X
Disclosure: Grounded Reason is supported by a small commission for purchases made through some product links on this website. I do not accept compensation from companies attempting to sway my review of products.

Inexpensive Home Phone Service Options

There have been many home phone solutions I’ve encountered since first writing this guide to replace your landline. I figured it was time to update the information for those looking to save a little money on their phone service.

Typically, cable providers bundle home phone service into a “Triple Play” package with internet and cable TV service.  You’ve read the guide on watching TV without cable, but have questions on what home phone service options are out there other than through a cable provider. Some may not be looking to “cut the cord” on cable, but want the most affordable home phone plans they can buy.

Thankfully, there are easily available home phone options to replace your existing landline. I’ll let you know about a few services that allows you to use your existing internet access to act as a phone, and which one I recommend. I’ll also cover how you can eliminate the cost of a home phone altogether by using your existing smartphone service.

Whether you want to cut the cable cord or just save some money on your monthly cable bill, these inexpensive landline alternatives are something to consider.

Recommended Home Phone Service

For those that require a home phone, there are numerous companies that offer home phone service through your existing internet connection. I find the most affordable and reliable to be PhonePower (formerly BroadVoice.) Upon signing up for PhonePower, they will ship you an adapter that plugs into your home router. Next, you simply plug your home phone’s base station into the adapter and you can make calls using your internet connection.

PhonePower also includes an iPhone and Android Phone app so you can use your mobile phone or tablet to make calls when connected to your Wi-Fi network. This means those will just a data plan for their tablets can make calls using PhonePower.

PhonePower users can make unlimited calls to the U.S, Canada, and Puerto Rico. The service includes everything you have come to expect from home phone service like voicemail, call waiting, conference calling, 911 and more. Even obscure phone functions like *69 and call blocking are available. The most impressive are phone cloning, which allows another phone to dial out and receive calls when someone is on the line. It’s almost like having a second line.

While the advertised price is around $9.00 per month, there are other fees that you need to pay. These fees also exist with traditional phone service and are used to cover emergency service, regulatory fees, and taxes. Yearly service works out to cost $162.17. That’s about $13.50 per month or half the cost of traditional phone service.

This plan comes with 60 minutes of free international calling per month outside the U.S. and Canada as well. However, PhonePower does offer an unlimited international calling plan.

Using PhonePower feels no different than traditional Home Phone service. You can even keep your existing phone number. The only difference you will notice is the cheaper monthly bill.

Sign up for PhonePower

You can sign up for PhonePower using my affiliate link above. This supports Grounded Reason as PhonePower pays a commission to this site when a user makes a purchase. Since my reader’s trust is extremely important to me, I only enter into partnerships with products I’ve used and believe in. So if you are not happy with PhonePower please let me know. Also be aware they offer a 30-day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their product.

Cell Phones will save you the most

The cheapest solution and the one that my wife and I use is to use your existing cell phones. My wife and I both have cell phones, so we just stopped giving out our home phone number.  We currently treat my wife’s phone as the home phone and provide her cell number when a home phone number is required.  You can even have the “disconnect message” on your old phone number provide your cell number.  This may not be ideal for everyone.  If you have less than dependable service in your home, then you will need to examine other options.

Babysitters can be another issue when using a cell as a home phone. We have 2 young children so this is an issue we face. While the average babysitter will have a cell phone, you can’t always assume they will.  It can also be awkward asking your babysitter if he or she has a full charge on their phone, otherwise, they will have no way of communicating with the outside world otherwise.

If you have a sitter that you can trust to always have a fully charged phone, then this isn’t a problem.  However, if this isn’t the case, here are some easy ways to remedy this.

Leave one cell at home – Often, couples will have 2 phones; just leave one for the sitter to use.  I understand not everyone will be comfortable with this, but it is a viable option.

FaceTime – We have an iPad that is WiFi only and doesn’t have a data or phone plan. However, with FaceTime, we can use it to make an audio call through the internet to either my or my wife’s iPhone. We simply leave the iPad with the sitter and show them how to make the call. You can test this out by turning off the WiFi on your phone and firing up FaceTime on your iPad right now.

If you aren’t an Apple user and prefer Android, this is a great article on making free phone calls online which may replicate this solution.

Pay as you go phone – “Burner” phones aren’t just used when a drug deal goes south on TV shows like “Breaking Bad.” They can also be used by your babysitter while you and your significant other catch dinner and a movie.  Generally, major cell companies offer a “pay as you go” plan.  For instance, for $3 a month, T-Mobile will let you keep a number from month to month. When you require minutes, just load them as needed.

