Phones and landlines in Canada are an expensive bill to pay every month. I have recently ditched our monthly home phone bill (about $40 per month) and have used a combination of Google Voice, FreePhoneLine.ca, and an Obihai device (adapter you plug in to your router to use your regular phone) to pay nothing per month!
I wanted to write this because I think most Canadians pay too much for their phone bills but having a phone is necessary to have. Even a basic landline with Rogers costs $30 a month (we called yesterday) and with our setup we pay absolutely nothing each month!
Here are the steps in the process on ditching your home phone bill:
1. Sign up for Google Voice
This is a free service offered by Google to United States Google users and using this service you can make free calls across Canada and USA.
This is not available for Canadians, but here are the steps on how to get a free Google Voice phone number in Canada.
- Register for a new Callcentric account that allows you to receive free phone calls and gives you a US free phone number that you need to register for Google Voice (they want to verify that you are a US resident). Remember to just register for an account that allows you to receive calls (you do not need to have a US address or 911 information and is free)!
- To set up a Google Voice account, Google needs to see that you are connecting from a US IP address. Here is a tool I use to check my ip address. I recommend using a 7-day free trial of HotSpotShield, which is a free download available here and allows you to connect via US proxy server and you can connect as a US citizen.
- At this point, set up a new Google account or tie it to an existing gmail address. Once you have logged in to your Google account and go to voice.google.com and verify your phone number.
- Use any free softphone software to receive the Google Voice verification call on your home computer (Windows and Mac software available).
- Congratulations, you now will have a Google Voice number to use in Canada!
2. Sign up with FreePhoneLine.ca
This is what is required to get a free Canadian home phone number. Before I move forward, you can receive a free phone number most places and cities in Canada. Here is a link to their availability.
I signed up for a new 778 area code for BC. To port your current number, verify with FreePhoneLine.ca if your number can be ported (this is a $25 fee – pretty standard).
Another thing is that to use this with an ATA device (described below), you will need to pay a $50 (one-time fee) to authenticate your phone with the device.
My recommendation is to sign up for their free service and test out the quality and the service (maybe it is not for you). Try calling some friends and family long distance and simulate the experience before going ahead to purchase the porting and authentication and the obihai device below (just need a microphone and their free software to get this working).
3. Get an ObiHai device
This device is so easy to setup! Simply register your device
The setup wizards supports Google Voice and Free Phone Line and the setup takes less than 15 minutes. I recommend looking for the Obihai OBi100 VoIP Gateway on Amazon.com and look closely at the shipping. You can purchase on the Amazon.ca store (more expensive). I paid $40 for this device in the US and shipped it to a hotel I was staying at.
So, there you go – how to get a free landline in Canada! It is well worth and the money we save we can put towards savings or an RESP or use as fun money!
Please, let me know in the comments below if you are planning on cutting your phone cord. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.