Portable wireless WI/Fi and Phone service
(Clearwater, Fl USA)
I don't have actual experience doing this.. but, I am thinking of going OTR again (I drove for 10 years.. have been off the road for the last 5yrs)... and I have thought about using Wireless Wi/Fi from a major Cellular provider like Sprint, Verizon, T-mobile etc.. and then a regular home phone connected to Ooma which is a VOIP device that has a basic nationwide plan for FREE... no subscription and a FEE based plan (about $10 per month) which would add caller ID, Call Fwd, and a number of other additional phone add ons... if this would work it would be only about $200 for the initial cost of the device.. and if I wanted those extras it would be about $120 per year.
-----Response from Vicki:
Thanks for sharing your idea. If I may, let us
unpack what is it I think you're describing here.
Basically, there are two charges involved:
1. wireless Internet service (or mobile broadband) and
2. phone service.
There are at least a couple of popular options for wireless Internet service for truckers:
- mobile broadband through a completely portable device (dependent upon connectivity/reception and one's data plan) and
- fixed service such as through IdleAir or WiFi service at a truck stop or other location.
Using a free WiFi service comes with risks of hacking, so from that perspective alone, a paid service may work better.
All paid mobile broadband services we know of have data caps. Once a user exceeds the data cap, overage charges apply.
Next, there is telephone service. We had never heard of Ooma until you wrote about it. However, it sounds somewhat similar to Magic Jack (another VOIP or Voice
Over Internet Protocol service).
The only time we've ever used Magic Jack was when we were sitting still and our laptop was connected to a land-based WiFi service. The quality of our call was good but that's because the WiFi service was good. The quality of one's VOIP connection will, I'm pretty certain, depend on the quality of one's Internet connection.
In researching information about Ooma on their website, there appears to be at least one big difference between them and Magic Jack: cost. Readers may want to review:
for more information.
The other options for telephone service include
1. prepaid cell phone service (like a TracFone
2. contract cell phone service through an cell phone service provider.
We intend to cover the subjects of wireless communications on our site separately. However, we do recommend that our readers take the time to compare service plans (data caps, etc.), specifications, contract periods and costs.
How much data is consumed on a wireless Internet plan through VOIP phone calls, I wonder? How many KB, MB or GB per minute would be consumed on one's mobile broadband plan?
Also, while Mike and I rarely send text messages, we know that many people have come to rely on them. If you use a phone that has no data-receiving ability and you're used to it, this could be a problem.
If you go back on the road and you use Ooma, would you please review the service
for our site? We would be interested in knowing the pros and cons for our readers.
Finally, if you go back on the road, we wish you safe travels and lots of money saving opportunities.