Text over email – I don’t recommend this as it’s not a practical way of communicating, but if you are comfortable letting the sitter use your computer they can communicate via E-mail and text.  Register an email address just for sitter use and show them how to send text messages via email by using this tutorial.   This will require monitoring email to capture any incoming communication, but this technique can be used if you don’t want to leave a phone, or carry an extra phone.

Other Viable Options

I recommend either PhonePower or simply using your existing cell phone to replace your home phone service. However, if those options do not meet your needs, here are some other alternatives.

Skype

Skype is a great alternative to your cable provider’s home phone service, but I wouldn’t call it a full replacement. Skype will not provide features like 911 calls. Similar to PhonePower, Skype manages communication through the internet. However, it is unlike PhonePower as Skype is designed to be used with a smartphone or computer.

If you are using Skype to replace your landline, you most likely will not want to only use your computer for phone calls. In this case, you would need to buy a Windows Phone. For this reason, I feel PhonePower is a more seamless replacement to traditional phone service.

Skype plans start at $2.99 a month for unlimited U.S. calling and even allow unlimited worldwide calling for less than $150 for the entire year.  Those rates are impossible to beat with a traditional telephone service. Skype is simple to install and set up.

You can choose your own phone number for incoming calls, but may not be able to keep your existing one. You can install the Skype app on your smartphone and have the number ring your smartphone as well as your home phone. Voice mail is easy to set up and use. Although, it does require you to log into your Skype account to manage the messages.

Cheap Home Phone Service

Magic Jack is another other product to replace your home phone with Voice over IP technology. While it’s extremely affordable and meets all the needs of a traditional home phone, I’ve heard some mixed reviews. While some swear by it, others have complained of dropped calls and poor support.

magicJack is a device you can purchase for about $40. Simply plug the device into your router and connect a telephone or phone base station to magicJack. The initial purchase of the device includes 12 months of phone service.

After the first 12 months, you pay $35 a year to continue the service.  Voice mail, caller ID, call waiting, and 411 are included.  magicJack also offers the magicJack app which will allow you to use your cell phone or tablet to make phone calls over wi-fi or 4G.  This means you can use this app to avoid burning minutes on your cell phone’s voice calling plan. The app is free whether you own a magicJack device or not.

If interested in trying magicJack, you can purchase magicJac from Amazon. Doing so supports Grounded Reason as Amazon pays a small commission to this site when purchasing via an Amazon link on Grounded Reason.

Vonage

Vonage has been in the VOIP business awhile and provides a pretty good service. It matches PhonePower in most regards. However, Vonage tends to have fees associated with the service that brings up the total cost of the product. This can initially surprise customers that didn’t investigate those fees. PhonePower wind’s up costing a little less in the long run, which is why I recommend it.

If you want to give Vonage a try you can sign up here.

Lingo

Lingo is similar to PhonePower in almost every way. In fact, I’m hard-pressed to find functionality that differentiates one from the other. I recommend PhonePower as Lingo is slightly more expensive. If you try PhonePower and aren’t satisfied with the quality of service, then Lingo is your next best option.

It cost a little more, but may better suit your needs. You can sign up for Lingo here.

Don’t Overpay for Phone Service

Whether you use your existing cell phone, Skype or other voice over IP solution, replacing your home phone is extremely simple.  It’s too simple and affordable to hinder you from finally dropping your cable subscription and saving money.

If you enjoyed this article, please subscribe to our weekly newsletter. It goes out every Thursday and keeps you up to date on information relevant to cord cutters. Subscribing will also inform you on the latest deals out there for internet, streaming, and more.

Check Out An Internet Only Deal for Cordcutters (sponsored)

If this article did not answer your specific question, check out the Cord Cutting Guide. It provides links to the most important articles in our over 200 pages of content to help you ditch pay TV.

For tips and tricks on cutting the cord and other tech topics be sure to join our Facebook Page and follow us on Twitter

Categories: Guides
Dennis Restauro :Dennis is the founder of Grounded Reason. He also hosts the Grounded Reason Podcast. Follow him on Twitter: Follow Dennis on Twitter

View Comments (105)

  • We live in a good Verizon Wireless coverage area and were about to sign up with their wireless home phone service. It's basically a box with a cellular phone built into it where you can connect your own wired or wireless home phone and just use it like a regular landline. Since it's cellular, there is no dependency on an internet connection and its battery backup allows use during power outages. The cost of the service is only $20 per month while the device is $99 outright or free with a 2-year contract. We currently pay $30 per month for our home phone. Saving $10 per month ($120 per year) sounded pretty good.

