How to get a free landline phone using Google Voice

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Date: Tuesday, November 11th, 2014, 11:36
Category: Google, VOIP

OBiHai Obi100 VOIP device - Jason O'GradyI’ve previously written about the OBi100 from ObiHai, it’s a cool Voice Over IP (VOIP) device turns your Internet connection into a traditional telephone line, complete with dial tone.

I can almost hear you saying, “I cut the cord a long time ago, what on earth do a I need a landline telephone for?

As it turns out, a wireless phone can come in quite handy some times, especially in places where you spend a lot of time (like your home or office.) For example, I love using a cordless phone (and a corded boom headset, natch) when I’m working around the house, cooking, and making long phone calls to call centers.

Traditional landline phones are also great for when your iPhone battery dies, or you just can’t find it because it’s lost in the couch or a jacket.

What you don’t need is the outrageous monthly fee that the telephone company charges you for the privilege of providing you with dial tone service at your home or office. When I turned off my AT&T home telephone service a couple years ago, it was costing me around $50 per month, which is completely outrageous, of course.

Panasonic KX-TG6531 cordless phone

The Panasonic KX-TG6531 cordless phone.

Instead of paying ridiculous monthly fees, you can have a landline telephone for no monthly cost courtesy of the ObiHai + Google Voice solution (the Obi hardware will set you back $38 from Amazon). Simply plug the OBi100 into an Ethernet port on your cable modem and an old fashioned landline telephone into its RJ11 port and voila! Dial tone. Sure, it’s still VOIP at the end of the day, but the call quality is great, and most “landline” phone service is VOIP anyway.

The Obi100 itself isn’t magic (there are plenty of VOIP boxes out there). It’s the fact that the ObiHai hardware works with Google Voice, the free VOIP service from the big G and it turning your Google Voice number into a full-fledged landline phone number. I’ve been using this setup on and off for about two years and it’s pretty sweet.

ObiHai ran afoul of Google earlier this year by using undocumented APIs and Google blocked access to XMPP (effectively closing the loophole), but ObiHai announced in September 2014 that it worked with Google and was granted official access to Google Voice.

To make my life a little easier I ported my (long time) landline number to Google Voice. Although it’s impossible to port a landline directly to Google Voice, you can do it by porting to a cell carrier first, then porting from the cell carrier to GV. 

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2 Responses to “How to get a free landline phone using Google Voice”

  1. Can you port a magic jack line over to GV? I would love to not pay anything ever again!!

  2. Can calls to 911 services being made using this set up?