If you call long distance regularly using a land line, you probably pay too much for your phone bill. If you normally rely on your cellular phone, you are probably wasting the $20-plus each month that you are spending for a land line that is only used when telemarketers call. Here are some ideas for cutting down the amount you spend on your phone bill each month.
For people who still want a land line and do not want to venture into the world of internet phones and Skype, it still may be possible to get cheap phone service…if you have cable TV and internet service. Major internet and cable providers often offer phone service as well. Almost all of them offer bundles that include phone, internet and cable. This means that you can reduce the price for each of the three services slightly. Of course, with all the tools available on the internet (see below), it is not necessary to bother with a landline if the price isn’t right.
MagicJack is one of the most popular internet phone services, if only because of its TV advertising campaign and its widespread availability. The device plugs into a computer’s USB port and can be used with any modern phone. The MagicJack is not a phone (any phone can be used), but the USB device that contains the software that allows users to place calls over the internet. This is a very cheap way to have a phone number. However, users are not able to “port” their home phone number to their MagicJack phone. There have been hundreds of other criticisms as well, ranging from privacy issues to issues about customer support.
You can try porting your home phone number to your cell phone (change your cell phone number to the home phone number). If you do this, your home phone will stop working but you will not have to pay for service (you should make sure you are not under any contract with the phone company before doing this). Unlimited cell plans are becoming more popular and cheaper for cell phones. You can even choose a prepaid provider and not have to pay for more minutes than you use. If you are like most people, though, you use your cell phone often, even at home. Why not cut your land line out of the equation… you might not even miss it. If you want to keep your home and cell numbers separate, consider getting a prepaid phone and porting your home phone number to it while continuing to use your cell phone. Some smaller prepaid companies offer yearlong packages for little more than $100.
Vonage is a company that offers cheap unlimited or high-limit phone plans for use over a standard internet connection. This can lead to big time savings, although it is only a viable option if you have a strong internet connection. If you have a poor connection or slow speeds, call quality will also be poor and service spotty, at best.
Skype takes an internet-centered approach to calling. There are no phones, per se. Users can contact any other Skype user for free. It is possible to voice and video chat. Equipment usually consists of a headset or speakers and a microphone. This is not ideal for those who want a traditional land line replacement, but several Skype features make it more viable than it first appears. You can call any land line or cell phone for three dollars per month and can receive calls for an additional $5 per month. These fees cover calls to the US and Canada only, but there are also calling cards and plans for international calls as well. Skype also has smart-phone applications, though they only work with a direct wi-fi connection, not with a regular data plan from your cell phone company.
Needless to say, there are some great alternatives to paying $20 or more per month for a traditional land line. All you have to do is choose the approach that is best for you.