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Posted: 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cheap options for home phone service

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By Clark Howard

ClarkHoward.com


What are you paying for home phone service? There's a way you could lower that bill to $15 a month.

People who love their home phones often love them because they're so reliable in a storm or power outage. However, that could be about to change.

AT&T is doing a test where they're converting home phone service in South Florida and areas of Alabama to either Internet or wireless home phone service.

That means the phones will not work for long when the power's out.  The initial phase of this "test" will be voluntary. But the intention of AT&T is to shut off old-fashioned Alexander Graham Bell kind of phones and switch everything to Internet or wireless. So the outcome of the test is already determined!

Since AT&T obviously doesn't value this service, why are you spending so much for it?

I've long talked about Ooma, a highly rated Internet phone service that costs around $129 at Costco. Once you purchase the unit, you just pay monthly FCC pass-through junk fees of about $3 or $4 a month; no more expensive phone bill ever again! I've had an Ooma for more years than I can remember and it works flawlessly. Note: This requires a high-speed Internet connection.

But if you don't want to do that, there is service that runs on the Verizon backbone called Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone. I've been testing this service for a year now. It works perfectly and I pay $15 a month for unlimited local and long distance calling. As for reliability, I have never had even a minute's hiccup.

Right now, the Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone device is on sale for $79. You plug it into the wall and do a setup on the computer that takes about a minute or so, and then you have dial tone. You can even port your existing number over. After that, this device is *not* Internet dependent at all.

Read more about the Wireless Home Phone here.

One thing to note: Anything I try, I buy. I am unbought and unbossed. I accept no freebies from any company. So when I'm telling you about something, you know you're getting my unvarnished opinion; my responsibility is to you and your wallet alone.

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