Everyone has a hobby… mine just happens to be saving money on phone plans! Well, it used to be, not so much anymore. Anyhoo, this built for me a bit of a reputation as the ‘Phone Plan Guru’, and subsequently i still have a steady stream of followers coming to me and seeking my wisdom on how they can save money on their phone bill – particularly with this new fangled technology called Voip.
So here is my recommendation – actually let me qualify that further – here is what I do! I don’t have the time to do all the research/maths and stay on top of all the latest companies/plans/offerings anymore. It all gets very confusing! But, when i did have the time, this is the best I could come up with, and i think its still pretty good.
Here is the teaser to keep you reading: Are you sick of paying $30 a month in line rental? Are you sick of slow restrictive internet plans? Are you sick of paying high call costs for calls to mobiles? Do you want cheap untimed local/STD/international calls? Do you want to save with Voip, but are scared of the technology?
I have a normal cordless home phone (essential to maintain high WAF [Wife Approval Factor]). It has a normal sydney number, but I dont pay line rental for it. I can make local/std calls with it for free. I can call mobiles for $0.105/min (no flagfall) or $0.38 untimed. I called my brother in Thailand on his mobile yesterday, and it cost me $0.08 untimed. Are you interested in how? Read on.
I do it using VOIP bundled with Naked DSL. VOIP stands for Voice Over Internet Protocol – in other words i run my phone line over the internet, rather than over a traditional phone line. Naked DSL means ADSL Broadband internet that runs over your home phone cable, but doesnt require you to have a phone number associated with that cable.
I use Exetel for this service. Many companies offer Voip + Naked DSL packages (i.e. iiNet, Engin etc), but I have found that Exetel is the cheapest, offering the most ‘value-adds’, but doesnt allow cost to compromise reliability. I been connected with Exetel for over 5 years and I am very happy with their service.
Based on Exetel’s current Plans, you can connect to the NAK2A ADSL2+ plan for $45/month which includes 6GB peak (48GB offpeaks!!) of data, a home phone number, 100 free local and STD calls, plus heaps of value-adds (ie SMS, email to Fax, voicemail, webspace etc). Most phone compaines will charge you $30/month just for the phone line, plus at least an additional $30/month for ADSL (not necessarily 2+, and definitely not with this much data included), plus they will slap you for calls on top of that! Hopefully the savings here are obvious.
Once you are signed up to the plan, all you need is an ATA (Analouge Telephone Adapter) to get your phone going. This is the device that connects your normal phone to the internet. I use a Linksys 3102 which can be bought very cheap here. You simply connect it up, plug in all the details, and hey presto you’re using VOIP.
The beauty of a device such as the Linksys 3102 is that you can setup what is called a dial plan. This means that you can tell it to use one VOIP company for some calls, and another VOIP company for other calls. In my case, I have set it up so that if it detects I am calling an Australian landline, it will use Exetel, as I get 100 calls free! But, if it detects I am calling a mobile, or an international number, it will use another VOIP provider, who is cheaper than Exetel for these calls.
I use Pennytel for these calls. Pennytel offer prepaid accounts (i.e. no monthly fee or minimum spend) and great rates! Mobile calls can be made for $0.105/min. International calls can be made to many destinations untimed for $0.08 or cheap per minute rates. Pennytel also have some paid plans that offer great value.
So that’s how i do home Internet/Voip. Stay tuned for another post on how to use Voip through your mobile (any old mobile!), and how to use Voip from home without having an internet connection!