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Fongo Home Phone [VOIP] - 4 Months Free Service (New Signup) - On Till Jan 9th [Extended]

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  • Mar 1st, 2022 7:18 am
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Dec 10, 2004
6805 posts
2462 upvotes
Vancouver
Umm. get a $10 CELL phone, put it on wifi, subscribe to fongo cell or others- free and do NOT take it from your house and viola, home-phone...
I use voice typing, expect mistakes...
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Dec 20, 2004
3352 posts
3403 upvotes
Montreal, QC
thesubmitter wrote: Some utility for this as a fax line too
Funny you mention that. Freephoneline (and I assume Fongo also) has included FAX to PDF service. I rarely need to send faxes, but sometimes a doctors office wants to send me a fax. I just let the call go to my voicemail, and the voicemail autodetects that it is a fax, takes the fax, and then emails me a PDF version at the email address that I also get my voicemail messages. It is a nice feature I had completely forgotten about until I one day needed to receive a fax. Dusted off my old fax.modem, set it all up (or at least I thought I did), and then the call came in and my modem did not answer, and the call went to voicemail... Figured I'd have to reset and have them try again, but within a few minutes I got an email with an attached PDF of the FAX that was sent.

I've been with freephoneline for over a dozen or so years. Started off with a basic Linksys PAP2T ATA (think I had paid $30 for it back then), paid $50 for the unlock SIP key and after a little configuration, it was working. Initially it was just an "experiment" as a second line for my young kids to chat with their friends (so they don't hog the main home phone line). However as the years went by, they used it less and less. But the call quality was just as good (if not better), than my basic Bell POTS line which I was paying close to $50/m for. Then slowly my home phone line deteriorated. Every time it rained, the line was unusable and full of static. Used my VoIP line to call Bell, and they gave me the usual speech of "if the problem is on your internal wiring, we will have to bill you, and .... blah blah blah". "You know bell has one of the most reliable networks around, blah blah blah...". So why do I need to use my $0/m VoIP line to call for service on my $50/m POTS line ? Got annoyed with them and told them that if they want to do that, they would need to send a tech first to install a proper demarcation point, so I would be able to test both sides. Then we got into a pissing contest and they refused to send anyone to look at the issue for at least 3 or 4 days. What is the point, it won't be raining, the line will work fine, and he will say there is no fault found.

Hung up and decided at that point, that I had enough of Bell. I had already switch my alarm system over to GSM (instead of old regular dial-up), so there was no reason for a POTS line anymore. Took my kids FreePhoneLine (which they no longer used), decided to pay $25 port-in fee, and initiated a transfer of my home phone, over to VoIP with freephoneline. Very next morning, Bell called me and was "curious" as to why I was porting out :) Lol.. Once I explained, they asked if they send a technician that morning to fix the issue, would I be willing to stay with them. Told them not to bother, and at the same time, to add me to their DO NOT CALL list.

Also took the opportunity to get an ObI202 at the time, since I also have my GV number. Switching to freephoneline was the best thing I did. Has saved me over $50/m for close to 10 yrs now, so $$$$ in savings. Not even a single monthly service fee. They say that if you call 911 with it, they charge $35 per call. Well, honestly, I have been lucky to not have needed to use it.. And even if I ever do, IF it was an emergency, I don't care if they charge me $100 per call :)

Freephoneline has everything I used to pay separately, all included. Visual Call waiting, Caller-ID with CNAM, Voicemail (including voicemail to email gateway), call forwarding, Followme option (which is handy), and the FAX to PDF. Also, includes 2 streams (hence the call waiting option), but if you get creative, you can even use it to make 2 calls at the same time with the right ATA configuration. On my Obi202, I have SERVICE 1 configured for Freephoneline. Service 2 is my GV. I have setup both phone ports on the OBI202 to use Service 1 by default for outgoing calls. So if my wife is on a call, using a phone that is connected to PH1 connection of the OBI202, I can also pickup a phone that is connected on PH2 connection and ALSO make an outgoing call at the same time. OK, if someone tries to call us while we are both on a call, they will go straight to voicemail (since both streams are being used), but that flexibility is pretty nice. My GV is configured to ring on both PH1 and PH2 connections also, but to dialout using GV, I just need to add "**2" prefix to indicate I want to use service 2.

I was a little bummed when I heard recently that the OBI 200 line is EOL and no support after DEC 2023, but it has been a nice ride. Guess I'll just have to move it permanently over to my Cell phone GV app when the time comes (if they don't introduce another ATA with GV support).

