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Farewell, Vonage: Hello Google Voice!

We were Vonage customers since July of 2004. Our basic plan price had climbed gradually--thanks to tax and fees--from $16.94 a month up to $29.04. Granted, that's not a stack of cash. But I was wondering if we couldn't do better. After all, I had been paying about that much to host this web site at DataRealm for quite some time, and now we're at NearlyFreeSpeech.net for dramatically less.

We're sick of robo-calls. In fact, the FTC is rather sick of them too. Sure says something when the government is willing to award $50,000 to a valid method of stopping robo-calls. Turning to the private sector to solve a difficult problem? What a concept! Looks like the government needs us after all--for more than just tax, er, revenue generation that is.

Since very few "real" phone calls reach us, and Vonage doesn't provide really powerful call blocking features, it is time to take action.

A few weeks ago, I decided to take the plunge and move to Google Voice. To port a number to Google Voice, it has to be a mobile number. So, off I went to T-Mobile's web site to order a $1 SIM card and activate an old pre-paid phone. Then, we ported our Vonage land line to T-Mobile.

As of this moment, we're now porting our formerly-Vonage-about-to-be-formerly-T-Mobile line to Google Voice. An Obihai VOIP box will provide dialtone.

When it's all done, we hopefully won't know the difference. Except we won't be paying a bill--and Google Voice will be acting as a receiptionist, screening calls for us. Bye, robo-calls!

For reference, see this step by step guide to migrate from Vonage to T-Mobile, created by Matt Hass.

Update: Oct 27, 2012. It's live! The port completed Friday morning, and the Obihai box is connected at home. I disconnected our landline from the telephone network a few years ago, so the Obihai can safely ring every phone in the house. We now have name/number calling ID screening, automatic "junk call/spam call" detection, call recording, voicemail listen-in, and a raftload of other features--and that's just on the Google product. The Obihai has a ton of telecom-related stuff I can't even identify. I'm very impressed.