Monday, June 10, 2013

Same Home Phones - Minus Ma Bell

We noted the move of millions of households to all-wireless phones when we created The Unwired Home web site several years ago.  It was shortly thereafter that we moved Mom into assisted living and equipped her with a nice, simple wireless phone.  She said she appreciated the snazzy features that came with it, but she never overcame the idea that she thought she missed a bunch of calls from family when she was actually just looking at the old calls list.

My sister decided the technical questions were dominating the conversations, so she broke down and paid AT&T for a good old fashioned land line with Mom's old favorite desk phone with the oversize push buttons.  Mom didn't miss any of the cellular features and the topics returned to family and dinner and friends...and not the phone.

Then I discovered the joy of the Wireless Home Phone. It's a box offered by 3 of the top 4 carriers and some of the major Prepaids.  Mom still gets to use her Big Button phone, but the cord now goes to a box with an antenna, hidden elsewhere in the room.  Mom is none the wiser and all her calls are toll-free. She even figured out Call Waiting, and how to ignore it if she wants, too.

These new boxes are super easy to set up and save a lot of bucks if you are switching from a landline, plus you get all the features available with a normal cell phone.  This is big step in converting older family members to all-wireless.  They take it personally if they have to give up those kitchen and cordless phones they've invested in over the years.  And the learning curve is about zero unless they want to play with all those new, included features. Monthly fees range from $10 to $20 per month and the wireless "box" can be free with a contract or purchased without a contract for less than $100.  We also found a family who owns a vacation home that was remodeled and found the old phone wiring was dead (cut by careless contractor or sloppy homeowner).  Their new wireless box hidden in the closet brought all the wiring in the condo back to life...and for a lot less money.

We have a page just for these Wireless Home Phone Systems and now that Straight Talk and NET10 offer their own non-contract version of the device, we now have choices in what we think is a useful market.  I don't think I'll be caught walking around the house without my regular cell phone in my pocket, but Mom & Dad just might think it's the 'cat's pajamas'.

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