So Freephoneline is GREAT. But it does need some technical know how to configure an ATA. Also, users need to understand, that during a power outage, there will be no phone service, unless you have your modem, router, and ATA on a UPS (like I do, and still get about 2 hrs of service at least even in a power outage). With cell phones being the norm nowadays, this is less and less of an issue for most.
I can see why Ooma, MajicJack, Fongo home, can be attractive for someone non-technical. Plug it in, and off you go. Even with all their complex structured fees, They are still at least 5 times cheaper than any POTS line that Bell has to offer.

VoIP.ms is a top notch premium VoIP provider and if you are NOT a heavy outgoing call kind of user, then their prices are pretty good, for a premium provider. But once again, you do need to get your own ATA and configure it (so may not be for everyone).

Don't judge fongo HOME phone, by the fongo mobile app. The app itself is picky and in no way reflects the call quality you get with their SIP based service. I use the free fongo mobile app for my kijiji sales. And I'm lucky, I got a number which even works with SMS short codes for verifications (so it's a keeper). But it is sometimes frustrating, when the app does not work as expected, and will sometimes NOT want to dialout, or sometimes not ring.
Member
Oct 12, 2020
238 posts
271 upvotes
Is there any way to record phone calls with fongo or should I just use openphone for $10USD/month? I want to use it to contact tenants
Deal Expert
Jan 7, 2002
25120 posts
21550 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
Emporium wrote: Funny you mention that. Freephoneline (and I assume Fongo also) has included FAX to PDF service.
Even the free Fongo Mobile continues to offer this feature. In the past I used to get weekly spam faxes, e.g. from some replacement windows outfit in Montreal (to a SW ON area code?). That stopped so I assumed Fongo had eliminated the feature due to abuse by spammers. Your post got me to test and confirm that the feature still works. It does indeed.
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Sr. Member
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Aug 13, 2020
999 posts
4553 upvotes
Vancouver Island
spots01 wrote: Can I use 2 of the above at the same time? Say I have 2 ATAs both logged into or assigned to same FreePhoneLine account at 2 different physical locations. When a call comes in, will it ring at both places?
ArrowFlynn wrote: No, you'd need two VoIP unlock keys. Only one device registration is allowed at any time per unlock key, and registration is needed for incoming calls to work.

If you want another device to ring, you'd have to forward the call either via the ATA (bridged call using Obihai device) or via FPL's web portal (Follow Me feature). You can bridge calls for free, when using an Obihai device, to any other device, in any location, that has another SIP service installed that accepts incoming SIP URI calls.


If you have 2 ATAs connected to the Same FreePhoneline account, you Can use both of them for Outbound Calls. As ArrowFlynn mentioned, you Cannot get Incoming calls on both and can't really control which ATA will get the Incoming call... if any.


What you can do is use a free PBX (EG: Asterisk), connect Free Phone Line to Asterisk and then connect the ATAs to Asterisk as well. This is actually kind of fun as each device gets an Extension (EG: 100. 101, etc)
like an office. And you can control Voice Mail and IVR (Please press 1 for person 1, press 2 for my mobile, etc...)
Deal Expert
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Mar 25, 2003
16547 posts
5025 upvotes
Markham
alireja wrote: Add "Regulatory Compliance Fee" of $2.54/Month to that.
Not such fee for Fongo.
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Sr. Member
User avatar
Aug 13, 2020
999 posts
4553 upvotes
Vancouver Island
JustAUsername wrote: Is there any way to record phone calls with fongo or should I just use openphone for $10USD/month? I want to use it to contact tenants
There are different ways to record a call.

The easiest would be to use a regular analog phone (NOT cordless) and connect a small recording module to the Handset. And you would need a recorder (IE: Tape recorder, iPhone in Memo recording Mode, PC or MAC in microphone record mode. Mute the phone used for recording or put some scotch tape over the holes where the mic is to "mute".

This is the device you would need:
2.jpg

Another way would be to use 2 Phones on the same ATA (With a splitter). Put the 2nd phone in another room, off the hook while you place your call and put a microphone near the handset and you can record. (It works better if you have a speakerphone in the other room)

For VOIP, you can easily record with a Network Sniffer. (Many are free)
EG:
https://blog.tmcnet.com/blog/tom-keatin ... tility.asp
https://www.networkstraining.com/network-sniffer-tools/

Also you can setup a free PBX (Phone System) like Asterisk and record some or all of your calls.
Sr. Member
Feb 6, 2020
586 posts
487 upvotes
IslandDeal wrote: If you have 2 ATAs connected to the Same FreePhoneline account, you Can use both of them for Outbound Calls. As ArrowFlynn mentioned, you Cannot get Incoming calls on both and can't really control which ATA will get the Incoming call... if any.
Only the registered device will ring.
You also run the risk of a temporary IP ban.

