Obihai + Google Voice = Free VoIP Phone Until End of 2012

Update 12/26/12: Now good until the end of 2013. :)

Are you still looking for a home phone solution that’s cheaper than a landline? A new startup called Obihai has started making ATA VoIP boxes that are actually easy to set up. You buy their box, add in Google Voice (GV) service, plug in a normal landline phone, and it will use GV to make and receive phone calls. No computer required.

Now, Google Voice/Gmail has promised free long distance within the US and Canada for the rest of 2011 2012. Past that, it’s unknown so I wouldn’t want to commit too much money upfront, even though the box is compatible with other VoIP providers.

They also offer number porting from cell phones now for $20. If you have a landline phone number you wish to port over, you’ll have to port it over to a cell phone first, and then port it over to GV. (Don’t ask me why.)

Available at Amazon, the OBi100 model is currently $43.99 with free shipping, and all you need to get yourself set up. They also have a slightly more expensive OBi110 model that allows you to bridge a traditional POTS landline with your new VoIP gadgetry, which I figure most people won’t need if the point is to save money by ditching your landline in the first place.

Comments

  1. You can already make voice calls using google voice without using the computer. Just call your gvoice number and Press 2. Then dial the number you want to call.

    I have the gvoice number on speed dial so it is easy

  2. @MM: The difference with the that method is that you’re still using your plan minutes. With the Obi, you can make GV phone calls using data instead of airtime via their app.

  3. You get what you pay for.
    If you have your gmail webpage open. Your phone will not ring.
    I returned it and replace it by Ooma.

  4. My cell phone plan allows me to make unlimited Wi-Fi calls and MyFaves (no longer offered by T-Mobile) allows me to get free incoming calls to my GV number. I dumped the land line about 2 years ago.

  5. I just bought the OBi100 and it’s awesome. I used Repa’s comment and opened up a new gmail and google voice account to use only for the OBi100. The box is about the size of a deck of cards. It was super easy to install and configure based on the first review in the article. After 10 minutes, it works exactly like a normal telephone service. Thanks for the suggestion!

  6. Yeah until 2012, all of us will buy that and get free until 2012. Why 2012? Of course! 2012 is the end of the World and we’ll all talk free until then, they will just make money from us by just selling the device! ALL BUY IT ! I ALREADY ORDERED! Yay! Free calls until I die!

  7. @Repa: You simply have to log out of “Google Chat” to prevent your Obi line not-ringing when using Gmail.

  8. Richard Schwartz says:

    I converted an expired magicJack dongle I had sitting in a drawer over to Google Voice using the GVJACK application at http://www.pcphonesoft.com a couple of weeks ago.

    The only thing I had to do after I installed the program was log into my Gmail account to start making free Google Voice calls with my phone.

    I’ve only had it a couple of weeks but so far it works like my old landline phone but with more a lot more features and no bill. The instructions say I can also use my phone for Skype calls but I have not tried that yet.

  9. Just want to note that GV sucks big time for making international calls.

    When the service was first launched, the voice quality was excellent. However over time it deteriorated, to the point that I had to ask for a refund because it was impossible to hear the person on the other side of the call.

  10. Eric, where are you calling? My experience with international calls has been excellent with google voice. I actually helped some of my family members get started with using google voice for international calls and everyone has been thrilled at the voice quality and price per minute versus regular landline. I cannot speak for calls via the computer, but for calls via the obi110, calls via cell phone (where GV calls you first, then calls the person you are trying to reach), and now via my motorolla droid X via the google voice app, voice quality has consistently been outstanding.

  11. Curious, we are sans landline now and I have been a vonage customer in the past, but what I always was curious about was what is your solution for when cell and electricity go down? Thats all I really want a landline/VOIP phone for. If electricity goes down then so does my router and I assume the Obi. Do you all have UPCs or something? If so, recomendations?

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