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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

What Does 40 Bucks and an OBi Device Buy in 2014?

Update 2 from Obihai on 9/11/14: Google Voice Now Officially Supported with OBi Devices
Update 1 from Obihai on 3/18/14: OBiTALK Approved Service Provider Program 

- 12/31/13 Article -

A Full-Year of an Affordable and Amazingly Powerful Home Phone Solution

Obihai would like to share what’s been going on since our last article about the impending end, in May, of XMPP-based calling using the Google Voice™ service.

Innovation and Partnership
We have some exciting and important news to share with you, which we believe will further enhance the value and flexibility that comes with an OBi VoIP device.  Over the past several months, our engineers have been working on extending the OBiTALK cloud-configuration API to third-party Internet Telephony Service Providers (ITSPs).  Via this secure configuration and programming interface, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) VoIP services will be even easier to set-up and use on Obihai products.  Along with the engineering work, we have also been in discussions with several of our ITSP partners on plans to transition existing Google Voice + OBi customers.  We wanted to make sure that OBi users retained the power to leverage a BYOD service from a participating ITSP, keeping intact a full-featured phone service that can be used as a primary or secondary phone line for homes or small businesses.

Coming Soon to
In a few weeks, we will announce the first ITSP partnership with specifics about the service, features and a price that will delight current OBi users and drive many more people to use an OBi and a BYOD VoIP service with their broadband Internet connection.

Here is what we expect to provide OBi customers in cooperation with our ITSP partner.  OBi device owners will be able to sign-up for a voice service plan provided by the ITSP, for as little as $39.99 a YEAR.   That’s only $3.33 per month!  Included in the plan will be; a new phone number, a set-number of outbound calling minutes, unlimited inbound calling, E911 emergency service calling, telemarketer blocking, and many call features like voicemail, caller ID, 3-party conference calls, call waiting, etc.  And by the way, this low price will include all taxes and fees associated with the service.

Your Google Voice Number
If you want to keep using your Google Voice (GV) number, there are two ways to do this:

1.  You can sign-up for an ITSP account with a new number, like the $40/year service described above, and use this number in your Google Voice account’s “forward calls to” phone settings.  Calls to your GV number will be automatically forwarded to your ITSP account number, and the phone connected to the OBi will ring.  Calls from the OBi can be dialed normally and you will have the option to have the ITSP send your GV number as your calling number, e.g. the number that appears as the caller ID on phone of the party you call.

2.  You can port your GV number to an ITSP service provider, like the $40/year service described above.  There is a $3 fee paid to Google to port-out the number and there may be a fee from the ITSP  for porting-in the number.  Once your GV number is ported to the ITSP, all inbound and outbound calling is provided by the ITSP.

Maintain Control and Optimize Your Investment
Unlike ‘locked’ devices from other VoIP companies, unlocked Obihai VoIP devices can be used with a multitude of services.  This protects your investment in the OBi device and gives you the most flexibility and choice as to what services to use with your OBi. At just over $3 per month for service, an unlocked OBi VoIP device with an ITSP’s BYOD service is the most flexible, most money-saving and ultimately, the most powerful home and small business phone solution that a smart VoIP user can buy.  With expert support directly from Obihai and its ITSP partners, OBi users will continue to win with consistent and high-quality service.

Thank you for choosing Obihai and Happy New Year!