AKA, the internet eats the phone system, installment one.

We recently bought a skype phone (having been inspired by this post).  We wanted to use our cell phones less (having been inspired by this book), and Skype seemed like an alternative to the local telco (Qwest).  Of course, it just increases our dependence on our local ISP (Comcast).  Gotta love broadband duopolies.

There was one requirement that made the phone relatively easy to choose.

  • It had to work without a computer being on.  I didn’t want to have to tie up a laptop or netbook for this phone.

This criteria limits you to about three phone models.  There are tons of phones that work as long as they are plugged into a computer (and they are cheaper too).  After spending some time wandering through Amazon.com’s catalog (a local store was also called, and they didn’t have anything), we selected the DualPhone 3088.  Here’s the Amazon page.

Impressions from using this phone for about a month.

  • It was easy to set up–I just created another skype account and set it up for some subscriptions.
  • The phone service is pretty good, though it has cut out a couple of times in use.  Of course, having AT&T as a cell phone provider, this is something we’re used to.
  • The phone feels cheap.  The handset is light and not quite full sized.

The economics are powerful, though.  A full subscription to skype (Skype In, so that others can call us, and Skype Out, so that we can call regular phone numbers) is around 9 bucks a month.  As we cut back our cell phone minutes, we’ll see whether a Skype phone is a full blown solution.


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