Obihai + Google Voice = Free Home Phone Service Until End of 2013

(Update November 2013: Google announced a few days ago that third-party apps like Obihai and GrooveIP will no longer work with Google Voice as of May 15, 2014. Obihai confirmed this on their official blog, while stating that your box will still be compatible with many other low-cost VoIP providers. It looks like Google wants people to do the free calling via their own apps…)

Original post December 2012:


Google has confirmed on their Official Gmail Blog that Google Voice and Gmail will continue to offer free calls to anywhere within the U.S. and to Canada through the end of 2013. Google continued its tradition of making their announcements very late in the year, although many people expect an advanced notice if they do decide to end this free service in the future (or risk some surprised and angry users). This handy service has been free since late 2010.

This should make the owners of the Obi100 (~$40) and Obi110 VoIP Telephone Adapters (~$50) very happy, as it allows you plug in any standard landline telephone and use Google Voice to make free phone calls. The more expensive model allows you to bridge a traditional POTS landline with your new VoIP gadgetry. The Obihai box has been around since January 2011.

If you don’t have one yet, this means that for under $40 you can get at the very least one full year of free phone service including long distance, with no computer required (broadband internet access is required). There is a one-time $20 fee to port your existing number over to Google Voice. Reader experiences have been overall very positive, with easy installation and the monthly savings can be very significant.

Comments

  1. Just no caller ID, which I really miss and would gladly pay for as an add-on (I know it would cost Google to include it).

  2. Considering that linksys pap2 adapters go for $24 (new unlocked) on ebay, $40 is too much to pay for a sip adapter that works with Google Voice… Obi is a great product, but for Google Voice, the quality is identical to a pap2(t). Thanks for continuing to bring attention to how much cheaper the voip world can be, though!

  3. I have had this setup (Obi100+Google Voice) for 18 months and it’s been flawless. Setup was a piece of cake and I honestly haven’t thought about it since; it just works (and it’s free!). I also recommended it to my non-tech-savvy mom who set it up and has been using it without a hitch. And caller ID works just fine! It’s built-in to GV and the Obi reports it on my phone.

    PS Jonathan, the Obi 100/110 Amazon link labels and prices are switched around.

  4. Is the sound quality okay with Google Voice? We tried GV once and had a noticeable lag, though that might be because we used it in conjunction with an Ooma. We’ve been happy with our Ooma, but we just gave it to a relative and we’re open to trying this out.

  5. @ Michael – I should have been clearer. I am referring to name caller ID as opposed to just getting the phone number that is calling. All my research has indicated that Google Voice does not currently offer name caller ID, though I haven’t looked in a couple months. If you’re getting NAME caller ID though, let me know.

  6. Rob in Arizona says:

    I have google voice and the Obi 110. @Houseofg: my cell phone doesn’t publish names either, all that pushes to my cell is just the number calling. If they’re saved to my address book, then my cell translates. The same is true for any google voice calls that come through.

  7. Just ordered yesterday. I’m going to be working from home more and I don’t want to use my ipad for calls. Plus my next phone will be LTE so I’m hoping to use LTE (with unlimited data) to make my calls.

  8. Oh no, this is a disaster. This was my VOIP plan for next year.
    What can we do to reverse this? Why doesn’t google allow grandfathering? :’(

  9. The GVMate Phone Adapter and GVJackApp for magicJack don’t use XMPP signalling and will continue to work.

    Have my GVMate Phone Adapter plugged into an old unused Windows XP laptop and use it with a cordless phone with multiple handsets. Very happy with the built in caller name display and talking caller id features.

    See http://www.pcphonesoft.com/gvj.....-2014.html .

  10. infinite says:

    You can replace your existing phone number with a FreeDID from IPComms and continue receiving free inbound calls via your OBi device. You can even add our low 1¢/min domestic outbound service (TalkinIP) and enjoy quality USA & Canada outbound calling. Visit http://www.ipcomms.net for more information

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