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things I break/fix for fun and learning

Dec 13, 2017 - 3 minute read - Comments

Ditching Traditional Cellphone Plans and Replacing it with VoIP for Voice and SMS

It’s been a while since I’ve added a new entry to this site, mainly because of the time I’m putting in reviewing for RHCSA. I’m almost done with one of the key areas of the exam, and there are 7 more to go!

I’d like to put a write up how I utilize VoIP for day to day communication needs.

Little bit background -

I live in Canada and the telco market is dominated by the expensive big 3 - Rogers, Bell and Telus. There are sub-players like Virgin Mobile, Koodoo, Chattr etc etc that are cheaper counter parts of the big 3.

The cheapest plan from the big 3 is $25 bring your own device which includes 150mins Canada-wide incoming / outgoing calls and 50 text messages and no data. Here in Canada, incoming call is not free, it gets deducted from your free mins. And I need data for google maps, I can’t live without a data plan! If you opt for 1Gb data, the price jumps to $75 per month!

The cheapest plan from the subplayers is $45 bring your own device which includes 500mins incoming / outgoing calls, unlimited text messages and 500MB data. It makes sense that instead of going for the big 3, go for the subplayers as it is cheaper. And the subplayers also use the main network from the big 3.

Do the math - $45 annually is $540!!!

But with VoIP, it is just a fraction of the cost. Cheapest data only plan is $15 per month. And cheapest VoIP provider is $25.

With VoIP, I get free SMS by joining their beta test program and calls are just 0.009cents per min, billed in 6sec intervals! So if my call only lasted for 15seconds, I don’t get to pay the whole 0.009cents per minute but only 0.0027! Even if I don’t use up all my minutes, the $25 still carries over until it is fully depleted, unlike traditional cellphone plans wherein you are obliged to pay month per month even if you barely used the service. And with my usage pattern and with how cheap the per minute rate is, I can confidently say that $25 will go a very long way, optimistically Im looking for 10-12months! That would be savings of at least $300 annually!

I’ve been using VoIP for more than a year now, and how I wish the idea sinked in and able to use it as soon as I landed here in Canada. In my 1 year of using it, communication was never an issue. There is always LTE data signal whenever I travel by bus, and when I reach home / office I can turn on wifi or still use data. There are certain public wifi hotspots like the Mississauga Library, Starbucks and McDonalds that block the ports that VoIP use to communicate, so no choice but to use data. With my 3Gb data plan, I barely reach 2Gb so data is not an issue.

On my next write up, I’ll include the steps on what I did to make VoIP work on my normal Android cellphone. I’m also tempted to get those Cisco 7940 / 7960s so that I can have a VoIP landline at home! I already found a good deal online, I can get two Cisco phones and create a mini-PBX at home!

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