Why I cut Rogers and went to Fongo Home Phone

For years we felt we needed to keep a home phone.  We still feel that way, but there comes a breaking point whereby we couldn’t stomach forking out $30+ per month for our Rogers Home Phone any longer.  That breaking point was this past winter and so a few months ago, we cut Rogers Home Phone and decided to try Fongo Home Phone instead.  I’m glad we did.

What is Fongo?

Fongo uses Voice-Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) to place and receive calls and send and receive messages using your existing data plan (3G/4G) or nearby WiFi connection and Fongo’s nationwide network.

Why did we choose Fongo Home Phone?

  • You can transfer your existing home phone to Fongo (from Rogers, from Bell) for a $25 one-time fee.  (We did this).
  • Fongo Home Phone comes with free voicemail, caller ID, call waiting and 911 services.
  • You can call almost anywhere in Canada, via your home phone or cell phone with Fongo, anytime, for free.
  • You can call worldwide for stupid low rates like $0.02 per minute.
  • Know a Fongo customer?  Using WiFi, you can call another Fongo customer anywhere in the world for free.  When you’re connected on a call, Fongo uses 0.5MB of data per calling minute so even a paid-for 500MB data-plan gives you approximately 1000 calling minutes per month.
  • You can get a free local Fongo phone number and you can take your Fongo number with you while on vacation.
  • Do you have an iPod touch or iPad with WiFi?  That’s your new free phone.
  • You can teleconference with Fongo for free.
  • You get free online support from Fongo courtesy of their support page.
  • There’s no contract.
  • There are no monthly limits.
  • You can get voicemail to email forwarding, for free, when you miss a call.
  • You can listen to your voicemail online anytime.
  • You can view your call log online anytime.

The Fongo Home Phone Cost?

4.95 per month + taxes.  No contract. No cancellation fees and for a  few bucks per month after buying the home phone adapter, paying the shipping costs for the home phone kit, and porting your home phone number, you can have a low-cost and reliable home phone as well.  Plug and play and talk and save money in the process.

Fongo Feedback

We’ve been very happy with the Fongo service so far.  I imagine we’ll save over $250 this year and even more money next year thanks to Fongo Home Phone.

What VOIP service are you using?  Do you use Fongo Home Phone?  

Disclosure:  no affiliation with Fongo other than trying to save you money 🙂

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89 Responses to "Why I cut Rogers and went to Fongo Home Phone"

  1. I use Ooma (also a voip solution). Very happy with the call quality – no difference from my old landline. Cost is less than $4 per month (covers tax and 911 service) and includes lots of features (vmail, call display, etc) and unlimited Canada wide free calling to any #. Plugs into my existing cordless handset. They also offer to port your existing number ($40 to do so). Or they’ll give you a new number for free.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for sharing Mike, I’ve heard of Ooma as well, heard good things. Porting the old landline number is definitely a nice perk, and keeping 911 service – great for safety.

      Reply
  2. I’ve been using voip for my business for years (5? 7?). It’s insane. Dirt cheap (we pay .01/minute in North America) and because it’s software driven you can do anything. I have reps that work across the country, I just mail them a phone, they plug it in and they’re another extension on our phone system. I can connect my cell phone and have the system use it as an extension. And I knew a guy years ago who called into his voip system from his cell phone (which was a local call) to call back out for any long distance calls.

    Voip for business, you can drop a $0 from your bill – it’s like a 1/10 of the cost.

    And wait until you move! No calls to Bell. No calls to anyone. No scheduling. No hundreds/thousands of dollars in moving costs. Pick up the system at the old place, drive to the new place, plug it in, and you are back in business.

    Yeah, voip. For sure.

    Reply
    1. Great to hear from you Glenn….I figured you were on VOIP…I suspect many small businesses are? Then again, maybe not!

      “No calls to Bell. No calls to anyone. No scheduling. No hundreds/thousands of dollars in moving costs.”

      Perfect 🙂

      Reply
  3. I’ve actually never had a home phone since I’ve been on my own and it seems to be fairly common among the generation who grew up with cell phones. I live in a modest sized condo and my cell is usually nearby so I have it found it to be a big deal. Eventually though, I’ll probably get what a friend of mine has; a couple of cordless phones that connect to your cell via Bluetooth.

