Cell Phone Contracts Will Be a Thing of the Past

Ditch your cell phone! Your cell phone plan, that is. (Pay attention AT&T, the world is getting even more connected)

One of the most challenging things about traveling is avoiding international roaming on your cell phone. Why can’t the phone companies all just get along? As soon as I cross the border from Seattle to Vancouver, I’m be forced onto another cell network and forced to pay double the price.

I’ve been starting to use my Google Voice number more often, which uses a Seattle-based area code. It’s currently forwarding to my cell phone, but it takes a message and sends me an e-mail if I’m not available.

I open the Google Voice app on my phone or via web browser and find the voicemail has been transcribed to text!  It’s not 100% accurate, but I get the gist.  If I want to hear the message, I just hit the play button.

Pretty great stuff! It means I no longer have to pay an expensive telephone bill.  But Google Voice only lets you forward to another US number. What if I’m out of the country and I can’t forward to my cell phone?

The best solution I’ve found, if you want to be “in the office” and not force someone to leave a voicemail, is to purchase a Skype online phone number. For $60/year and 2 cents/minute, I can be making and receiving phone calls to and from any US number from my own US Skype number.

Even for business lines at Beer2Buds, we use RingCentral. RingCentral allows you to get a toll free number and fax for $100/year. You can forward your number and/or any extension to a cell phone, Google Voice or Skype number.

My last AT&T phone bill was nearly $200. For around the same price, even though it’s less convenient (you need Wifi), I carry around a Clear modem for when I need to contact someone. Even if there’s no wireless but there is 3g/4g, you can still be “connected.”

Oh and I almost forgot to mention—SMS is such an integral part of my business life. With Google Voice, you can also send AND receive text messages! And you don’t pay $19.99/month like you will with AT&T.

This is a text message I got today that popped up on my phone from Google Voice.

The world is becoming more connected. The cell phone giants will have to start playing fair or the growing VoIP services of the world will be the dominant players, which is already starting to happen.