"When (with FPL's SIP credentials/VoIP unlock key) there are multiple devices/softphones/lines using the same account, only the most recent registration is valid. The previous device will lose registration, and, consequently, incoming calls will not work on it. This is especially important to consider if someone else is using your SIP credentials (username and password) that are found after logging in at https://www.freephoneline.ca/showSipSettings or if you're trying to register your FPL account with a smartphone SIP app (or FPL desktop app) or with another device. Registration is required for incoming calls. It is not required for outgoing calls. Only one registration per FPL account is allowed at any time. A single line on an IP phone is one registration. A SIP app is another. A more significant concern, though, is that multiple registration attempts can lead to temporary IP bans. The more devices being used with the exact same FPL account can make the temporary ban happen more quickly. Each time you reboot or restart your IP phone or SIP app, it's attempting to register with Freephoneline again. Multiple registration attempts within a short period can result in temporary IP ban." -- modified from what Webslinger once wrote
What you can do is use a free PBX (EG: Asterisk), connect Free Phone Line to Asterisk and then connect the ATAs to Asterisk as well. This is actually kind of fun as each device gets an Extension (EG: 100. 101, etc)
like an office. And you can control Voice Mail and IVR (Please press 1 for person 1, press 2 for my mobile, etc...)
You can do something similar with two Obihai devices, but unless both devices are on the same LAN, someone may need to forward SIP and RTP ports.

http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php?topic=4944.0
http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php? ... 53#msg9453
I've done something similar to this on my LAN only: https://www.ukvoipforums.com/viewtopic.php?t=229.

Provided both Obihai device endpoints can be connected via SIP URI, using one device as a proxy for the other isn't needed, and the rest is trivial.
Last edited by ArrowFlynn on Dec 30th, 2021 12:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sr. Member
Feb 6, 2020
586 posts
487 upvotes
JustAUsername wrote: Is there any way to record phone calls with fongo or should I just use openphone for $10USD/month? I want to use it to contact tenants
It's easier to do with FPL since you're not restricted to Fongo's Grandstream ATA.

With an Obihai ATA,

1. Dial ***1
2. Enter the IP address you hear into a web browser
3. Navigate to Status-->Call status
4. A call needs to be in progress in order to record. Click "call status" when a call is in progress.
5. Click the record button.
6. A window will eventually popup. Click save.
7. An .au audio file will start downloading onto your computer.


Acrobits Groundwire smartphone app also does call recording. Others probably do as well. I mention Groundwire because it doesn't have an ongoing subscription fee.
Sr. Member
Feb 6, 2020
586 posts
487 upvotes
Emporium wrote: if they don't introduce another ATA with GV support
http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php? ... #msg111076
http://www.obitalk.com/forum/index.php? ... #msg111085

It also seems unlikely that switching to an Obihai IP Phone will help either.
https://www.reddit.com/r/Googlevoice/co ... 2/hpce5tk/
Last edited by ArrowFlynn on Dec 30th, 2021 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Expert
Jan 7, 2002
25120 posts
21550 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
ArrowFlynn wrote: Acrobits Groundwire smartphone app also does call recording. Others probably do as well. I mention Groundwire because it doesn't have an ongoing subscription fee.
Thanks. I didn't know that. It's also fully featured: Call Recording on Android
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Sr. Member
Jan 3, 2013
635 posts
252 upvotes
Winnipeg
NightRider_ wrote: VoIP.ms is this a service your pay per usage
Yes it is. You got two options, maybe more. Here are two popular ones.

Option 1 is unlimited incoming for $4.25/month
Option 2 is pay for incoming billed on 6 sec increments, $0.009/minute
Both options pay for outgoing Canadian calls at $0.005/minute, billed 6 sec increments. I do believe they have a premium outgoing option for $0.009/minute outgoing as well.

Look here: https://voip.ms/en/rates/canada

If you got children or elderly in the house you may want to look at paying for enhanced 911 as well. They charge government rate with no markup.
https://wiki.voip.ms/article/E911

Anyways this is what $4/month gets our family:
85c/month for our Manitoba number
We pay for all incoming and outgoing. $4 - .85 = $3.15 / $0.009 = 350 minutes, though keep in mind that's billed in 6 sec increments.

For us it's mainly for kids and babysitter. Low use and holds a number I have had for 20 years.

Best of luck.
Newbie
Nov 18, 2021
36 posts
10 upvotes
Pratzy wrote: I've used Fongo for 5+ years, pretty sure I've spent more than $150+ on buying minutes, text message packages etc and in my opinion it's pretty shit, clunky UI, often times texts don't come through, doesn't work with 2FA either.

