[Parentsgroup-list] VoIP phone options

Alexander Macalalad amacalal at hsph.harvard.edu
Mon Dec 15 09:58:16 EST 2008


Just a word of caution -- We had signed up for a similar VoIP provider with a 1 year pre-payment plan, only to have the company go out of business halfway through our year.  While we still came out ahead in the long run, we decided to get VoIP from one of the more established companies the second time around.  VoIP can still be a bargain, but shop carefully and beware of deals too good to be true.

Alex

>>> Ian Stokes-Rees <ijstokes at alumni.uwaterloo.ca> 12/15/08 12:16 AM >>>
The article about doctoral students who are also mothers struck a chord 
with me -- my wife was in exactly that situation.  Knowing that a major 
issue for student parents are finances, I thought I'd mention JoiPhone, 
a very inexpensive VoIP provider, similar to Vonage, which my family has 
been using for the past year.  We pay approx $8 per month, and with a 1 
year pre-payment had no additional setup or adapter rental costs.  For 
that, we get a phone number with call waiting, caller ID, voicemail, and 
other features.

If you're interested, you can get more details at:

http://www.joiphone.com/

And if you do sign-up, there may be some way to get a referral discount 
for you (and bonus for me) if you use my registered email address 
"ijstokes at alumni.uwaterloo.ca".

We plug our usual phone into an adapter box which plugs in directly to 
our RCN cable modem ($25 per month), and we get our phone service via 
the internet, with free calling to Canada, the US, and several countries 
in Europe, plus approx 2 cents/minute for most other countries.

We opted for this after realizing that the "triple play" phone, 
internet, TV package from any company was going to cost $1200 - $1500 
per year, and quickly cancelled our RCN triple play package ($120/month) 
days before the trial period finished, so we weren't locked in.  Instead 
we've paid about $400 for the year, and added in a $17/month ($200) 
NetFlix subscription to rent movies and TV series. All in, less than 
half the cost of the triple play packages.

Caveats:

* Your phone goes through your internet connection.  If the power goes 
out or your internet connection is down, no phone (and no 911).  
Provided you've got power and Internet, then it operates exactly like a 
normal phone (911 and Caller ID both work).

* The auto-setup should "just work" -- plug in and go -- but if you are 
going through a cable modem or have some kind of restriction on how many 
computers can connect, you may have some non-trivial problems to overcome.

While I'm on the theme of cheap communications options, T-Mobile 
pay-as-you-go (pre-pay in American-speak, I think) can be had for $100 
for 1000 minutes good for 1 year, so if you can keep your talk time to 
~90 minutes per month averaged over the year, you can get a mobile plan 
for about $8 per month.  Granted, you need your own phone, but used 
GSM/SIM-card compatible phones (even pretty good ones) are easy to come 
by for <$40.

Ian
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