Friday, March 20, 2009

Google GrandCentral (Voice) has been saving me $80 a month

I started using GrandCentral last August, many months after I’d signed up for the service.

At that time, post acquisition, Google wasn’t marketing GrandCentral, so it took me an inordinately long time to catch on to the real value. I could call my aged parents in Montreal for free.

Now I’ve switched to Google Voice, and my calling cost has risen astronomically – to 1 cent a minute [1]. With the switch, and some minor glitches in the world economy that incent savings, I decided to look back at our cell phone record and see how much GrandCentral was saving us.

Eighty dollars a month.


Ok, so I’m an extreme case. I call my mother on my commute home (it’s not very distracting, honest) so the time adds up.

Still, that’s a lot of money. It not only pays for my iPhone data plan, it’s now covered the cost of my iPhone. Not that Google Voice requires a smart phone (though I sure miss GrandDialer), I can make the calls from any phone for the same price.

Google Voice will be available to everyone in the US shortly [2]. Around the same time iPhone 3.0 will give me free instant messaging (background push notification).

I’m surprised AT&T’s share price hasn’t started falling.

[1] Precisely 1 cent a minute. None of the tricks those asinine international plans of old used to play. A 22 minute call costs 22 cents, a 1 minute call costs 1 cent.

[2] Looks like it may launch in Canada around the same time, other nations at varying times. It will make a big difference for some family members of ours.

Update 8/09: Google Voice calls to Canada are again free.


Anonymous said...

Computer-to-computer VOIP: 0.0 cents per minute.

Encrypting your calls so NSA operatives don't get to listen in for their own amusement: Priceless.

John Gordon said...

iPhone 3.0 has a VOIP API, though AT&T is unlikely to permit it to be used over their network. It maybe available over a Wifi network.

Otherwise computer-to-computer VOIP seems most useful for gaming, corporate communications, and calls to nations that tax telecomms severely.

The NSA is more than welcome to listen in on all my calls :-).

Anonymous said...

How does AT&T attempt to block VOIP? Software restrictions on the iPhone or traffic molestation on the network?

The former can be fixed by jailbreaking your iPhone; fixing the latter is just a matter of setting up a VPN from your iPhone to a computer with uncensored Internet access.