Monday, May 9, 2016

Installing a Wireless Home Phone

For years we've supplied information about going totally wireless at home, and this week we helped a family member do just that.  He rents his apartment for part of the year and the management company requires a "fixed" phone hanging on the wall or the counter.  We happened to use the Straight Talk Wireless Home Phone, but you can also use replacements from AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Net10, Sprint, and some 3rd party suppliers. Straight Talk does indeed cut your phone bill in half...his monthly charge went from $32 to $16, including taxes and fees.

The model we used is the Straight Talk Huawei H223C ("C" as in CDMA) which is available at Walmart and directly from Straight Talk.  The "C" models use the Verizon Wireless network. Prices range from FREE to $50.  Our friend bought a new model at for $30 and then a backup refurbished unit for FREE for the price of a $15 refill card from Straight Talk.  Following the instructions in the box he was good to go within minutes. He filled the new phone with the refill card and set up Auto-Fill after that.  He started with a randomly-assigned number but later "ported" his wired line number to the new wireless box.  Straight Talk's customer service accomplished this fairly easily.

His tryout period gave him a chance to use the line like a short term renter with Call Forwarding and Voice Mail disabled.  Straight Talk was able to disable just those features and still allow Free Long Distance, Caller ID, Call Waiting, and 3-Way Calling.  After porting, his outgoing Caller ID changed from his billing name to just the calling location, another plus.

Overall, everything worked as planned.  Downsides include call quality that isn't quite as good as a landline, and when there is no answer, incoming callers hear, "The Verizon Wireless customer is not available..." which occurs after 30 seconds, or about 6 rings.  Who lets it ring more than 4 times?  The Huawei box is semi-hidden in a cabinet.  Most renters use their own cell phone but this option fulfills all the needs of the program and saves almost $200 a year.  We'll help you do all this at the Mountain Wireless Cut the Cord Page, with deals at the Moose Wireless Home Phone Page.

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