Farewell Spectrum VoIP – Hello Callcentric!

I recently started looking for ways to cut the cord.

I’ve been a member of the method of digital media vs. OTA or Cable for a while, however, the Mrs. is a big fan of cable – well I recently noticed even she is slowly drinking the kool-aid of all the digital outlets we have access to, and I shut down our Cable TV & while I was at it, our Phone Service.

Sure sure, the guy explained to me on the phone “But you’d lose the Caller ID on your TV!” – after the 30 or so minutes on the phone having him console me on this horrible loss which as I don’t watch cable TV, and we don’t get a TON of home calls, I pulled myself together, and said: “I’ll be ok.” LOL, Honestly there is a lot more to the world than just having Caller ID on my television screen.

So I did some research and the solutions out there range from Plug and Play with a hefty price tag or the option I went with which is DIY with pretty good savings. How good? $39.99 -> $8. Yeah, that says $8. Now granting you do need to buy some hardware, number porting was free, and it does take a little patience if you aren’t too tech savvy, but in the end I was able to set up my office number and home phone number on the same hardware and cost wise was still under $20 a month. That’s it.

I went with Callcentric as it had amazing reviews – some with folks upset about things like local dialing not working (which they have documentation for on their site to hardwire your local area code) and some general just frustration that it’s not a pre-configured deal, requires some legwork.

In the end if you are looking for something like this honestly I’d say go with Callcentric, because if you are like me, your home phone is a little old school – folks mainly call in, I rarely call out so cost wise I get 90 minutes of monthly outbound calling, but unlimited inbound calling – so when I get that call from the doctor, the Mrs. school, etc. it’s free – and if I need to call out, I’ve got my cell if its a complex call needing hours.

All in all, it works for me. If you are interested in knowing more I’ll happily write up a tutorial on getting set up, enabling local dialing, etc. including too the routing on the OBIHAI OBi202 which was great for me since it allows 2 separate lines but the lower 200 model which is a little cheaper works fine if you are simply replacing your single home line not an office + home line.

Post a comment if you are interested and I’ll write it all up (may do so anyway) but if you are interested posting will encourage me to do it sooner vs. later 🙂

Project Fi so far….

fi_logo_sq_1200So in getting started with Project Fi, I got 2 boxes, my new Nexus 6, and the “welcome kit” which included a case, headphones, and a battery pack for giving me some on the go recharging ability so all in all not too shabby.

Now one thing I can safely say so far (I pray it doesn’t change!) is the ease of customer support! Live chat twice now has me taken care of without a hiccup, all easy fixes, even the # porting was confusing, I have a Google Voice # which I’ve had since Google Voice was Grand Central, even had a $1 promo credit, all that said it could take 5 days to migrate, was done in about an hour – and then a hangup with texts routing only through Hangouts was a quick Hangouts App upgrade, then un-checking a box. Easy.

So how do I like it thus far? An under 24 hours review? Pretty awesome:

I am paying $50/m which breaks down to $20 unlimited talk/text + $30 for 3GB of data, which is pay for what you use, even if I go over I like that it’s simply billed by what you use, so if I use 3.1GB of data, I get billed $1 extra. Simple. Easy.

I’ve used the phone around town a little, again under 24 hours and even now I need to work on a project to fix fonts, but I’m exhausted and its nearly 1AM – but I love the service thus far, it’s kicking butt where Verizon is lacking, even tonight according to a handy little app I found in the ever amazing Project Fi Google+ Community, I’ve been on Sprint’s Spark network – I made a call without issues, no lag, no delays or as I like to call those things now “Acceptable Failure Rates” according to Verizon Wireless.

So far in Bakersfield at least where Mighty Magenta and Big Red have made claims of “EVERYWHERE NETWORK” and where maps bleed magenta all over this town, there are serious dead spots, now big score to Magenta is that they have WiFi calling, solves a lot of issues, now Big Red offered me the honor of buying a booster which uses the internet, but costs me $250, a manager offered $35 off, and a phone support rep claims their manager offered $75 off, but to buy MORE to simply be able to use my service with Big Red? No thanks.

What does this mean? Jump ship go all in Google? Not just yet, again this is day 1, by Monday I may be cursing its name, but even so the Nexus 6 works with AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and rumored well with Verizon, so I have options if it simply doesn’t play well moving forward, but so far I’m hopeful, and just like the G1, I enjoy trying Google’s koolaid 🙂 (It’s grape!)

Got any questions? Want to try to get an invite to join in? Visit http://fi.google.com/ and sign-up with your Gmail account today, or if you want to take a peek at the hardware and setup, hit me up on hangouts, invite me for Starbucks, I’ll get you a look 🙂