Many home based business owners are on the search for an inexpensive dedicated phone line for their business. Two of the most popular options are Skype and Google Voice.
Like most new business owners, my funds are limited. I previously had a home phone number through Time Warner, which I never used. The only reason I had it was because it was cheaper to buy the triple play package than just cable TV and internet. When I was terminated from my full time job in October 2011, I also canceled my cable TV and phone, but kept the internet service so I could continue to look for a job, but mostly I kept the cable modem because I can’t live without the internet. At that point, I began developing my home based business and decided that using my cell phone number as my business number would not do. After some extensive searching I settled on either Skype for Business or Google Voice. At first I was a bit dismayed thinking that I would need to buy a head set to connect to my computer to use with either service provider, which of course meant that I would have to leave my computer running to be able to accept the call; but after more digging I realized that Skype sells cordless phones which can be directly connected to a router. I was going to purchase their GE Digital Cordless Telephone which at $89.99 comes with 12 months of unlimited calling in the USA and Canada and 200 minutes of international calls. I thought great! My sister lives in Canada and my parents live in Colombia, this sounds ideal. Then I looked into how much it would cost to get an online Skype phone number, it’s $6.30 per month, and to get voicemail, it’s another $2.10 per month. Ok, $8.40 per month doesn’t sound bad for a new number for my business, but I decided to keep searching just in case I found a better deal.
I looked into buy google accounts again and while I thought it looked appealing, I didn’t like that I would have to be signed into Gmail to accept the phone call and, once again, would have to leave the computer on to even be able to receive the phone call. After some Google searching for Google Voice cordless phones (because if Skype sells cordless phones, then Google would too, right?) and not finding any, I came upon an Amazon link to a little device called an Obihai100. Obi100 works with VoIP services like Google Voice and SIP. The Obihai is connected to your router and you can connect any cordless phone you want to the Obihai, which means you don’t have to leave your computer running all the time. After spending a few days reading reviews, I decided this was a good product to take into consideration. If you’re looking for something that supports an analog line to a traditional home telephone network, take a look at the Obi110.
Let’s do a little bit of a price comparison: a Google Voice phone number is free, a Skype phone number is $6.30 a month; Google Voice voicemail is free (and the message is transcribed and emailed to you), Skype voicemail is $2.10 per month; Obihai100 is a one time purchase of about $43.99 through Amazon; Skype’s GE Digital Cordless phone is $89.99; Google Voice calls to the USA and Canada are free; Skype calls to the USA or Canada are 2.3 cents a minute.
Obihai100 with Google Voice is the winner. As a new business owner, I have limited funds available so I felt this was the best option for me. A few months ago Google released a statement claiming that Google Voice will remain free through 2012. After receiving my Obihai (which is TINY by the way) and connecting it to my cordless phone and router, I placed a couple of test calls and I’m pretty pleased with the quality.
If you’re someone on a budget like me, need a new phone number and have a cordless phone laying around that you haven’t used in a while, take a look at the Obihai100. You’ll be impressed.