    Reply
    1. For the “younger” generation, I can see living without a home phone. Totally makes sense, although I personally don’t talk on my cell very much. I don’t like all that radiation near my head. I get enough of that stuff everyday from many other devices.

      Thanks for the comment!

      Reply
  4. I dont have a landline and dont think we will be getting one, but will try to remember this if we change our mind.
    Btw, do you pay anything for the dryloop fee? Since I dont have a landline, my internet supplier charges me $10 per month for the dry loop. Bell really knows how to screw ppl over. Hate it as a customer, love it as an investor.

    regards

    Reply
    1. You mean by dryloop, a phone line without a dial tone? I pay nothing for the dryloop by using Fongo.

      BCE, same. Love as an investor. As a customer, not so good! 🙂

      Reply
      1. Thats right. A phone line where there is no actual phone service but enabled for internet access via DSL is ‘using a dryloop’. It sure is annoying that they charge me $10 just to enable that dryloop.

        regards

        Reply
        1. If you switch to teksavvy dsl service they charge only 5$ for the dry loop. Excellent customer service. Exactly the same internet quality as bell for much less per month.

          Reply
  5. That’s pretty good write up of Fongo Home Phone. I have a question though and something to point out.

    If I have Fongo Mobile does that conflict with Fongo Home? Is it a separate app? I know when I looked into this it was too confusing and no one had any definitive answers.

    But with regards to picture messages they are only unlimited on the Fongo network (to other Fongo subscribers). Unfortunately Fongo doesn’t have an MMS gateway so you can’t send picture messages to people on other networks. This isn’t Fongo’s fault, the other networks won’t let anyone join there little MMS club.

    Reply
    1. My understanding is Fongo Mobile does not conflict with Fongo Home. Mobile is a separate app on your smartphone. I know, their site isn’t very clear on this…

      Good point about Fongo and sending MMS. If that’s the only drawback, I can certainly live with that 🙂

      Thanks for the comment schultzer.

      Reply
    1. Many alarm systems are now supported by cellular communication, so you don’t need to have a home phone for those systems to work. There are costs for the cellular communication but it’s probably worth it to have real-time information; it that’s important to you as a customer. A home phone also remains a good choice if you want to keep that (home) number, and keep it on file with the home security monitoring system as another check and balance.

      Reply
  6. I use MagicJack – works out to ~$35 /year – unlimited calling in USA and Canada.
    Didn’t port my number = no more telemarketing 🙂 as only the people I want to talk to have the number.
    It has 911, call display and voice mail with the added feature that it sends an email with a message file attached.
    Also it is portable so you can run it through a computer linked to wifi – at home it plugs in the router/modem and then in the phone set and looks like POTS.
    Have had it for 3+ years with no complaints

    Reply
    1. I’ve heard mixed reviews about MagicJack, which is why we didn’t go there. Porting our number was also important to us for a few reasons, hence the Fongo decision. I figure for about $5 per month taxes in, we got a good deal. I can find other ways to save $5 per month if I need too 🙂

      3+ years using MagicJack and no issues is excellent…I hope it keeps going for you. A good sales pitch for them!

      Mark

      Reply
      1. Yes,have heard all kinds of mixed messages about magic jack,mostly negative ones…I thought about trying them many a times, but the mixed reviews has scared me!!! Don’t need the hassle/stress!!!

        Reply
          1. So Mark from the sounds of it you seems to be a happy camper with fongo home! I am only now learning about VoIP had no idea what it was all about,actually never heard if it until the last few weeks or so while researching other home/mobile/ internet options! Been with my current provider starting the last 30 yrs ago with home phone,20 yrs with mobile and about 10 yrs for Internet! So I am like brand new in the market again after all these years. Any info would be helpful! Thanks Mark…

          2. I was happy to make the switch and pay $5 per month vs. $30. Most of the information is on the Fongo site but I can take any specific questions here if you wish. Cheers.

  7. Sounds like an interesting concept. I don’t have a home phone and have never had one since moving out of my parents house when I was 18. When I moved out I had a basic flip phone, but it still did the job of a home phone (but better – it was portable). Sounds like you are saving some money!

    Reply
  8. Have also had Ooma for years and saved $516 per year. System kept restarting because the router was too far away. Once I moved the router upstairs I’ve had no problems. Good article!

