Do I really need $24.99/mo home phone service?

I just looked up my phone bill and realized that the $24.99 unlimited service plan I have is not adequate for me any more given all the recent advancements in wireless data communication and subsequent increased cell phone use. I get my service via 8x8 (former Packet8), a VOIP telephony company that picked up many of the SunRocket’s customers (myself included) after the company went bankrupt in 2007.

Even back then $24.99 wasn’t such a bargain and now considering this is what Vonage (a heavy lifer in VOIP world) charges for unlimited service, one can surely find a better deal, especially if they are willing to give up the ‘unlimited’ part of it. At least this is the kind of assumption I made before I went on my bounty hunt last week. A couple of days later and I am happy to report that my assumption was correct and so far it looks like I will be switching my service.

Why $24.99/mo is an overkill

  • First of all, I use my cell phone more than I use my home phone these days. My home number is sort of a legacy I am carrying with me. At one point I even considered abandoning my phone number altogether but it turned out no so easy to do. Too many people and businesses have it and to make things worse some businesses still require a registered home number for verification purposes and so terminating it would be a disaster. Either way I am not ready yet to take on the challenge.
  • Second, companies like Vonage and Packet8 take you by convenience. They will send a pre-configured phone adapter and absorb the equipment expense just to get you on the hook. If you have a bit of a DIY skill you can save yourself some $$ by taking the initial hit (and by exploring some less known providers). Can you do it? If you ever configured a wireless router yourself and you felt comfortable doing so then the answer is ‘yes’ because the skill set required from you is not much different.

What I am going to do about it

Here is my plan so far and I know it works because one of my friends went this route.

  • Buy a VOIP Ethernet adapter (e.g. this Linksys 2102) and sign up for a Pay Per Call account at CallCentric. There is no setup or monthly fee (except $1.50 charge for 911 service). All I will be paying is 1.98 cent per minute for US domestic calls and very competitive international rates (9.35 cent per minute to Ukraine). This will give me plenty of time to test the service quality before I make the final step.
  • Transfer my current phone number to CallCentric and will start receiving phone calls as well ($1.95 per month extra if you use Pay per Minute plan). Comparing this to what I currently have, $24.99 will last me over 1000 minutes per month and if I talk less (which is the exactly my case) then I will save $$.

What do you think? Will this work? Any details I am missing? Any alternative providers to consider? There is an open question I need to clarify - will two VOIP adapters (the new for CallCentric and the old I have from 8x8) work on the same network while I test the service.

See also:

5 Responses to “Do I really need $24.99/mo home phone service?”

  1. 1 Jessica Jun 9th, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    I have been using CallCentric for several months now with no problems. I do an unlimited incoming and pay-per-call outgoing.

    If you can gain administrative privileges to you Packet8 adapter, you can configure it for CallCentric.

    The two adapters should work because they talk to different networks and ring different phone numbers.

  2. 2 Yan Jun 10th, 2009 at 12:19 am

    I still have my old SunRocket adapter somewhere. I will try to use it first since I want to keep Packet8 for some time while I transition to CallCentric

  3. 3 TheDude Jun 21st, 2009 at 10:02 pm

    Why don’t you try MagicJack? No monthly fees and a small upfront cost. Or Ooma, free calls forever but a high upfront cost. Or Skype, free around the world to other Skype users and low per call costs to cellphones and landlines.

  4. 4 Jerry Jul 6th, 2009 at 6:01 pm

    Check out reviews at

    The “VOIP tech chat” forum there is very helpful too

  5. 5 Yan Jul 7th, 2009 at 3:42 am

    I just unlocked by old SunRocket gizmo using the instructions here:

    and signed up for a CallCentric account. Next step is to port my number

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