For the past 3 years I’ve managed to keep my cellphone bill at around $8/mth and I’ve used the cellphone whenever I’ve needed it. My sister called last night lamenting at the fact she was paying $240/mth to Verizon. It’s easy to switch.
Basically what I did was to port my existing phone number to Google voice for a one time $20 fee. This guarantees that you’ll always have control over that number and no cellpone company can hold you hostage. Once your number is ported to google voice you can do whatever you want with it. I forward it to 3 different places, my landline, my pay-per use Page Plus Cellular phone and my google chat account which is linked to my Groove IP account. Google chat/groove IP gives me a wifi phone that works great whenever I’m in wifi range. I can call and receive calls anywhere in the US or Canada for free on my ancient Droid Incredible 2. The Droid I carry with me and use it only for wifi connections as it has no ability to connect to the internet otherwise.
I have a 2nd dumb phone I bought for $50 from Pagepluscellular a Verizon service reseller. Most of their plans are around $.05 a minute and about $.05 a txt msg. This dumb phone is used to receive calls no matter when and where I am. The dumb phone is great because while the incredible needs to be charged every day the dumb flip-phone can live for about a week without charging.
When people call me and leave a message google voice is nice enough to try to transcribe the message to me via email so I rarely if ever call my voicemail to check messages. You can also click the play button and listen to the voicemails online with your computer which is way more convient than calling to listen. My blood curdles cold whenever I hear that robotic voice tell me “You have seven hundred and fifty six new messages.”
The only real trick is to connect Groove IP (a great free android app for making free calls) to your google chat account. All I can say is that I connected it to google chat and for some reason it communicates with Groove IP and it will usually just work.
$8 a month and all you have to do is suffer the indignity of carrying around two phones everywhere you go. Most people pay over $1000 a year for one phone. That’s over $900 a year in your pocket. I think you could get used to just telling people
“Hey can I call you back in a few minutes when I get to a wifi spot? Thanks.”
For $900 a year I’ll do it.