Saturday, October 21, 2006

A secret home phone in your pocket?

Thanks to Vonage, I thought internet phones are for volume users. But I was wrong.

I was looking for a cordless home phone with digital recorder, with caller ID to reject telemarketing calls. The no-call registry obviously don't work. The whole thing has to be tiny as I don't use it that much.

Then I came across those subsidized fully featured phones, just like subsidy from cell phone companies. It's from internet phone companies. Sunrocket has the $10 package with all features except for $3 for voice mail. There's the $15 package from Vonage for everything. It's 200 free anytime minutes for Sunrocket, then 3 cent after than globally. It's 500 for Vonage and similar charge after that but local, long distance and international are charged differently I think. Wow, just the neighborhood calls plus CID cost me more than the Vonage, no brainer. The internal calls are less than 1 cent more expensive than Skype, if you call a normal phone number from your computer. You can also port and keep your old number.

Now the secret part, with reference to Sunrocket. With $10 a month, it's as attractive as my secret cell number. If you want two phone lines, you have to buy two phones at the moment. But it's trivial to make some device to switch the lines using one phone. It's also not too difficult to hide you secret phone if necessary. Like many people, if you buy a few extensions for your cordless system, you cannot tell that there is a secret phone among them. Vonage has a Wi-fi phone, just like a cell phone. It's easier to put it in a secret place.

There are several nice features if you have some secrets. You can sign on with a credit card which could be those cash cards with no ID checks. You can buy the phones from retail stores using cash. You can have any area code you want. Actually you can use your phone anywhere with high speed internet connection! You can be in a motel and answer your calls as if you are at home. This will work for now as internet phones aren't not too popular. People aren't used to the idea yet. If you check the phone number online, it usually say it's a land line from some familiar carriers, not from Sunrocket. If you port, I would think it will still register as from your old carrier, just like my cell.

You can have a separate incoming phone number for just $3 a month. Ring tones, voicemails etc are all separate, but when you call out, it will show your main number. It can still be OK as it's very common to call someone on published untraceable prepaid numbers, but they will call back immediately with a blocked number, which maybe a high volume cell plan, or land line.

Other nice features are online voice mail and call logs.

If you have Wi-fi, you don't need to install anything if you buy the Wi-fi phone. If you have a router or a wireless router, you can buy a special phone and just plug it into the router. If you want to use ordinary phones, you need an adapter, one side for the cable modem or router, the other side for your phone/fax/recorder. The adapters or the phones are usually routers so you can just plug your computer in. Some older fax standards won't work, and security system auto dial system won't work.

Once I was in transit in Miami. There are plenty of waiting rooms with big screen TV's. Most of them are empty. I saw a football program that gave me an idea. I immediately made an international call with my cell. So CID is out of the question. Being next to the TV, it gave the illusion of me being at home.

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