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Author Topic: How do you phone on the cheap?  (Read 1582 times)

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Offline mecch

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  • red pill? or blue pill?
How do you phone on the cheap?
« on: May 25, 2013, 02:54:39 PM »
Curious to know how people make telephone calls on the cheap.

I was set up Skype again.  Hadn't used it in a few years.

(We don't have "Skype to go" yet in Switzerland.)

Does anyone still use those prepaid calling services - you buy a card and it gives a number you use and international minutes? 

I have relatively cheap international minutes on my land line. But I want to cancel that totally.

I want to get off my cell contract, too, and just use my cell with prepaid minutes...
And try to keep a lot of it going through wifi.....

I'm sick of all this money spent on contracts for services I never use...

Anyway just wondering how people are doing all this because I feel like a dinosaur.
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline Matts

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #1 on: May 25, 2013, 03:52:14 PM »
Aldi prepaid, Orange Me and Coop are the cheapest in CH, I think.
http://www.abo-checker.ch/
tivicay/kivexa

Offline Denver Toad

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2013, 05:30:57 PM »
Give VOIP a try. I use it here in California (Google Voice) and have greatly reduced my wireless bill.

http://www.voip-info.org/wiki/view/VOIP+Service+Providers+Residential



Life is short, Break the rules, Forgive quickly,
Kiss slowly, Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably, And never regret anything that made you smile.

Offline oksikoko

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #3 on: May 25, 2013, 08:08:24 PM »
Yeah, VOIP is the way to go. When I was homeless, I cancelled my phone account and started using Google Voice for everything. I still don't have phone service through any of the traditional ways anymore, so all my calls, text, everything are free and routed through my Google phone number.

I have my old iPhone, but there's no number associated (and thus, no bill). I just use my Google Voice number and a free app that lets me text and receive calls. When on my computer, I just use that for calls and text messages, since I use a cheap bluetooth earpiece anyway. It's all very seamless. I use my regular Internet over WiFi, so my only Internet or phone bill is the $50 / month I spend on my Clear Spot. It's mobile, so I just pack it in my pocket and always have phone and Internet on with that.

I'll probably get cancer from carrying the Internet in my pocket, but hopefully I won't live that long anyway, so all in all, this has been a great and cheap way to stay connected no matter what roof is (or isn't) over my head. :D

Lee
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

Offline mecch

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #4 on: May 25, 2013, 08:12:08 PM »
OMG you're all blowing my mind. I'm gonna bite the bullet and understand what VOIP even it....  :o :-[ ;)
Thanks for the info.  Back soon with questions.....
“From each, according to his ability; to each, according to his need” 1875 K Marx

Offline oksikoko

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #5 on: May 25, 2013, 11:28:29 PM »
"Voice over Internet Protocol" just a fancy way of saying "not being screwed by AT&T".

Like I said, when I'm at my desk, I make calls via Gmail. On my phone, I use GV Phone, a free app. That app also lets me text message, though I usually do it through the Chrome Google Voice extension. All of this is free, but you need an Internet connection, which is why I bought a Clear Spot. I don't have wired Internet in my place (did I mention I'm not homeless as of two weeks ago?), and I don't want or need it. The Internet (in the form of a 4G connection) is attached to me for $50 a month, not to the place I happen to be inhabiting at any given moment.

One wrinkle: you have to have a real number to attach to Google Voice, even though Google Voice gives you a local number to use. I bought one from Skype for $18/three months and let Google attach itself to that.

One of the benefits of using Google Voice, which you can even do with your current number, is that voicemail is turned into a text e-mail. It's pretty good at transcribing except for messages from my HASA case worker, who has a Caribbean accent. It can't seem to grok her at all. Luckily she started texting me when it became clear I don't answer phone calls (unless it's Jesus or the Holy Ghost on the other end).

Another possible wrinkle: you are at the mercy of fickle, fickle Google. I see no reason they'll take these services away, but they snatched Google Reader out from under me and forced me to Feedly which now threatens to offer "a paid tier", meaning the free stuff will get crappier and crappier. I'm not paying for an RSS aggregator, I'll tell you that for sure. I digress. With Google's new Hangouts app, it seems they're moving toward, not away from, social services like Google Voice, however, I don't seem to be able to make voice calls via the new Hangouts replacement for Google Talk. It's no big deal; there are a million conduits for Google Voice. That was just a very convenient one that either got overlooked or was removed. I reverted to the old Google Talk while it's still available.