    HOWEVER... We found a reconditioned version of the EXACT SAME DEVICE being offered by Straight Talk Wireless (a Walmart company) online for FREE! It uses Verizon's same wireless network and the cost is only $15 per month with no contracts! That's an additional savings of $70 per year ($190 total) for the SAME SERVICE.

    No-brainer here. I bought four devices. One each for my parents and I and the extra two units as back-up. Service has been excellent.

  • NetTalk is better than MagicJack.
    No difference than BroadVoice except NetTalk is cheaper,
    I pay $50 a year.
    Never have dropped calls or issues and I live in a rural area.

  • How is Vonage? I didn't see this in your list. Do you recommend vonage?
    I also will need international to dial India.

    Any recommendations based on criteria.

  • This is the best blog on this subject that I have found! most don't even mention options for phone service.
    Thanks!

  • Excellent blog! Time-Warner just raised my bill from $125/mo to $175/mo and I"M DONE! Here's my one concern about VOIP phone to replace my landline - my internet service is sometimes very slow - how does that affect the phone use? My cell service is poor (2 bars at the most) in my home since I live in a geographic bowl so I need a dependable alternative. Will the Broadvoice be a good solution?

    • Good VOIP is dependent on your internet connection. It doesn't take much bandwidth to do VOIP so Slow shouldn't matter too much as long as you have about 3 Mbps, but you don't won't to rely on it if your internet service goes in and out.

  • Hello Dennis,

    Thanks for an article. It is the best advice that I have read about replacing a landline phone. I wish that I could read it earlier. As I just cancelled my home phone number yesterday. Do I need to buy my number if I use Broadvoice. I just tried to contact them but no answers.

    Thanks for sharing. Kim

    • No the number doesn't cost anything. However, if you ever change your number, then there is a $15 number change charge.

  • Hi, Dennis,

    Two things:

    1. for landline use I used a company called Teleblend for years for VoIP service. I loved them. I lived in Detroit area when I first got them, took my number with me to Seymour, MO (cow country), then to Omaha, NE. I only cancelled them when I married and my husband already had a home phone so I didn't need them anymore. In the beginning (say, 2003 or so) I had a few minor issues with customer service but that was soon resolved. In the ensuing years, I had zero connectivity issues with the exception of calls lasting more than 2 hours. If I was on the phone for more than 120 minutes they would drop the call. There is a work-around for my Teleblend issue which was to transfer the call to my cell phone and continue BEFORE the 120 minutes was up. Then after 10 minutes or so I could transfer the call back to my VoIP service. This only needed to be done twice while I was calling the government and on hold for a very long time. Teleblend is $15.95 (free adapter) for unlimited calling in the US and Canada and $17.95 for international calling to LOTS of (but not all) other countries. One of the features I like about this service is if someone is bothering me and I don't want to take their calls I can log into the website and find the number in my call list. With the simple click of a button, they go directly to voicemail so they are not notified that I have blocked their calls. I also had the option of having "blocked numbers" identify themselves. I would answer the call from a blocked number and the caller's recording as to their identity was played. If I did not wish to take the call I could push a button and they went to voice mail. It was awesome! I was also able to forward my calls to my cell phone if I was going to be away, without incurring anything other than cell charges. They have a list of free and optional services on their website, teleblend.com.

    Second, Magic Jack cuts you off at 90 minutes and many other VoIP services have call limitations but don't tell you about them! Most VoIP are perfectly fine for the majority of people but there are special circumstances many don't think about when changing phone service. For example, is the 911 Emergency Service going to put you in touch with someone in another town or county where you have to be transferred to someone else in order to receive emergency services which depend on speedy response? Will you remember to change your service address if you move? If you have VoIP and your service address is listed at one place but you reside somewhere else, your 911 location may not be your physical address. If your VoIP service doesn't offer services you need, you then have the headaches and hassles of changing...again. While each of these issues can be easily resolved for most, there is a small percentage of the population who need to be able to remain on the phone for more than an hour (business calls, emergency calls, government calls, etc) which means if your VoIP service has limitations, you need to know that. Most services do not tell you what those limitations are and it is up to you to research and find out.

    • That's interesting. I've never heard of a phone provider limiting the length of calls. I work from home and have been on calls easily lasting hours at a time so it would be very important to me NOT to have a call time limit. I'll have to keep an eye open for that now...

    • Thanks Mary. I love to hear other's experiences. It's also important for readers of the blog to get others real word experience with these services.

      We had Voip for a bit, and we loved it. However, we used the house line so infrequently we transitioned to cell phones. Alas the saga continues, my daughter just hit 9 and the phone appears to still be a big deal for tweens. She's hopping I get her a cell phone, but more than likely we will be firing Broadvoice back up.

