Monday, November 19, 2012

Mobile and Wired Phones Can Work Togehter

Last week we discussed the option of giving up a hard wired telephone line for your home or small business and installing a system that uses a cellular network.  That system uses a special device that connects all your existing wired and cordless phones with the cellular network.  The big difference is that your connection to the outside world is through a wireless carrier rather than hard wired through Ma Bell.  You maintain a separate telephone number for your home.

There is another similar system that might be a good choice for some.  This system uses a special docking device that allows your existing mobile phone to serve as the outside connection for home phones.  It allows your mobile phone to be charged while at the same time providing an outside connection for all your existing phones located throughout the house.  So when you come home you just dock your mobile phone and any calls incoming or outgoing are handled by the traditional wired phones.  

The system described last week allowed you to keep both a mobile number and a “home” number.  This system uses only one number, your mobile number, no matter if you are at home or on the road.  The benefit of one number is reduced monthly cost.   One number is less expensive than two.

There are other advantages such as using the free long distance offered by most mobile carriers.  Also, if you are on a protracted call, the old style handset on a wired phone is more comfortable to hold to your ear than a cell phone.

Before you make the switch you need to know that there are some drawbacks to going with only a cellular service for your home or small business.  You can’t use a fax or credit card terminal with this service.  Some emergency notification services like those for the elderly or disabled are not supported.  Home security alarms also can’t be connected to the system. And, of course, you must get a good signal from the cellular carrier.

Perhaps one of the biggest disadvantages is that with only one telephone number you can’t, as many of us do, keep your mobile number somewhat protected.  For example I don’t freely give out my mobile number so I don’t get unwanted calls.  Even as careful as I am, I still get robocalls and solicitations for vacations on my mobile.  I don’t want more.

Since you are using an existing mobile account there is no incremental monthly cost unless you go over your allotted minutes.  There is a one-time purchase of the interface device.  These begin at about $30 and go up to about $150 depending on the features.  The more expensive models have battery back up, separate internal voice mail and caller ID displays.  You can find various models at local electronic stores and on line.

Again these options are not for everyone.  For those who have already jettisoned their land line, this option might be worth a second look.

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