31, 2007

While we don't use Skype, we do have a Voip phone running via a wireless link (plus a hub so that we can use a regular handset), plus each of us have mobiles. We decided to do this after tangling with Telstra one too many times, and find that it (mostly) works well. When we moved house, the first thing that was up and running was our internet and phone, plus the phone numbers are portable too. Spam phonecalls from telemarketers have vanished, which is an extra bonus.

Problems that we've found are mostly related to call quality, but extensive tinkering has mostly ironed this out, although there will be times when we need to make multiple calls because either the call quality was crap or the call dropped out mid conversation. The other issue is that a simple power-outage will kill everything, so we're a bit anal about keeping our mobiles charged in case of emergencies. I recently got a second line to use as a dedicated fax line and have found that faxes occasionally don't go through because of noise on the line, but most faxes will repeat dial until it works, so no biggie.

Other than that, I don't miss Telstra in the slightest.
posted by ninazer0 at 8:05 PM on December 31, 2007

If you're looking for broadband related options in Australia, start at Whirlpool. Specifically, this plan choice page should let you find out if somebody other than Hellstra is offering non-ADSL broadband in your area.
posted by flabdablet at 3:31 AM on January 1, 2008

Keep your mobile for emergency and power-outage calls, though.
posted by flabdablet at 3:31 AM on January 1, 2008

Maybe a two for one idea. Some cellphones now have voip enabled software. I just got a Nokia N95 and am going to set up a voip account (there are a few different software packages that you can download, like Fring) at some point soon.

Good luck!
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:39 AM on January 1, 2008

Re faxing: You might consider an online fax service. I use Maxemail and am happy with it. I don't know if they're available in Australia, but there are probably similar services that are available. To fax, you scan your doc to PDF if necessary, then attach it to an email and "send" it to the phone number through Maxemail's address. When someone sends you a fax, you get an email with the fax attached.
posted by PatoPata at 8:03 AM on January 1, 2008

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