Best Telephone System, Wireless Phone
Best Wireless House Phone System: Panasonic KX-TG4745B DECT 6.0 Cordless Phone with Answering System [Amazon] is the highest quality wireless home phone system, with great battery and super clear audio/voice.
Best Home Phone Service
Note: Google Voice and Obihai pairing was supposed to be obsolete as of May 2014 (due to Google Voice shutting down XMPP support, however it is still operational)
The best value home phone service is Google Voice on an Obihai, as there are no monthly fees when it is setup (Google pays for your fees, although this might not last forever). Setup cost is about $80 (Obi100 $40, T-Mobile Sim Card $1-10, T-Mobile Prepay Minimum $10, Port to T-Mobile -free-, Port to Google Voice $20)
Recommended: Obi200 $50 [Amazon]. This is an updated version of the Obi100. Do NOT get the Obi300, as it is a commercial version that does not allow for Google Voice.
The more expensive Obis have extra features we don’t need ie Obi210 $60 is for if you want to use VOIP and landline and switch between them. But to not pay any monthly fee, you’re only going to have VOIP. Obi202 has another landline and more VOIP lines. This is for if you want more than one phone number.
Note: You won’t have automatic 911 service (as neither you or Google Voice is paying for it). However, when you first setup the Obi, you can look up your local 911 number and program the phone to call that number whenever you dial 911. [see bottom section]
Setting up Google Voice (GV) on your Obi
Before you start porting your number to GV, check this first http://www.obihai.com/porttutorial.html
configuring ‘single’ stage dialing here – http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=1103.0
Obi device offer a lot of powerful features like Auto Attendant (which you can setup your own Interactive response system), Call bridging, etc. AutoAttendant (AA)/Interactive Voice Response (IVR) make the Obi a bit more dynamic for eg. callback for cheap/free call while away from home, etc. And you can record your own AA message.
Do google search and look at the Obi Admin Guide for more info: http://obihai.com/docs/OBiDeviceAdminGuide.pdf
911 Services and Alternatives
Even though Google Voice doesn’t have E911 support, you can signup for E911 yourself
Link to How to set-up 911 calling on an OBi device – Obihai Guide
Cheapest E911 provider is Anveo (at $0.8/month) (FREE plan and add E911)
If you are switching from POTS to Obi or other voip services, in many states the old phone line will remain active for calling 911. You just leave your phone connected and they disabled outgoing calls at the phone company computers.
If you do not want to ‘dedicate’ a SIP slot for E911, you can use gv911 – costs $12/year
Smart911 is a free service that allows citizens across the U.S. to create a Safety Profile for their household that includes any information they want 9-1-1 to have in the event of an emergency. Then, when anyone in that household dials 9-1-1 from a phone associated with their Safety Profile, their profile is immediately displayed to the 9-1-1 call taker providing additional information that can be used to facilitate the proper response to the proper location. Can check availability under the About page.
Alternatives to Obihai
Ooma has good service, but has a higher startup cost at ~$127 Ooma 100-0201-100 Telo VOIP Device [Amazon] (don’t buy used at it has a $70 re-activation fee, although it can be found refurbished sometimes for $85 at sites such as Woot). Another bad point is that it’s not cheap anymore per month (used to be $1-2/month), as they are now passing more fees/taxes onto the customer at ~$3-$7/month, depending on location. Obihai is free because Google is eating these costs (and not providing 911 service). Note: If you buy a Used Ooma, it requires re-activation fee which is VERY expensive ($70). That’s why there is no market for Used Oomas. Number Porting fee is $40. For some non-location based pricing: Ooma Rates
Net Talk is same quality as Ooma but Ooma can have your phone # ported to them for $40, while Net Talk cannot take your old phone number.
Skype relies on computer/mic/speakers or headset (not very convenient if in a big house or dwelling)
Alternative VOIP Service using the Obihai
Good quality and/or low price Google Voice alternatives (VOIP). Some of those VoIP Services offer phone number in other countries also. Remember this is a standard SIP device so you are not tied to Google Voice or any specific VOIP
1) If “porting to AT&T/T-Mobile prepaid, then to Google Voice” doesn’t work, a lot of people recommend Callcentric VOIP service as a backup. Callcentric currently offers FREE NY phone number with free unlimited incoming calls
2) A lot of people also recommend voip.ms
3) If you don’t usually have a lot of people calling on your home phone number, can try ported to a pay-as-you-go with TMobile. Then you can put a message on that number directing people to call another number (like your Google Voice number), or just have them leave a message. It costs no airtime for them to leave a message, nor does it cost you to retrieve messages to that number using another phone. You could forward it to another number, but that would cost airtime. Its $10/quarter (30 minute prepaid minutes and expire in 90 days), but after spending $100 and become Gold Reward status, its $10/year (35 minute when you are Gold status and it won’t expires for a whole year). Can also just pay $100 T-mobile prepaid one time, you get 1000 prepaid mins won’t expire for one year. With 1000 mins for a year, probably enough to make/receive few phone calls and work as backup in case internet is dead. And then you switch to use Obi110 and Google Voice number to do most of the calling.
4) Cheapest pay-per-minute is by localphone.com at 0.5 cent/minute to US numbers, and is also cheap for international calls. Another cheap international caller is Onesuite has been around for 10+ years and consistently great quality, low price long distance, Internet Fax, Global Call Forwarding (they also offer a lot of local access numbers so can use it without Voip device and even outside the U.S.)
MagicJack/Nettalk/Ooma can be connected to the POTS line of this obi110 – look at obitalk forum for more info on this. (in theory these are next best to free GV)
VOIPs that provide free incoming call (might want to double check this)
1) IpKall. It works with Callcentric to provide free local number in Washington State and free incoming call.
Don’t Get: http://pbxinaflash.com/vitelity/ (Vitelity quality is bad)