15 November 2011

Switch from Cellular Phone Service to VoIP

Posted By: Mick Pletcher - 11:36 PM

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Background:
I had been an AT&T Wireless (formerly Cingular) customer for 12 years before the idea came to me, via a colleague, to use VoIP through wireless hotspot, instead of cellular phone service. March 2011, I purchased a Verizon Samsung 4G LTE SCH-LC11 MiFi and then subscribed to Verizon's monthly plan without a contract. For the VoIP, I went with the Line2 app. So to make it a true VoIP, I put my iPhone into airplane mode with the WiFi enabled.

Update (31 January 2012):
I recently decided to reactivate my iPhone as a backup in case the MiFi dies on me. I got the AT&T $2/day plan that only bills me if I use any data or cellular. I keep my phone in airplane mode at all times with WiFi activated so I do not accidentally use it. I went onto eBay and purchased a GoPhone SIM for $2.65. Once I received the SIM, I first activated it on AT&T's site. NOTE: AT&T does not allow GoPhone service for the iPhone. I had to use the IMEI number off of my old i410 phone to activate the SIM. I then inserted the card and received the invalid SIM card error. I did a master reset on the iPhone and the SIM was then accepted. I went ahead and did both a data and cellular test. Both checked out. Now, I have a cellular backup to my MiFi plan, without the need of a monthly plan.

Results:
At first, it was touchy. Line2 was not quite developed completely. It was constantly kicking me off of VoIP back into cellular every time my MiFi would switch between 3G and 4G. Within 4 months though, they had a revolutionary update to the Line2 app that solved all of those issues. It was at that point, I cancelled my cellular plan with AT&T and went straight VoIP. I have not regretted it. Line2 offers unlimited calls and text messages nationwide for $9.95 a month. The other advantage I had with this was that my MiFi also provides data to my iPad. So it has also cut down on the cost there.

Advantages:

  1. Unlimited phone calls and text messages
  2. Voicemails can not only be listened to on the phone, but can also be automatically emailed to you
  3. MiFi provides data to both the iPhone and iPad, thereby requiring only one plan to pay for instead of two
  4. Significant overall savings
  5. I have CDMA with my MiFi and GSM with my iPhone, so if the CDMA is out of range, I can possibly still have service with the GSM through AT&T.
  6. If you are in a remote location where high speed internet is available, such as cabins in East Tennessee, but there is no cell service, you still have VoIP
  7. As happened to me one time, if your iPhone dies and you have your iPad with you, then you still have VoIP service. If the MiFi dies, I still have the GoPhone service as a third option.


Disadvantages:

  1. You will always have to carry a second device with you, specifically, the MiFi
  2. Line2 does not yet have MMS texting capabilities, but they are close to releasing the next upgrade that will have this function
  3. If you are using an iPhone, the Line2 app does automatically check the cellular first, even if the phone is in airplane mode and you have cellular disabled in the app, which does slow it down some when first launching the app, but once it has connected through VoIP, it is perfect. This does not happen on the iPad or an iPod
  4. Line2 does not have customizable ringtones
  5. 4G MiFi devices eat the batteries up FAST, especially if you are using a lot of data
  6. I have been in one business that blocked WiFi connections and therefor my iPhone could not connect with the MiFi
  7. Line2 does not have short SMS capabilities, but it is in the future plans
NOTE: I am not putting this as a disadvantage as I will explain. You do not have the reduced prices of the cellular phones meaning that you will pay the full retail price of the phone when you have to buy a new one. That still is much cheaper than the supposed discount you get from the cellular provider. Over the life of the contract, the carrier makes a lot more off of you than you got discounted on the phone. You can compare it to financing. It's just that you have to put the money up front instead of extending payments over the life of the contract.

Price Breakdown:

This is the plan I had with AT&T compared to what I now have with Line2 and Verizon:

AT&T PlanPriceVerizon/Line2 PlanPrice
Nation 450 with Rollover Minutes$39.99Line2 Calling Plan with
Unlimited Calling
$9.95
DataPro 4 GB for Smartphones$45.00Verizon 4G 5gb Data Plan$50.00
Messaging Unlimited$20.00included$0.00
Enhanced Voice Mail$1.99included$0.00
iPhone Insurance$9.99GoCare iPhone Insurance$4.92
iPad Plan$25.00included$0.00
AT&T Total$141.97Verizon/Line2 Total$64.87
54.3% Monthly Savings


This is the equivalent option available by AT&T that matches the features provided by Line2 and Verizon:

AT&T PlanPriceVerizon/Line2 PlanPrice
Nation Unlimited$69.99Line2 Calling Plan with
Unlimited Calling
$9.95
DataPro 4 GB for Smartphones$45.00Verizon 4G 5gb Data Plan$50.00
Messaging Unlimited$20.00included$0.00
Enhanced Voice Mail$1.99included$0.00
iPhone Insurance$9.99GoCare iPhone Insurance$4.92
iPad Plan$25.00included$0.00
AT&T Total$171.97Verizon/Line2 Total$64.87
62.3% Monthly Savings


Conclusion:
The Line2 app is very easy to use. It functions just like any built-in cellular app does. There is nothing special you have to do to set it up. The biggest thing to me has been the cost savings. It cut my monthly bill by more than 50%. I rarely talked on the phone, the 250 minute plan was a thing of the past, unless you are a senior citizen, so I usually had thousands of minutes of carry over time each year with AT&T. I personally prefer texting. The advantages, in my opinion, far outweigh the disadvantages. I really like the fact of knowing that I have two VoIP devices, iPhone and iPad, in case one dies on me, plus there is the GoPhone cellular service on the iPhone that provides a third means of communications. The Line2 iPad app they recently released is a very slick app. I know a lot of people have asked how I can stand carrying two devices all of the time. It is easy. I have a belt pouch for my MiFi and then my pant pocket for the iPhone. I also carry my iPad quite a bit of the time. 

About Mick Pletcher

My blog is here to help solve issues I have encountered and solved, publish scripts I have written, and educate others in understanding areas that are not well covered

5 comments:

  1. I don’t think you need to switch from land line to VoIP phone service. The reason is right now, you can use VoIP phone service on your Android and iphone. All the major providers like Axvoice, packet 8 and Vonage offer mobile compatible VoIP service. However, all of them recommend wi-fi internet for mobile VoIP.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We did away with our land line a long time ago and even cancelled Vonage and went straight cellular at the time until I recently switched to VoIP.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I truly like to reading your post. Thank you so much for taking the time to share such a nice information.
    Voip Nation

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi, great article. The way you explained it is really awesome and makes every one to read till the end. keep posting..

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for great information you write it very clean. I am very lucky to get this tips from you. But in last your call rate chart is so high as compared with InLineCom company this is provide cheap calling plan across the world.

    voip line Mississauga

    ReplyDelete

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