Several years back we had converted from a landline telephone to Vonage and thus not only started to save on the monthly bills but also enjoy number of new features that were not available before.
Vonage worked great and we were happy with it, except the fact that as time went on the cost slowly crept up higher and higher. When it got to the point that it became almost as expensive as the landline, it was time for me to look into other available options.
Note: Vonage still is a good option when you first start the service. But understand that the fees will slowly creep up.
There are number of other options out there. For example, Magic Jack, Ooma, Voiceplus, Net2phone, Nikotel, etc.
You could spend lot of time comparing these options. Most of these options work like this: you sign up for the service and they will send you a telephone adaptor. You plug it in and set it up and you are good to go. The important thing to remember here is that the telephone adaptor will only work with that company.
The only two companies that allow you to use your own generic IP phone is Voiceplus and Broadvoice (there may be many others by now).
Obihai OBi 100
I ended up ordering Obihai VOIP telephone adaptor from newegg for a total cost of $37.99 plus shipping. You have to remember that this is a one time cost.
What is nice about this unit is that it is a generic adaptor that can work with any SIP telephone service provider(TSP). If for some reason things go sour with one TSP you can switch to another TSP and continue using the same adaptor.
For example, currently Google Voice is a free service, but I would not be surprised if in time they started charging monthly service fees. When that happens, you could move to another TSP.
Google Voice Setup
Obihai supports Google Voice(GV) service, but it is little complicated to set up. Especially if you have 2 step verification process enabled in your Google Account.
One complication with GV is that if you want to port your land line phone number to GV, it won’t work. You can port only mobile phone numbers into GV with a service charge of $30? If you really really want your land line number, you would have to transfer that number to a mobile number first.
We have not set up the 911 service, but it is possible to set up 911 with OBi. There is an Emergency Service monthly fee for the 911 service in most states (except I think in Oregon).
Other Issues to consider
One problem with this set up is that the caller ID will not work. You know the saying “you get what you pay for”, it applies here. Normally the service provider does a database look up for the phone number which costs them fraction of a cent for each look up. In this case GV does not do look ups.
Our phone has a directory in it. Any number listed in that directory is displayed with the name. So there is a workaround for this problem for frequently used familiar numbers. Any number not in the phone directory appears as a number.
If you can get your OBi system set up and want to test, call me at my OBi number 300 874 661.