    • Vonage is a fine VOIP service. Once all the fees are said and done it tends to cost slightly more than Broadvoice. Considering there is no discernible difference in the quality of both services, I'd go with Broadvoice.

  • What about Ooma? Once you buy their box the monthly fee is less than $5. I have used this for over five years and bought the box initially with AMEX points.

    Great site Dennis

    • I have had Ooma for 5+ years and I love it. I haven't had one issue with it. The call quality is excellent as well. Once you purchase the equipment, it's $5.35/month.

    • While I've never personally tried Ooma, I have friends with the service. Perhaps I should pester them to write something up for me.

  • The best and cheapest ($0/mo.) home phone service IMO is Google Voice.

    You sign up for Google Voice online and you're assigned you a phone number. Download Google Hangouts app to an old smartphone and use that as your "home phone."

    All calls are made over wifi. All cellphones are required to be able to make emergency calls, so wifi access isn't necessary in an emergency situation. Other than the original cost of that old smartphone, the monthly fees are $0. The only issue thing I can think might be an issue for some people is that you can't port a phone number over.

  • We drop cable and went to Verizon for Internet and landline Now paying $50 plus tax per month for Internet and home phone Do you think I can save money dropping the home phone and just keeping Internet or will they charge me so much it won't be worth it?

  • I have been very happy with VoIPo (www.voipo.com). The service is great and it is very feature-rich. It seemed to have all the features of Broadvoice and more, but was less expensive. I have recommended it to several friends who are also happy with VoIPo. The only downside is that you pay for 2 years of service. The list price for 2 years is $149, but you pay $185 with all the fees.

  • We use a Tracfone as our "home" phone and have a device that pairs the signal and it is routed through our "wall phones". It is very cheap and we like having a home phone. With kids, there is an awkward phase where they are too young to have their own phone but old enough to call each other for homework, playdates, etc. This is the primary reason we still have our phone. I just don't want my kids friends calling my cell phone!

  • We've been using MagicJack for a few years now and it's been very good. With the Android app, our home number follows us and at ~$3/month it's tough to beat.

  • Re Row Man's comments...I was under the impression that Straight Talk was/is a Verizon company. Right or wrong?

    • Straight Talk is a Walmart company that uses the Verizon network for its home phone service. For their wireless service, they actually are able to use the AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon networks depending on what wireless phone you have and it's centrally used location.

  • We've used Straight Talk for a couple of years. I pay $16.87 a month $15 + $1.87 tax (in North Carolina). You can buy the box at WalMart for $25. Have been pretty pleased with it except for some initial frustration -- not sure if it was atypical or not. Occasionally a caller would be put straight through to voicemail though I was waiting on the call. Customer support said they did not detect anything wrong, but the issue stopped after my second complaint.

    Thanks, Dennis, for your excellent website/info!! You helped me drop DirecTV some months back. With the info from your site, I got an antenna, Roku, and SlingTV and couldn't be happier!

    • I'm glad cord cutting worked for you Karen. I found the hardest part was making the initial leap. Once we left cable, we didn't give it a second thought.

  • Cable bill kept rising so I'm jumping off before my nose starts to bleed, going to take your advice and let you know how it turns out.

  • We are on this site and others, trying to find an affordable package for the elderly and others. Had Verizon, which was so good, we ordered the entire package. First ordered Cell phone package, then Home Connect Telephone package, then followed with the Internet package. Got to keep the numbers we already had. When we would go to the beach for a couple or three weeks, we carried the entire packages and never had problems.

    We even talked on the home phone ,going down the Interstates.
    We were with them from the beginning, then the "cart" became upset, when AT&T and Verizon Companies separated and don't use the same towers. This left us as a "Marginal Signal Area" and can no longer use anything under Verizon 4G. What is so terrible about this, is the fact we can get in the car and go just .02/10s of a mile up our street, and pick up the 4G signal. Believe it or not the company does not seem to care, (except for their phone representatives) who are so disturbed because we were with them so long, but they are not trying to help us.

    Since that time, we are constantly searching for a company which has prices comparable to Verizon's. We were with them from 1998 when they would "break a leg to keep us". We are still with them (2016) with Home Phone Connect but since they have become such a great company, they no longer need or want us.

    They were paid by Bank Draft, therefore never late. Have asked for a field representative to come down to check on the problem, but they use something like the GPS Wireless System, which cannot see the clear picture. There are two roads on each side of our lands which do not have the signal,also with homes wanting the Verizon service and can't get it.