Lee
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

Offline oksikoko

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #6 on: May 25, 2013, 11:38:18 PM »
Oh, wait, you're in Switzerland or Bhutan or something far from civilization, right? Not sure how Google Voice would work for you… Calls are free in North America, but beyond that, I dunno.
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

Offline tednlou2

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #7 on: May 25, 2013, 11:41:45 PM »
My app says Google Voice is only currently available in the U.S. 

Modified:

Does anyone know why we have to still pay for home phone service.  I got rid of my home phone from AT&T and went with Sunstream.  You got this tiny box that you connected to your router.  It was $10 a month.  They went out of business, due to being sued over the technology.  There is Vonage, which is fairly cheap.  I kept thinking how can I get my regular phones to work for free.  I remember back in the day using the dialer on my computer to call people for free, or to send faxes from my computer.  Of course, you had to be signed on to the computer, and that was in the dial up days, so you were just using your current phone line.  However, when I called long distance, I don't remember being charged for a long distance call.

I suppose the issue with getting free home service via VOIP, is that you have to have a phone number?  In order to get one of those, you have to pay some company? 
« Last Edit: May 25, 2013, 11:50:49 PM by tednlou2 »

Offline oksikoko

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #8 on: May 25, 2013, 11:49:01 PM »
That's what I feared.

Oh, well/ If Europeans can make Spotify and Soundcloud, they have to have some sort of Google over there...

Right?

:D

No, but seriously, there are a other free VOIP services, and if you're not as cheap as I am, there are probably even more low-cost ones. Google is just a good choice here because, well, it's Google and it integrates with all the other Skynet, er, I mean Google offerings. Skype is owned by Microsoft, so, well, you know... But maybe one of these services would work: http://alternativeto.net/software/google-voice/
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

Offline Grasshopper

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #9 on: May 26, 2013, 04:42:27 AM »
If you have a smartphone, you can try using Viber over WiFi

http://viber.com/

Offline pozniceguy

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #10 on: May 26, 2013, 06:50:15 PM »
when I  dropped the  land line  and went to  Vonage  they just transferred my  existing  number to  Vonage  all the  phones around the  house  still  work the  way they did before......   just  now are plugged in to the  vonage  box  instead of the  wall outlet   Vonage  is  pretty  cheap  get all services   ( more than AT&T)  PLUS  LONG  DISTANCE caller ID  and  others  I  dont use...
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline Rev. Moon

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #11 on: May 27, 2013, 01:26:53 PM »
My app says Google Voice is only currently available in the U.S. 


I am currently in Germany for a few months and I was able to establish "phone service" with a U.S. number.  It works as if I were in Miami at the moment (no cost for my frenz and family to call me and just a few cents a minute for me to call).   You just need to make sure that you have some sort of VPN (which I believe Mecch must have at the moment as he seems to watch every TV show that is currently popular at home). 

Mecha, if you have questions just send me a PM. 
"I have tried hard--but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine I called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was of no use anywhere else."

Offline LiveWithIt

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2013, 06:19:19 PM »
I have Magic Jack. I love it.  Cost maybe $60 and included the first year of service and you get a free phone number.  Now my phone bill is $30 a year.  The only downside is that I have to be connected to the internet and the computer has to be on, but I use my normal wireless phones with it.  The base is near the magic jack and I have another phone in the living room.  There is a MJ plus that works connected to your Wireless Router so you don't have to have your computer on to use it. 

It also has caller ID, Voicemail with email files where you can keep the message forever, call waiting and a few other features that I don't use. Greatest thing ever.  I can call anywhere in the US and all the calls are free.

Your call are listed onscreen, or you can delete any you don't want. Your contacts are also listed.  You can dial with your mouse too.  And it also has a 911 button where you register your address. 
« Last Edit: June 01, 2013, 06:21:59 PM by LiveWithIt »
Pray God you can cope
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I know you have a lot of strength left.

Offline Habersham

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2013, 01:43:47 PM »
Yeah, VOIP is the way to go. When I was homeless, I cancelled my phone account and started using Google Voice for everything. I still don't have phone service through any of the traditional ways anymore, so all my calls, text, everything are free and routed through my Google phone number.

I have my old iPhone, but there's no number associated (and thus, no bill). I just use my Google Voice number and a free app that lets me text and receive calls. When on my computer, I just use that for calls and text messages, since I use a cheap bluetooth earpiece anyway. It's all very seamless. I use my regular Internet over WiFi, so my only Internet or phone bill is the $50 / month I spend on my Clear Spot. It's mobile, so I just pack it in my pocket and always have phone and Internet on with that.

