Sunday, February 16, 2014

OBiVoice

Remember in this post I said that there was another twist coming in my VoIP saga? Just after I had gotten my OBi100 up and working Obihai posted this on their blog.
Unfortunately, (after May 15, 2014) you will no longer be able to use the Google Voice communication service to make calls using the phone connected to your OBi device. Also, the ability to receive calls to your Google Voice number, directly from Google’s service, will not be possible.
Well, that burst my balloon. I decided to just ignore it for a while.

Then I found a thread on the OBiTALK forums that mentioned OBiVoice. They are part of Intelafone. Their BYOD (using OBi100) lite plan is $24.99 per year. This includes E911, free voicemail, free Caller ID, and 500 incoming/outcoming minutes/month. Their basic plan is $39.99 and has 2000 incoming/outcoming minutes/month.

I signed up for their free trial for 60 minutes over 30 days. While they are not an "approved service provider" with OBiTALK, OBiVoice has a simple copy and paste guide to setup the OBi100.

I went into the OBiTALK portal to put OBiVoice into the Service Provider 2 (SP2) slot. The instructions are here. Basically all you have to do is copy/paste the information from OBiVoice into OBiTALK.
(06:58:26) *** Ben Moore joined the chat ***
(06:58:26) Ben Moore: I'm setting up my OBi100. I'm looking at https://www.obivoice.com/byod.php. It has User Name as XXXX. Is that what I put in OBiTALK?
(06:58:29) *** Andrew joined the chat ***
(06:58:36) Andrew: Thank you for contacting Obivoice Customer Support. I am currently reviewing your question and will provide you with an answer momentarily.
(06:59:06) Andrew: Yes you can either put in the SIP credentials or use the automatic setup tool from that page.
(06:59:38) Ben Moore: The automatic setup page resets my device. I'm trying to add OBiVoice as SP2 on my OBi100.
(06:59:45) Ben Moore: Where do I get the SIP credentials to use?
(07:00:05) Andrew: On the Softphone/BYOD page of your web portal, under the Devices category.
(07:00:16) Ben Moore: Gotcha. Will do. Thanks.
(07:00:22) Andrew: Is there anything else I can help you with today?
(07:00:36) Ben Moore: Not so far. Seems easy.
(07:00:45) Andrew: Let me know if you have any trouble with it!
(07:00:46) Andrew: Thank you for contacting Obivoice Customer Support and have a wonderful rest of your day! [We appreciate your feedback. If you would like to rate this Support Chat today, please select one of the options below by clicking on the bullet point. Thank you!]
(07:00:50) Ben Moore: I found this assistance helpful.
(07:00:53) Andrew: [Thank you for your feedback. If you have any other questions please feel free to contact us back as we would be happy to assist you!]
(07:00:56) *** Andrew left the chat ***
(07:32:40) *** Ben Moore left the chat ***
Look closely at the time stamps. The representative joined the chat in THREE SECONDS. The whole transaction took 2 1/2 minutes. Customer service doesn't get much better than that.

OBiVoice has worked fine on the OBi100.

OBiTALK announced their approved service provider on 02/11/14. Their partner is Anveo. The basic offering is $39.99 per year. This includes free incoming calls, E911, free voicemail, free Caller ID, and 250 outgoing minutes/month.

I looked at my Google Voice log of minutes and I had used just under 800 incoming/outcoming minutes in the last month so I didn't think that 250 outgoing minutes would be enough.

I went with OBiVoice's basic plan. $40/year is still way less than the $50/month I was paying AT&T. I'm not porting my Google Voice number but just forwarding it to OBiVoice and spoofing the Caller ID to my Google Voice number.

3 comments:

Mun said...

Have you had any trouble with calls being dropped or not working properly? I'm using an OBi202 device and have a strange problem that occurs randomly during calls where it stays connected, but neither side can hear each other. Occasionally, it'll even happen during ringing when the phone will ring once or twice and then just stop. Not sure whether these problems are something related to my device or configuration, or down to issues with Vestalink.

Ben Moore said...

I haven't had any problems with the OBi100 working directly with Google Voice via XMPP or with Google Voice forwarded to Vestalink (knock on wood).

I did have problems with Google Voice forwarded to a free Callcentric DID. Incoming calls to the Google Voice number that were forwarded to the Callcentric DID (handled by the OBi100) often didn't ring.

Mun said...

Strange, sounds like it's working okay for you. I might sign up for another provider and try them out just to eliminate Vestalink as being the cause of the problem. Saw a provider called Phone Power as a promoted provider so maybe I'll try them out.