    If you can give us any tips in the direction of a company who maybe has Senior Citizen Plans, as we are strictly Social Security recipients and did not have retirement back then. We are in South Carolina and cannot get some of the plans you mentioned above. We had Magic Jack when they began, but never received quality service.

    Thanks for taking our problem and will appreciate anything you can do or suggest.
    Respectfully,
    Billy and Barbara Scott

    • Billy - if Verizon no longer offers good cell coverage in your house and you want cheap service, consider a low cost package from TMobile, Cricket (owned by ATT), metroPCS (owned by tmobile), or one of the companies that resells ATT and Tmobile service (like straight talk, ring plus, blue green, h2o, etc). More info about resellers is on the websites PrepaidPhoneNews and Howard Forums (under "mvno")

    • Hi Barbara and Billy,

      I looked into this and the FCC has the Lifeline Program. It's designed to provide affordable wireless or telephone service to people. Thanks for asking about this. It caused me to do a little research and find a great resource. I'll be doing a post about this at some point in the future.

      Dennis

  • What about the obi 200/202? Both can be gotten from amazon and are cheap with a prime discount. They are ATA VOIP gateways that are google voice certified. You connect them to the router via ethernet, and an analog phone through an rj 11 cord. Register the device on the website that is provided, login with google voice login, and configure the device: sip 1 (voice). They also have a deal with anveo to supplement the no 911 google voice/hangouts suffers from: 12-15 dollars/year just for E911.

    Obi 200 and 202 also come with t.38 protocol, so if you had a fax machine, some have tested it with ECM off and speed at 9600 and have gotten it to work.

    Price of setup with obi 200 with prime discount:

    $50 for obi200
    $20-30 for cables and analog phone
    Time to setup
    $15/year for anveo e911

    95 initial outlay

    Gets you fully functional home phone service with call blocking caller id voice mail and 911, along with other features.

    As well as the possibility to use a fax machine instead of a phone for free long distance faxes.

    And no fees and taxes. Due to using google voice. The only fee that is considered is anveo which is 911 service.

    • You know I did consider that, but the solution was a bit complicated so I hesitant to endorse it. It's one of those things where I would want to set it up myself to properly explain it to the readers. However, your comment will point people in the right direction. Thanks!

  • I signed up with PureTalkUSA for my elderly husband who is techno-challenged with phones newer than pushbutton desk style units.

    For a total $10/mo including taxes, fees, etc., he gets 130 minutes of talk time which roll over any unused minutes to the next month.

    His phone is a basic clamshell design which we got from an expensive T-Mobile plan of $35/mo about five years ago.

    PTUSA only works on GSM phones, as I found out the hard way. I have a Samsung Galaxy 3 CDMA from Sprint which costs me at least $50/mo depending on data usage. It was costing me $200/mo until I changed my plan.

    It's a business phone but I'm not using it for that just now. But oh how I wish I could change to PTUSA. Even their $30/mo plan would be a dream to use.

    When you sign up, they send you a SIM card to insert in your phone. That costs $5. You can also port your existing number and it was quick for us when they did it.

    Their choices of phones are somewhat limited but not everyone wants or needs the greatest, latest one either.

    Just wanted to add my experience to that of others who have been very helpful to me.

    • 3 years ago began using Magic Jack, then went to Magic Jack Plus. A few times a call got disconnected but aside from that have had nothing to complain about. Luv that it costs only around $3/Month. Magic Jack is the way to go, in my opinion. ... At same time had a second phone # with TracFone. Last year it cost me total of around $65 for the year of service. Gotta pay for AIR TIME and also SERVICE DAYS. Wanted to renew for a year and cost is now $100, so stopped using the service.

  • Is there a product that can replace my current landline buy using an additional cell # from my current provider -- another $10 per month.

    It would have to have
    One phone which is the Master and is a regular phone with console push button dialing, an answering machine with light to tell me message waiting, a speaker phone option, a display of FROM numbers history , a redial button, a FLASH button to make third party calls, volume controls for playback and handset.
    And I would like 2 or 3 remote handheld stations that ring when the Master rings and can answer and make outgoing calls.
    The master could be powered by 110 in the wall and the remotes could be rechargeable in stands attached to 110 (Same as I have today)
    Since I have unlimited calling in my cell plan, the only charge would be the initial cost of equipment (about $100) and an additional line on my cell service, $10.

  • I have BasicTalk. I've never had a problem with it. I pay around $12.83 per month.

  • My family uses ouroldnumber.com. If you currently have landline service, you can keep your phone number, but cancel your landline service (if you don't have one, but want one, you can do that too). When people call our number, they hear a greeting recorded by my husband. All four family members are in the directory and the caller selects which person they would like to talk to and the call is forwarded to the cell phone. It's $10/month and very reliable.

