Voice over IP (VoIP) vs. regular phone service: VoIP is cheap or even free, but the quality is often poor, your computer needs to be on for it to work and you usually need a special headset. But consider the Ooma Telo
. (I know, silly name.) It’s a small box you plug into your Internet router. You then plug a regular corded or cordless phone into the Telo. Add 10 minutes of setup and you’re up and running, making calls on a regular phone. No PC required. And, once you buy the hardware, using the Telo is almost free. Users must pay a regulatory fee and a 911 fee; prices vary a little by region but amount to about $4 per month. Telo provides you with a new number or you can port an existing number for a one-time fee of $40. Calling in Canada is free and calling other countries is dirt cheap.
The voice quality is very good, but the system has one glitch: some toll-free numbers do not work, probably because the phone system thinks the caller is from outside Canada. The bug only affects some toll-free numbers and Ooma is working on the problem. Other than that, the Telo works well, and if you ditch your current phone service the Telo will pay for itself in five or six months.
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