I'll probably get cancer from carrying the Internet in my pocket, but hopefully I won't live that long anyway, so all in all, this has been a great and cheap way to stay connected no matter what roof is (or isn't) over my head. :D

Lee


Thanks for the GoogleVoice tip. I've set up an account and now I have both a local number and have kept my old Philadelphia number as well.

I've been using GoogleVoice both on my computer and having it ring to my woodburning cell phone.

I'm curious about the option of using it with an old Iphone. It might be worthwhile to pick up one on the cheap and eliminate my cell phone contract.

I have a few questions and hope you'll forgive my I lliteracy!

Can you do this with any model of Iphone?
Can you do it with any other smart phone?
Do you get the app from GoogleVoice?

Thanks again for recommending GoogleVoice!

Charles
Because I Can

Offline oksikoko

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Re: How do you phone on the cheap?
« Reply #14 on: June 14, 2013, 08:37:48 AM »
Thanks for the GoogleVoice tip. I've set up an account and now I have both a local number and have kept my old Philadelphia number as well.

I've been using GoogleVoice both on my computer and having it ring to my woodburning cell phone.

I'm curious about the option of using it with an old Iphone. It might be worthwhile to pick up one on the cheap and eliminate my cell phone contract.

I have a few questions and hope you'll forgive my I lliteracy!

Can you do this with any model of Iphone?
Can you do it with any other smart phone?
Do you get the app from GoogleVoice?

Thanks again for recommending GoogleVoice!

Charles

You're welcome. It's worked well for me, but I'm very tolerant of weirdness if it means I'll save a buck or two. Your mileage may vary in terms of completely replacing your cell phone contract, and when you do things the nonstandard way, you have to be prepared for some non-standard quirks. It's more confusing than it has to be...

1) Google Voice is technically not a phone number, but a phone routing service, so you're supposed to use it like you are now - to route calls to or from a number. I got around that by buying a Skype number, but you'd need to have a real number of some sort to use Google Voice at all.

2) Google and Apple hate each other and have little slap fights all the time. I may be wrong but I think that explains why the official Google Voice app (which I don't use) is completely hobbled on the iPhone. If I try to use it to make a call, it calls my Skype number to route the call through there. This turns into a big black hole of call loops: Google calls Skype then Skype calls Google, repeat. The way I understand it, Apple didn't allow the GV app to be approved in a way that would allow it to replace their phone app. Or something. Or maybe I made that up. Either way - it's great for texts, but no good for making calls.

But, if you use a third-party app, this problem disappears. There are a bunch of them, but I use a free one called "GV Phone". It works just like a normal phone for both calls and texts and is connected to the phone's address book just like you'd expect it to be. I don't really notice the difference.

3) I don't know what you're thinking of as an 'older iPhone', but mine's a pre-Siri 4 from 2010, and everything works fine. However, my phone is old and slow - no matter what I'm doing. If I have a few apps running and I get a call, it has trouble answering quickly, so some of them go to voicemail before I can answer.  I don't mind this because no one calls me except The State. It only affects incoming calls, not outgoing calls or texts in either direction.

4) As for other phones, I have no personal experience, but I can use Google Voice through my iPhone's web browser directly (with no app at all), so I imagine it's possible on anything with a browser, but probably not the most convenient. I can't imagine there's not a decent solution for Android phones, seeing that it's all Google, but sometimes there are non-technical restrictions (like the ones that make the official Google Voice app so sucky), so I can't say for certain. Maybe someone here has experience with that?

I can't imagine going back to the other way, even with the weird stuff. I'm saving for an iPod Touch to replace this phone when it dies - which I expect to happen any day now. It's had a rough life. Having a faster "phone" will probably solve the issues I do have. If that happens sooner than later, I'll keep you posted on the results.
Code: [Select]
2013-10-03:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1105
2013-05-23:                ☣ VL (=) undetectable ☣ CD4 (-) 945
2013-02-25:                ☣ VL (-) undetectable ☣ CD4 (+) 1123
2012-12-16: Enter Stribild
2012-11-20: HIV+           ☣ VL (→) 132,683      ☣ CD4 (→) 920
2012-04-01: HIV-
Dates in this signature file conform to ISO 8601. ;-)

 


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