  • I am considering cutting the cord. Issue: I have ADT on my hardwire phone and do not want to pay the $ for wireless subscription. Currently with Frontier. What are my options for less expensive landline phone service?

    Thank you for such an informative site!! I have been reading a lot of your articles and appreciate the work you put into them to benefit all.

  • I live in a rural area in an old farmhouse with bundled TWC phone, internet, TV. Used to have ATT LL and kept "LL" with TWC wifi connection. Service guy said to get a backup battery that would make the phone last up to 8 hours. HA!

    Lost power with H Matthew and had no contact nowhere. Cell phone was out, too (and doesn't work in the best of times because of the metal roof). Even though ATT is extremely $$ for its LL, made me rethink it.

    IS there an alternative phone service that is comparable to ATT? I need to have some way to get in touch with people or emergency if necessary.

    • Nothing will be as dependable as the old fashion landline. Voice over IP is the best you will get, but you won't have a phone if your internet goes out.

  • I personally use Consumer Cellular. Two cells and a home phone unit costs me about $50 a month. It would be cheaper, but SOMEONE in the family wants lots of texting. All phones share the same minutes, texts and data. If you need lots of data, this is not the plan for you. You get to pick how many minutes, texts and data you need. No contracts.

  • By switching landline to VOIP do I still have 911 and other emergency tracking functionality? So if internet is out , there is no phone?

    • You do with most vendors. However, you will lose phone service if your internet goes out.

  • I went to Broadvoice to sign up based on your review and the prices were much more than you indicated. About $26 a month which is about what ATT charges me. Whats up?

    • Unlimited World Calling costs 24.95, The US and Canada plan is only $13.50 a month when all the taxes and fees are accounted for.

  • What are my options if I want to call overseas (UK) once a month? All the VOIP options don't "do" overseas calls. I use Skype. but not all of my contacts over there have Skype, or they don't turn it on!

    • Broadvoice offers International. The domestic plan even gives you 60 minutes free international calling per month.

  • My mom is 90 yrs old. She cannot afford cable prices
    She has no computer nor knows how to use one
    She has a large new flat screen tv but how can we get
    her some channels like cnn, history, a & e, cooking channel
    and regular stations?? without it costing so much? She has
    one home wired phone and is on California Lifeline. No cell phone.
    She has been ripped off by Cox cable.
    Do you have any suggestions?
    Is there a simple antenna to buy at a store ? I don't know
    anything about this stuff either and we have no one to ask since
    we are technically incapable. Thanks and perhaps you can email me an answer

    • Use antennaweb.org to find out if she can receive a digital tv over the air via antenna from her address.

      The website also recommends antennas to use. I simply have a paper thin antenna taped to my window in the direction of the TV towers 20 miles away.

    • There is a slight learning curve for those not familiar with modern digital devices, however She will internet access and something like Sling TV to access those channels. I recommend checking out my guide to cable tv alternatives for more info.

  • I need a simple phone just for opening the door in our condo. When a visitor ring my unit , it goes to a landline and need to press a number on the phone to open the door. What would you suggest?

  • Someone has recommended me to replace the land line with the Ooma hub device. How would you comment on it comparing with the other devices and services mentioned in the article and comments ( Magic Jack, Vonage, etc.) Thanks.

    • I have a friend that uses Ooma. They swear by it. However, I personally haven't tried it.

  • BroadVoice seems like a total racket, sorry. Intrigued by your post, I called to get information. Instead, I was given a complete hard-sell. Not surprisingly, the cost of the service is higher than advertised because of the taxes. That's okay, but be forewarned, if you sign up for the U.S./Canada plan and cancel before the required 12 month period, not only is no money refunded, you are also CHARGED an additional $99.00 for cancelng. It was like pulling teeth to get that information, it seems like they must train their customer service to avoid that detail unless pressed.

    • Thanks for the warning on the early cancel. I wasn't aware of that. However, I did cite the taxes and fees in the article.

  • We live in a remote area in Monkton, MD with a stream across front of property and cannot get cable or FIOS and have to use Satellite Internet (Hughestnet) and satellite TV (DirectTV). Cellphone reception for any carrier is also very poor to non-existent in our home. Verizon landline service just doubled in price and I am trying to find another option. From what I've read VoIP will not work well with Hughesnet. I have ordered a Hughesnet internet phone from them, but it hasn't arrived yet and wanted to find out if there are other landline providers available for less than what Verizon now charges. I used to pay $27/mo for Verizon's Freedom Essentials as it was bundled with my DirectTV services. But now they've unbundled it and Freedom Essentials pkg (unlimited local & long distance) would be $64/mo plus taxes. Any suggestions would be appreciated as we are Seniors also, so any other options would be helpful!

