Digital? Not for me!

Written on February 17, 2009 at 10:52 pm
Filed under: Reviews

A few months back, my parents decided to opt for a digital internet phone. It’s not the same thing as Skype and it’s the same as a ‘regular’ phone line, but there are a lot of distinct disadvantages and advantages to it.

Pros:

  • It is $20 less expensive (~$10/month) than the company we were using before (for the last 19 years…) for the landline.
  • The service comes with caller ID (a service that we previously didn’t have).
  • The service comes with nationwide calling (international isn’t too bad either).

Cons:

  • It’s connected to the internet – when there’s a power outage, the phones will not work and we are left with only cell phones.
  • It’s connected to the internet – when someone is on the phone, the internet speed will lapse (not for me though, just for one of the desktop computers).
  • It doesn’t always work, example #1 – I tried calling home and got a “This number has been disconnected.” message.
  • It doesn’t always work, example #2 – I tried calling home and while I was not moving around at all (signal strength was full for my cell phone), my dad kept on cutting in and out.
  • It doesn’t always work, example #3 – My dad tried calling the bank this morning, he could get through, but the person on the other end couldn’t hear him and he resorted to using my cell phone to place the call.
  • It doesn’t always work, example #4 – The calls keep on dropping. Constantly.
  • We couldn’t carry over the old number (you know, the one that we’ve used for everything that we’ve ever signed up for?).

We only kept both lines going for about 2 weeks. 2 weeks was obviously not enough time to judge if the new service was on par with the other one. The first issue that we had (when I got the ‘This number has been disconnected message’ when trying to call the new number) occured 4 days after we canceled our landline service. 4 days! My sister and I both agree that the period of overlap should have been a lot longer. At least one month, due to the fact that we could have noticed a lot of these issues during tha time frame. While there’s some great pros to getting a digital internet phone service (like it costs about $10 a month!), it’s not worth all the dropped calls and the fact that it just doesn’t work part of the time. And this is really just a review for the one company that we tried (they were having a promotion, of course my parents jumped at it). Personally, I think we should have just sticked with the other service for a longer period of time. Or just sticked with them, period. I know there’s a lot of digital internet phone companies out there and I’m sure a lot of them are really great – but so far my experiences have not been good at all. Honestly, I think my parents should have done a lot more research into it instead of just taking my aunt and uncle’s word for the fact that it was “really good service”.

Questions:
1. What kind of phone company do you use? (Regular landline? Digital? Don’t have a home phone?)
2. What kind of issues have you had with it? (If digital.)
3. How much does your family pay (per month) for all the phone services used? (Cell phones included.)

My answers:
1. Digital… Unfortunately.
2. Read above.
3. ~$10 for digital, $10 for my sister’s pay-as-you-go cell phone, $36 for my cell phone (3 year term contract, whoot?) = $56/month (CAD)

11 Responses to “Digital? Not for me!”

  1. Aimee says:

    I don’t have a digital phone, I don’t think they do those over here so much. But we’re with Virgin and it costs us £20 a month for phone and broadband (including free evening and weekend calls). Its very very cheap, and overall its been fine.. apart from the period of time where you’d pick up the phone.. call someone (although it happened if someone called you too) and you’d get a second like dial tone.. you’d be speaking to the person for about 30 secs with no problem.. and then you’d suddenly hear sounds like someone was pressing numbers.. then it would sound like it was dialing.. and then you’d jump away from the phone because it let a really high pitched screech go off in your ear.. Now I don’t get any signal on my mobile in our flat so it was virtually impossible to call Virgin to sort it.. plus the woman in india couldn’t understand what I was on about.. until she called the home phone and got the screeching. They never came and sorted it, insisting it was the actual phone (creating a second line all by itself…) and it fixed itself after a while..

    So regular landlines can be a pain the bum too.

  2. Cody says:

    We have a landline we’re thinking of getting rid of to save money, and looked into digital. (T-Mobile, to be exact.) I was concerned about all the things you just mentioned… bad connecting, slow internet, and especially not having a phone during a power outage. Maybe they’ll improve it… but, right now it just seems so inconvenient.

  3. Caity says:

    That’s interesting. I’d definitely consider a digital phone line at some point. When we first start out, we’ll probably only have cellular phones and use Skype to talk over the internet to people overseas. It’s definitely something to think about in the future, especially if your internet is stable.

    I live with my parents currently and only have my own celluar phone, but I’ll answer for their phone upstairs.
    1. Cable phones. It’s one of those packages that has TV, internet, and phone all in one and they’re all connected to the modem and cable.
    2. Our internet is very stable and we are happy with it. We’ve lost our phone about twice in 3 years.
    3. TV, internet, and phone are all $29.95 per month as long as we have all 3 in the same contract. We have super fast internet, hundreds of channels with on demand TV, and good phone service.

  4. nichole says:

    We don’t have phone service at home anymore. it was 30 bucks a month for BASIC phone. nothing included. the only reason we really had it is because i had dial up internet. so i was paying 40 bucks a month for basic internet! so we got verizon broadband for 20 bucks more. i can take it anywhere and its faster :) david has a pay as you go cell, and my mom pays for mine. so we don’t really need a home phone

  5. Dane says:

    1. I think it’s a regular landline…? o_O
    2. N/A 😀
    3. I don’t know about our home phone since we rarely use it now. But altogether, our cell phone bill is usually a little over $230.

  6. Georgina says:

    Hurk! How dodgy. I’ve never heard of anyone’s experiences with a digital phone, or how good/bad they are. Having another line.. for anything, is annoying. We had one for our fax machine and it caused us hell. People kept sending faxes to the wrong one.. things like that. And it ended up getting really expensive when we hardly used our fax machine. So in the end we used the same number. It’s still crap because after 7 rings, or when we can’t pick up the phone quick enough, the person gets directed to the fax machine and gets this annoying sound. Oh well..

    All those problems with the digital sound awful. And it doesn’t sound very worth it either. My parents take advantage of promotions. And we got sucked into this stupid contract for our internet (only 11 months left.. *faint*).. and the internet is sucky. Our provider was voted by a magazine as best service.. BULL.

    1. What kind of phone company do you use?
    Regular landline
    2. What kind of issues have you had with it?
    NA
    3. How much does your family pay (per month) for all the phone services used?
    Er.. not sure. There’s $50 for the internet.. and probably another $20 for mobile phones and landline calls? And that doesn’t count my mum spending money for overseas phone cards..

  7. Jenna says:

    We have a lan line. No issues except our service sucks. No long distance only voice mail and local calls

    $30 for the lan line. I don’t think it’s worth it

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