home telephone

Have you ever considered cutting the cord and saying goodbye to cable and pre-packaged service bundles?  Want to get cheap home telephone service? You can, and it’s just one of the 10 cost-cutting strategies we’ve described on this site.

To be fair, we are also talking about telephone companies and not just cable, especially those telephone companies offering video and Internet as part of a bundle that also includes traditional telephone services. Some may think this is a drastic way to put a few coins in your pocket. I say the potential is there to save more than just a few coins.

There are more and more opportunities to find less expensive, near free, or free(!) alternatives to the telephone, video and Internet bundled packages that these utility companies typically offer. Over my next few blog posts, we will explore ways that you may find true savings. Let’s start with getting cheap home telephone service.

Traditional telephone services have seemingly been waning for years. Who wants to continue to pay for the Spanish-American War from 1898? Okay, so maybe that tax was eliminated a few years ago. But we’ve probably all heard of people and families who have gotten rid of their home telephone service and decided to just use their cell phones. Maybe you’re in that group. There are other alternatives.

Whatever the reason for ditching your local phone service, the one common goal is typically to reduce costs. Recently, in our family, we compared a few options before deciding to cut telephone services from our bundle and, in conjunction with eliminating television services, we realized significant monthly savings. Keep in mind that alternative telephone services typically route calls over the Internet, so you will need to obtain or maintain reliable Internet services.

For our home telephone, we decided to go with Ooma Telo. This device does exactly what I just described: routes calls over the Internet, giving you free calling within the United States. You pay only the applicable taxes and fees, which for us amounts to less than $4 a month.

Ooma Telo

 

Here’s how it works:

1. Purchase the Ooma Telo device. The best prices we’ve seen range from $120 – 180, depending on when and where you shop, so be sure to look for sales before you buy.

2. Connect the Ooma Telo to your high-speed Internet. Just plug the network cable that comes with the device into your home router, network switch, or cable modem and the Ooma Telo.

3. Connect the Ooma Telo to your regular home phone.

4. Activate Ooma online, and you’re set.

Here are a just a few of the features that are included for free when you activate your Ooma account:

  • Ooma Telo boxFree calling within the United States
  • Caller ID
  • Call waiting
  • An online phonebook
  • One-touch voicemail access
  • Online call log
  • Selectable ring pattern
  • Remote voicemail retrieval
  • 911 service

But it doesn’t stop there. Now it’s time to make some choices. For example, if you want to keep (“port”) your existing home phone number, you can do so for a one-time fee. Or, if you choose to pay an additional monthly fee for their premier services, you can get this “porting” service for free. (When you buy your Ooma, check to see if they’re offering a free-trial of these premier services.)

Want to ditch your current phone number? No problem. Ooma lets you choose a home telephone number from any area code for free.

Some of the other premier features include:

  • Free calling to Canada
  • Anonymous call blocking
  • Voicemail alerts and voicemail to email
  • Call screening
  • Call forwarding
  • Three-way conferencing
  • Google Voice extensions

For those of you who need to make frequent international calls, Ooma offers special rates and plans.

Why it works for us:
1. We wanted to lose the cost of a monthly telephone service but keep a home telephone number.
2. We already have (and need to keep) high-speed Internet service.

Want to learn more? Look for an upcoming post describing more features and benefits, as well as our family’s experience with Ooma.

2 Responses to How to Get Cheap Home Telephone Service

  1. julie says:

    What about in an storm emergency? Is this system just as reliable as a land line?

    • jeff says:

      That’s a great question, and it brings up the point that Ooma or similar VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) systems may not be for everyone. If your power goes out and you do not have backup power, you will not have telephone service with VoIP systems.

      Traditional telephone services receive power from the telephone company (not your home). More recent telephone services, such as those bundled in your cable TV package typically rely on VoIP. Unless you have a generator or battery backup (UPS) for your cable modem, Ooma device, and cordless telephones, you will not have phone service if the power goes out. If you currently bundle your telephone service with cable, you are likely already relying on a VoIP system, so Ooma is really no different in that regard. Many folks tend to rely on a cell phone in those types of circumstances.

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