    • Satellite internet and VoIP do have some issues. Is satellite internet the only thing available?

  • Some that weren't mentioned are VOIP.MS, VOIPO.com, Future-Nine.com and Callcentric.com

    Probably all are better choices than MagicJack or Vonage etc.

    • I agree, but there are just so many VOIP companies out there. I tried to recommend different flavors of VOIP.

  • I am on a fixed income. I want to cut the cable cord. Reading all of your content. I have a landline ONLY because of my ADT Security system-averaging $42.09 mo. Landline phone bill is presently $39.13 per month (no long distance, features, etc., just local calling). I should do something else:
    I've been thinking maybe ADT's Cellguard??? . Then remove cable and have just Spectrum's Internet Only (with no lease fee for modem, about $70 per month); get PhonePower; Sling TV, Roku devices for 2 tvs. I have 1 Mohu Leaf 30 antenna to be installed. I am using a Belkin N450 Dual-Band N Router and Spectrum's SB6183 Modem. Not sure how to proceed. I'm old school and really prefer a landline for long distance calls. TV wants: TNT, TBS, BRAVO, MSNBC. But, I have got to cut this cable cord.

    • It sounds like you have the right plan. I would check out my post on cheap internet plans to make sure you are getting the best deal you can. Everything else sounds solid.

  • Hi-
    I have read through your article and quite a few of comments and replies and am just struggling to make a decision. So I thought I would present my scenario and see what anyone has to offer for feedback/thoughts:
    -We are moving in one week and would like service ASAP
    -We will have one option for landline phone service for $19.95/month unlimited local calling (plus taxes and fees).
    -We will have 10 Mbps high-speed internet available.
    -Both my husband and myself have smartphones which have good reception at our new home.
    -We have a 10 year-old. We would like a landline available for her to use any time she is home, but we don't want her to have text or internet access on it and don't want it walking out the door with her. So, we would like to have a traditional-type phone.
    -Phone Power's website states that it has no local phone numbers available in our area (is this because of the landline monopoly in the area owning all of them?) and we would like a recognizable number if it all possible. We do not currently have any home number.

    So, based on the above, what should I do? Am I just asking for the impossible?

  • Are any of your recommendations able to control the scourge of scam calls??

    • I've recently switched from Phone Power to VOIPO. They have a data base, that's constantly being updated, that identifies known telemarketing numbers and blocks them. Your phone rings once, then no more. If a new one gets through, you can add it to their database.
      We've had no problems with quality either.

      Best of luck,
      Charles

  • When it comes to cheap I would recommend OOMA. The Telo is the real expense but is a one time up front purchase. From there on the few is just taxes and 911 fees. I Colorado where I purchased the Telo I started at about $5 a month and it went up to $9. Now in Atlanta, I'm paying less than $5 a month. My final destination is Florida and at my home there it will also be less than $5 a month. Quality is great fills all the needs of a land line.

  • I've tried the magic jack and it was quite a headache. This was a few years ago so maybe the service has gotten better. But I would get dropped calls, have to constantly reboot it by disconnecting and reconnecting, there were many times it did not work. In case of an emergency I probably would have had to use my cellular phone it wasn't dependable.

  • My cable bill is outrageous, investigating cutting the cord. I need a land line for faxes, don't use it a lot but when I need it, I need it - is a requirement for my job that I have one in my home. Do the products/services you have discussed support faxing?

  • Hi,
    I live in an apartment, if the router is in the basement, would I still be able to use Broadvoice?
    Thanks,
    Josie
    By the way, thank you so much, I was able to drop my cable service and save over $100. a month using your tips!

    • That's great Josie. You can use PhonePower (formerly Broadvoice). You just need to run an ethernet cable from the phone power device to the router in the basement. Or keep the devices close and run long phone lines from your phone to the phone power device.

  • Hey there !! Lots of great information and thank you. I use my cell as my only phone. My home phone system has 4 handsets and a base. Now off the cable tv and home phone grid, I am using internet only. Any testing I do for an antenna results in no channels available or as many as 3. I hooked up my home units to my cell via bluetooth and being in a very rural area, I leave my cell in a good spot here at home and when it rings so do all 4 hand sets. Seems these cordless phones for the home have another ability built in. I can receive calls and make outgoing calls also at no extra cost!! There is even a setting that allows for cell phone use only from the handsets. Using that setting allowed me to also make outgoing calls. For me, texting can only be done on the actual cell phone but that's OK by me!! I am just tickled that I was able to tell the local cable company seeyalater with that triple play crap.

