Monday, July 09, 2012

Household Savings:Free Telephone Service

We just cancelled our land line after our downtown area began offering free wifi, and we found Google Voice, a  free local and long distance telephone service(USA and Canada only). It has worked well so far with very clear reception. Google voice allows you to forward calls to another phone, takes messages(voice and text), offers call waiting, and screens your calls.The download was easy, and all we needed to purchase was a microphone for the computer.

The only downside is needing your computer up on Google Voice or Gmail in order to know when you are being called. If you forward calls to your cell, you'll know, but this method charges mobile minutes on the cell.  We'll use it for out calling, and scheduled call backs. It would be nice if there was a pop-up when you are online, or at least a ring when you are surfing and don't have the Gmail or Google Voice window up, but the service is free, so I'm not complaining(too much)!

As long as calls are made on Google Voice or from Gmail, cell phone minutes are not counted against your mobile account. In order for it to be free, you must call only from Google Voice or your Gmail , and not from your mobile. If you forward calls to your mobile, airtime minutes apply.  I think this applies to android phones as well. It cannot be connected to a cell in order to be free. See here. 

We'll be saving close to $700 a year with the cancellation of our land line and dial-up service. We also cancelled Netflix because we can see movies online. That will save us another $14.95 a month. We still have our pre-paid cell phones for calls on the road.

My next experiment will be to try Google Voice with an unlocked Android phone with no wireless service. I wonder if it will work? I'll let you know. I know a tablet or mini-PC/netbook would work, but I was looking for something less bulky to use.  I saw a simple netbook online(see below) with good customer ratings for only $99.00 at Amazon. This might be good for traveling and making calls.


WolVol LIME GREEN 7" Mini Netbook Laptop Notebook Netbook WIFI Internet Android 2.2 Flash Player Tons Apps Games YouTube Facebook 3 USB Ports 4gb HD 256mb Ram (INCLUDES: Velvet Pouch Case, Charger, Mini Optical Mouse)

2 comments:

Eva said...

Don't you feel strange without a real phone? Not thinking about money or things like that, just the fact that there is no "real" phone!

Alexandra said...

I like it! I love talking online and being able to look things up at the same time - multi-tasking. I couldn't do that before with dial-up, and I tend to want to save my minutes with my cell phone. I can call long distance to my family very easily and use the chat feature. Their emails light-up at Gmail if they are online, so I can send a hello on Chat, and press the call button for auto-dial.

I still have a pre-paid cell phone for emergencies or short calls, so I feel secure without a land line.

I guess I was never much of a phone person. I like to meet people in person or talk online.

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