I have a cell phone and use Magic Jack for 95% of my calls free to Canada and USA … Roy

Back to Roseman: Pros, cons of Internet phone service **Roseman: Pros, cons of Internet phone service **

November 13, 2011
Ellen Roseman

Thinking about giving up that landline? You could save up to $500 a year.
I didn’t know about the popularity of low-cost Internet-based home phone services until I wrote about Ooma Inc., a U.S. provider coming to Canada with top ratings from Consumer Reports magazine.
Last week’s column prompted people to tell me about service providers they used that were cheaper and better than Ooma (or so they said). and were the names that came up most often. But I also heard about, and
A publicist sent me a Nettalk Duo device, whose $79.95 price includes service for one year. Afterward, you pay $39.95 a year for unlimited local and long-distance calling to Canada and the United States.
I also heard many questions about using Internet-based home phones.
Does the Ooma service allow you to receive collect calls? Unfortunately not, said spokeswoman Fiona Cassidy.
“That’s a deal-breaker for me,” said one parent. “With an offspring who works as a travelling musician, we like to keep as many avenues of contact open as possible.”
Do you still need a phone line if you use Bell’s Internet service, which comes to your home through a phone line?
No, Cassidy said. You can use Bell Fibe’s dry loop system, which gives you a dummy home phone with a number. However, you don’t pay for the phone or use it to make calls.
Your Bell bills may rise when you detach Internet and home phone service (because of bundle discounts). But the savings on Ooma (which costs about $4 a month after you buy a $230 adapter) will more than offset that increase.
What about the risk of losing phone service if the electricity goes down?
Regular phone lines keep working during power outages. But alternative phone services stop working because they rely on your Internet connection, which requires power.
“Yes, a landline is expensive, but what about the value of 24-7 access to health-care providers, fire or ambulance service?” said another reader.
“You can use your cellphone for a while. But having been in eastern Ontario during the 1998 ice storm and without power for almost three weeks, I found you do need an alternative way to charge your phone.”
Look for a cellphone with lots of battery power, advises Carmi Levy, an independent technology analyst. You can also invest in a solar-powered or windup cellphone charger.
Finally, what happens if you have an Internet-based home phone and you call 911 in an emergency?
In a well-known tragedy in 2008, an 18-month-old child died in Calgary after paramedics rushed to the family’s former home in Mississauga, Ont.
The parents didn’t complete the emergency call, so the operators used the last known address on file.
“Traditional landlines can only be associated with a single physical address,” explains Mark Foxwell, director of information systems at Inc.
An advantage of an Internet-based phone system is that it’s portable and can be used wherever a network connection is found.
If you call 911, you address isn’t sent automatically to the public safety answering point. But the Internet-based provider will call you back to get your address and dispatch the appropriate service.
“We understand the importance of this potential shortcoming,” Foxwell said. “We’re working on a feature that will automatically ask you if you’d like to change your emergency contact information when you update your billing address.”
If you’re thinking of switching to an Internet-based home phone service, check out user reviews online, Levy says.
Is the sound quality as good as that of a conventional phone line? Watch for complaints about dropped calls, delays and muddiness.
And if you’re worried about power outages and 911 emergency calls, contact the Internet phone provider and ask questions. Read the terms and conditions of the contract as well.
You can save up to $500 a year giving up your conventional landline phone. But you do give up some convenience, which you should know about before you switch.
Ellen Roseman writes about personal finance and consumer issues. You can reach her at

I’ve been for years and I believe it leaves Skype in the dust! There’s a mobile application that I consistently use on my IPhone4 (Wi-Fi) and it works great! Ma Bell does not make too much money with me.

I’ve used the Shaw internet home for the last 4-5 years. 1000 minutes per month no extra fee for calls anywhere in North Amercia. Cost is 55.00 per month.

What do you guys think about UberConference which provides visual phone conferencing services? It is the winner of TechCrunch’s debut 2012 and is invented by Craig Walker of Google voice.

Requires you to “share” all your social media files and works on a point system. Not for me.


Hi Buddy.
Welcome home.

A INACHI member introduced me to Magic Jack now I use magic Jack plus. works great…
$69.00 for 5 years.

Talked to John Acaron in Flla. this morning to discuss an issue in his report.
Recommend for INACHI users.
Thanks Roy.