  • Do any of these cut the cord options work with sat internet? Thats all we have in the country, no cable available

  • Dennis, have you taken a look at Basic Talk? And, the person who mentioned OOMA didn't say that the box you have to buy upfront costs $240. By the way, Basic Talk advertises $9.99 a month; but, once you figure in the taxes and fees, it is about $13. Power Phone is around $15 but requires a 2 year contract. Someone also mentioned using Google talk voice with some sort of device, but I don't know how practical that would be either. Thanks, for your thoughts.

    • Uh, dude....not sure where you bought your Ooma from, but it sure as heck doesn't cost $240. You got robbed. On Amazon, you can buy an Ooma brand new for $87, $59 for refurbished. I have it, use it, love it. Its monthly cost is far cheaper, and for a startup cost of $87 you can't beat it.

  • Hi Dennis,
    My concern is emissions exposure. If I have a 'land line' phone devise plugged into my computer, am I getting any less exposure than I would be with my Samsung Galaxy J3 cell phone. I recently cancelled my land line with Century Link due to cost of $79 - $85 a month. I do have WiFi in my house through the Roku approach. (Belkin)
    Any advice is welcome. I use the cell phone on the average of 4 - 5 hours a week for work. I use a wired headset, not air tube, and keep my distance from the cell phone as much as I can.

    • If your concern is the cell signal, than that is electromagnetic radiation. That's also in your WiFi. But, I understand the point of not holding it near your head. If you are really that concerned, then I'd wire your house for Ethernet an use a VoIP phone service.

  • I am hypersensitive to cell phones and computers/wifi. I use AT&T for my phone. They are killing me with a $70 month phone bill. I'm not real savvy on the techno and fearful of the energies being give off. Any way to keep my landline without AT&T?

    • You can use any internet provider with the VoIP options in the article.

  • Mr. Restauro,
    I just read your article on inexpensive home phone service options. I was very intrigued and then I started reading reviews on the service which tend to be negative. Do you think the bad reviews of their customer service are valid? I really want to get away from AT&T.

    • I personally haven't had an issue but I also have seen some poor reviews. That said, I find they are no worse than the reviews you typically see with a normal phone company. I find the issue usually lies in VOIP phone having to rely on an internet connection. Therefore, if the problem is really with the internet but it's affecting phone, the customer could take it out on the phone provider.

  • Hi, thank you for all this great information. Just a couple of hours ago I signed up for a bundle package from FIOS and I'm alreday regretting it. The install is in nine days, so Im hoping I can cancel w/o penalty. My question is for alarms and using a landline. An ADT alarm saved two of my kids lives a few years ago and the call it placed to the fire dept was via a hard landline. What are my low cost options to use with the alarm so that I can then just get internet service and cut the cable cord? thank you,

    • Simplisafe is a pretty well-known and established alarm brand, I recently set it up for my parents' house. It has built-in cell-phone service, so doesn't require any external phone connection--it provides its own. It's been really easy to use, it was pretty easy to setup, and my parents say that the call center at the company has been VERY responsive. They call to check at any unexpected signals...and will automatically call police/fire if you don't respond. I was rather impressed that they even had a water level sensor that you can place next to your water tank, in case it leaks...oh, and even better: they're half the cost of ADT.

    • Unfortunately you will likely have to go with local landline service in your area. I don't know of any low cost alarm options. It's something I'll not to look into though.

      • For alarms, Simplisafe is cheaper--and provides its own cell phone connection, no external phone service is required *at all*. It's also about half the cost of ADT. I've been really impressed. And for phone service, you completely neglected Ooma. I've had MagicJack, and I like Ooma far better...and it's a lot less expensive than anything else out there.

  • I've been using ObiHai over the internet for a few years now. Like Skype, there is no 911 support by default (free) but you can add that for a small monthly feee. Since the cell service isn't always reliable in the mountains I went with VOIP. --Pro: No Bill at all, good quality, no echos --Con: no power-no service

  • We have cell phones, but would also like to keep our landline (it's through Frontier), however, it costs us $55 a month (called ID, call waiting, etc) and we do not even use it for long distance calling. I've heard that options are available such as a device (base with an antenna) that runs off of a cell tower in your area which your landline phone plugs into. Sprint has that, I think. I need something inexpensive that provides called ID, call waiting, keeping your same phone number and also, having the incoming call number appear on your TV screen (we have DISH). Could you please suggest my best option? Thank you!