I’ve never been a fan of the land line or most importantly, the costs that are attributed with it. Let’s be honest with each other – land lines will be all but dead in the foreseeable future. A growing number of personal and commercial users have adopted some sort of cellular or VoIP alternative. Yes, this is common knowledge to most people but there are still some of us out there that refuse to part with our landline number (including yours truly). It wasn’t until about a year ago that I found an alternative solution that met our needs and was easy on the wallet.
While I’m sure we could part with the home phone number in lieu of cell phones, it was something familiar to my wife and I about having some common centralized number that people could reach us where we didn’t need to be bothered on our cell phones. We’ve had our landline number since 2004 and as you can imagine that number is propagated throughout a number of personal address books and contact lists. Even though we had moved our landline to a VoIP service, I still cringed at the costs that came with it. I just wanted to keep the number without any of the charges that accompanied it.
Then everything changed when I discovered the devices a company called Obihai was producing. Brilliant, tiny devices that could connect your Google Voice account to your landline phone system. Great! I just need to port my landline number over to Google Voice and I’m all set. Only one minor problem encountered… Google doesn’t not allow porting of landline numbers, only cellular. However, thanks to some trickery from David Gewirtz at ZDNet, this was possible by porting over to pay-as-you-go mobile phone first and then to GV. You can read his full instructional article here. I can attest that this does in fact work for AT&T wireless subscribers.
There was only two voids left with this change and that was 911 access and Caller ID naming. If there was any comfort to a landline phone, it was the direct 911 call center communication where address is known immediately to the operator. Fret not, as you can use an outside service like Call Central to support your 911 calls for a nominal fee of $1.50 per month. The other issue was that Google Voice doesn’t supply a Caller ID name with incoming calls. Utilizing Call Central with GV will also fix this issue. Although the Caller ID isn’t always perfect, it’s better than no ID name at all. The Obihai device is equipped to handle the special routing that needs to take place in both situations. There’s a ton of articles that pertain to Call Central setup with GV and Obihai.
So you too can keep your landline phone number and continue to have a home phone service with 911, basic calling features, and the features of GV for only $1.50 a month. Do I sound like the MagicJack guy yet?