Cell Phone Contracts Are a Thing of the Past

July 11, 2011 at 9:15 pm

Ditch your cell phone!

Your cell phone plan, that is.  Pay attention AT&T, the world is getting more connected.

One of the most challenging things about traveling is international roaming on your cell phone. Why can’t the phone companies all just get along?

As soon as I cross the border from Seattle to Vancouver, I will be forced onto another cell network and forced to pay double the price.

I’ve been starting to use my Google Voice number more often, which is a Seattle-based area code. It’s currently forwarding to my cell phone, but if I’m not available, it takes a message and sends me an email letting me know.

I open the Google Voice app on my phone or via web browser and find the voicemail has been transcribed to text!  It’s not 100% accurate, but I get the gist.  If I want to hear the message, I just hit the play button.

Pretty great stuff – I no longer have to pay an expensive telephone bill.  But, what if I’m out of the country and I can’t forward to my cell phone?

Google Voice only lets you forward to another US number.  How can I talk with anyone on my phone?

The best solution I’ve found, if you want to be ‘in the office’ and not force someone to leave a voicemail is to purchase a Skype online phone number.  For $60 / year and 2 cents / minute, I can be making and receiving phone calls to/from any US number from my own US Skype number.

Even for business lines, at Beer2Buds, we use RingCentral.  RingCentral allows you to get a toll free number and fax for $100/year.  You can forward your number, and/or any extension, to a cell phone or… a Google Voice or Skype number.

My last AT&T phone bill was nearly $200.  For around the same price, even though it’s less convenient (you need wifi, but that’s increasing every day – I even carry around a Clear modem when there’s no wireless but there is 3g/4g), you can still be ‘connected’.

Oh and I almost forgot to mention – SMS is such an integral part of our lives.  WithGoogle Voice, you can also send AND receive text messages!  And you don’t pay $19.99 / month like you will with AT&T.

This is a text message I got today that popped up on my phone from Google Voice.

The world is becoming more connected.  The cell phone giants will have to start playing fair or the growing VoIP services of the world will be the dominant players, which is already starting to happen.