This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Telecom 2008, part three: Grand Central

Posted by Matt

My apologies, I'm delivering my final telecom post a bit late. Before I get started describing Grand Central, let me give a quick update to what I posted about the Vonage Annual Pay plan last week. I decided to dig into it a bit more before signing up and I'm glad I did. It's a racket! Here's the fine print:

No refund for early termination. Automatic renewal of annual plan unless customer provides timely notice.

I couldn't believe this and so I called the billing center to make sure that I understood it correctly. They confirmed that if I signed up for this plan and decided to discontinue my Vonage service next month, I would receive NO refund. Not only that, but they'll automatically lock you in for another year of this crappy deal. Steer clear!

Back to the good stuff; if you haven't already heard the news, Google acquired a company called GrandCentral. This company will provide you with a free phone number that you can program to ring you at multiple locations. There are a TON of other great features, but that's the biggest one and also the one that I'm going to use to try to save some money.

Here's what I'm planning. I'll give out my GrandCentral number to everyone I know and then set up the service to forward all callers to all of my phones simultaneously. My hope is that doing this will allow me to drastically reduce the amount of minutes I spend on my cell phone (which is not all that much time anyway) because I'll be able to take the bulk of my calls on my home and work lines. I should really only need to use my cell phone when I'm out and about. I'm already on the plan with the minimum number of minutes, but if I can consistently and significantly reduce my cell usage, I'm going to try out a pay-as-I-go plan.

As always, I'll let you know how that goes. If it never comes to fruition, I'll still appreciate having a single, central number.


Vibiana said...


I dumped my land line about a year ago and continued service with AT&T, which had been Cingular. I've had them since 2005. I've been fairly pleased with them.

Since I travel quite a bit and also have international calls on my bill just about every month because of my family ties, it helps me to have an unlimited minutes plan. AT&T just came out with one for $99 per month, which with tax adds up to about $130 per month.

As a single woman, I wouldn't want to be without my cell phone when I'm traveling; and I consider the convenience of always being reachable to be well worth whatever hassle arises from not having a land line phone. I've been happy with my decision, but it's not for everyone.

Matt said...

$130 sounds like a lot to me, but oh how I envy you only having a single phone! My wife's cell phone is paid for by her employer, so she is in the same enviable position.
I'm just waiting for someone at one of the cell companies to do the math and (hopefully) determine that it is cheaper to give everyone unlimited minutes than do all the work to track minutes and print detailed bills. I think the reason this hasn't happened so far is that a there must be good money in "overage" charges (or "overcharges", as I like to think of them).