Now that we’ve got that out of the way, I want to tell you about a service that I’ve only recently discovered. It’s called FreePhoneLine.ca and it, well, provides you with a free phone line in Canada. It’s not a true landline, though, since it is basically a VoIP operation. The critical difference here is that you don’t have to spend any money and you get a “real” Canadian phone number that can be used for both incoming and outgoing calls.
A Free Phone Number and Service in Canada
Last year, I wrote a post on how you can save money by living below your means. In that post, I suggested that you might want to abandon your landline telephone altogether and rely exclusively on your cell phone. By and large, I’ve done this myself. My Palm Pre 2 is my primary phone and it will likely stay that way for the foreseeable future.
So, why did I even bother with FreePhoneLine.ca at all? Well, it’s free… sort of. The service is free to use on a computer when you use the “softphone” program. You just need any old computer headset and you’re pretty much good to go after you’ve installed the software. The service is ad-supported, so you will see ads in the program.
What’s the Catch?
There are certainly some downsides to this. First, your computer has to be on and the program has to be running. Second, because it’s VoIP, you lose service if the power goes out. Third, I found that I experienced “dead air” on more than one occasion when first making or receiving a call. The call would only become “live” after several seconds. That can render the service almost useless.
That said, there is an alternative. You can pay a $50 fee (one time) to “buy” the configuration file for a SIP device. In doing so, you can then use a standalone phone (without advertisements) and I found this configuration to be more reliable than the computer program. It’s still not without its issues, but you can’t complain too much when the service is mostly free. You get what you pay for.
Can’t Beat the Price of Free, Right?
I don’t intend on using my freephoneline.ca number all that often, but it’s good to know that I have it. Considering that a conventional residential landline can cost about $25 a month without added features, this is sounding like a pretty good deal. You also get free long distance to several Canadian cities, as well as a voicemail service that can automatically email you the audio file of any messages you receive.
The reliability would deter me from using this service for my primary line, which is why I stick with my cell phone for that purpose. As a secondary line, though, it’s pretty useful.