Only reason I stuck on to it is because since I was early it gave me a decent 647 number that I kept on using rather than one of those odd area codes.
Which services work with 2FA?
Newbie
Feb 4, 2019
14 posts
4 upvotes
Markham
I signed last night and received the adapter today, pretty much plug and play, I'm impressed by the quality, those that are complaining about the signal, get yourself a new phone, I tried with a spare phone first (at least 15 years old phone), signal was bad when you walk away from the base, bought a new set of Panasonic from Costco, and the quality is just like land line, no issue in basement or second floor, Thanks OP!!
btw do you guys see anything about 4 month free when you sign in from the browser? I didn't see that anywhere, does it indicate when you log in?
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Sep 13, 2006
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Muskoka
WakyH88329 wrote: btw do you guys see anything about 4 month free when you sign in from the browser? I didn't see that anywhere, does it indicate when you log in?
The 4 months free banner is in the form of pop-up window. Try another browser
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Jan 8, 2009
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Brampton
Anyone knows what needs to be done for it to work with ADT alarm? I am getting the dial tone in my phone but alarm beeps as if there is no phone connection.

The same setup is fine when I change the source from Fongo Adapter to Bell modem.
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Dec 20, 2004
3352 posts
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Montreal, QC
dealerguy wrote: Anyone knows what needs to be done for it to work with ADT alarm? I am getting the dial tone in my phone but alarm beeps as if there is no phone connection.

The same setup is fine when I change the source from Fongo Adapter to Bell modem.
Using an alarm system with VoIP is not recommended. Even if you get it to work, it can be temperamental. Not sure I'd trust it. This was one of the reasons I delayed my initial migration from Bell to VoIP. I have a colleague who uses his alarm system with VoIP.ms VoIP service and all seemed to work initially. However a few months later he came home one day and the alarm system was triggered (false alarm luckily), but he had not gotten a call from the alarm company. So he called them to see why he was not advised, and he was told that they never got a signal. That is when he decided to switch. In his case, he opted to go with an internet communication system, since he had a slightly more recent system. Can it be made to work, I'm sure. But would I trust it, no thanks. And if you are getting a discount on your insurance for being connected to central monitoring, then if something happens and call couldn't be made, there would need to be some explanations I'm sure.


Just before I switched to VoIP many years ago, I decided to switch my alarm system from dialup, to GSM. I have an older system (but still functional and meets my needs), and was concerned I'd need to replace the whole system, but it was simple. My installer just installed a Telguard TG-1 onto my panel, and it was seamless. The alarm panel still thinks it is dialing out (so no need to replace), but the TG-1 unit establishes the call via GSM and it does not occupy my phoneline when it dials out and is not dependant on my phone working or internet being alive. Considering I was saving over $50/m from bell, I did not mind spending a little to be free from a dialup connection. And since it did not occupy my phone line to call out, I enabled all the reporting functions of the alarm system, so I now get emails on when and who arms or disarms the alarm (I previously had that disabled, since I did not want the system dialing out every time system was armed or disarmed).

Oh and needless to say, I switched from ADT who's prices had gotten ridiculous at the time (don't know what they are now). I had originally started with Videotron Telesurveillance, which became Protectron, and then was sold off to ADT. When ADT took over, the price hikes came in regularly. Got ridiculous. I think at the end before I quit, they had hiked monitoring fees to $35/m for dialup monitoring which is nuts for residential monitoring. Switched providers, and now basic monitoring is costing me $10/m and another $10/m for the GSM service. Still a far cry from $35/m. I switched my mom who was also with ADT, and she is still with dialup (no GSM for her), so it is costing her just $10/m which she prefers and prepays for the year. All these smaller alarm companies all outsource their monitoring to Lanvac anyhow, which has been doing this for years. Their service and response time has been pretty much on par (or better) with what Protectron/ADT used to offer.
Deal Expert
Jan 7, 2002
25120 posts
21550 upvotes
Waterloo, ON
WakyH88329 wrote: btw do you guys see anything about 4 month free when you sign in from the browser? I didn't see that anywhere, does it indicate when you log in?
Go to https://www.fongo.com/services/fongo-home-phone/ then

Image

Apparently you don't have to do anything apart from signing up. The 4 months free happens automagically.

Some questions/comments:
1. Is the ATA locked to Fongo or can it be used with other VoIP providers if one isn't happy with Fongo's service?
2. Can this be ordered without an ATA if one already has one (e.g. GrandStream HT812)?
3. Does Fongo offer a sample config file for those who BYOATA (assuming A2. is "Yes.")?
4. Can I use this with a software SIP client? They say it won't work with Fongo Mobile app but how about Groundwire or Voiper?
5. Note that port-ins are $10 at sign-up but $25 afterwards. Makes it more expensive to try before you commit.
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