[ale] Recommendations for cheap phone service?

George Carless kafka at antichri.st
Fri Jan 8 11:40:30 EST 2010

Hi all,

My girlfriend's non-profit organization (www.ahimsahouse.org) is in the process of moving into its first office, and 
they're looking at options for getting phone service there. Ideally, a low-cost solution that would allow multiple people 
to make calls at once (though only a single inbound phone number would be required). Here's what we've been looking at so 

- MagicJack -- seems like a viable option, although I have to say that their marketing techniques put me off a little.

- Skype, with a dedicated phone number and calling plan. Seems a pretty good option, but I'm not sure what the best 
approach is for getting a physical phone (or phones) attached. (Money is really an issue here, too - they can't afford to 
spend $200 just to get a phone working)

- Vonage -- we use this at home, currently, and it works well -- but it seems pretty expensive, nowadays, compared with 
the other options.

They currently do have an inbound phone service - I forget its name, but it's one of the hosted PBX solutions where they 
pay $10/mo and can have it forward to wherever. I've signed them up for a google voice invite so if/when that arrives they 
would probably be able to switch over to that and save the $10/mo.

Right now I'm leaning towards Skype, but I want to make sure this is pretty easy for them to use, and they would need a 
way of making calls private - i.e. no using a PC's speakers etc.  The two main people who will be in the office both have 
Droid phones; does anyone know whether it's possible to use a Droid Skype client with Skype's subscription plan? Any other 

Oh, finally, I've been telling them that if they get business-class internet service (they're looking at Clear and Comcast 
at the moment), port-blocking etc. shouldn't be an issue for them--is that an accurate statement? (The new office is in 
the Decatur area.)

Many thanks,

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