    Reply
  9. It sounds like an awesome product! I live on my own and so far I haven’t seen the need to use a home phone, especially because I don’t think I get a good ROI from it since I don’t use it that much. Nevertheless, I grew up with a home phone, so somehow I think I will have the need to have home phone in the future when I settle down, so I’ll keep this product in mind! Thanks for sharing.

    Reply
    1. We’ve been pretty happy with Fongo. It’s nice to get your voicemail over email, over the cell phone from anywhere. We’ll see how long we need the home phone at all but for about $5 per month we feel the price is right for the features.

      Reply
  10. thanks Mark for the great write up. Have been using Comwave as VOIP provider. Currently pay base of $14.95/month. A lot of times calling international, the quality is very poor. Was looking for an alternative and it looks like maybe Fongo would be the one I will switch over to. I suppose there would be no cost to port number as it would be VOIP to VOIP…
    thanks for the info
    best,
    Prasanna
    Maple.

    Reply
    1. I’ve also heard good things about Comwave. I liked Fongo because I could keep my home phone number with the transfer and for all the other services that are bundled for about $5 per month. I wouldn’t think there is any cost to port your number from VOIP provider to VOIP provider although Fongo might just give you a new number altogether.

      Reply
      1. Actually, it took me 2 days for the transfert, I was happy!

        It works. NOT PERFECT, sometimes people can’t hear me 🙁 but it does include a voicemail, people can leave a message and if it’s important, I can use my cell phone (or office phone) to call them back.

        Reply
        1. I think it depends on your cable Anouk, I’ve read that anyhow. It’s not perfect, there is sometimes a delay, but for $5 per month it’s pretty darn good. Worst case, you can use your cell. I figure it’s a back-up for our house, nobody calls a home number nowadays anyhow! 🙂

          Reply
  11. We switched from a Bell landline to freephoneline.ca (a DIY, self-supported version owned by Fongo) a few years ago, porting our long-held number and have saved hundreds of dollars. I think long distance costs for those calls that aren’t free amount to less than $10 for a whole year. We’ve had a few glitches but since we also have cell phones as backup. I think it is obscene that Bell charges $50 per month for basic local phone service.

    Reply
    1. I hear ya Peter. I’m glad I switched. Yes, there is freephoneline.ca (a DIY, self-supported version owned by Fongo) and also voip.ms.
      https://voip.ms/

      That latter one is very cheap as well but I’m happy with Fongo and happy to keep my home phone number via porting.

      Reply
  12. I love the concept of Fongo yet have a point of clarification.

    Is Fongo CAR-RIDE or a long walk friendly?

    1. If I hook up VOIP at home and have auto voicemail will I get the message in real time so I can get to a starbucks and call the person back (i.e. like a pager)

    2. The $1.99 for the texting feature… again same question. How does this feature work if I am up north and need instantaneous reply ability.

    Thanks

    *Just a guy trying to ditch his cellphone plan*

    Reply
    1. Hey Micheal,

      1. You can set-up the voicemail to be pushed to your cell phone, a nice feature. You can check from there.

      2. I don’t use the texting feature myself but if you have a data plan, fongo is pretty much free:
      http://www.fongo.com/features/

      “Fongo’s Free Calling Cities cover 85% of Canada so you can call almost anywhere for free, anytime. Period. Plus, Fongo offers low worldwide rates with World Credits.”

      “Send that clever text. Upload a favorite photo. Fongo Messaging lets you share content with Fongo friends for free. All incoming text messages are free. Add an unlimited text messaging (SMS) package for just $1.99/month to text non-Fongo phone numbers.”

      If you don’t have a data plan, $2 for unlimited text is pretty darn good 🙂

      Reply
    1. I think so Michael. I have a data plan with my cell phone, and a very good national calling plan, so I don’t use Fongo Mobile very much.

      For folks that don’t have a data plan, text messages (SMS) can still be sent wherever you have a satellite signal w/o data and the cost is only $2 per month with Fongo for unlimited text messages to others.

      Reply
      1. That’s what I was getting at…

        If it’s $2/month for ‘anywhere’ meaning piggybacking on Rogers or Bell networks to send SMS texts.. then that amazing.

        The other part I am interested in is the Voicemail to Email forwarding.

        Is this something that I would need to get a ‘data’ sim for or if I go full on and get the ATA hardware and hook it up to my computer (leave it on) as a home-line.. will I automatically get that sent to me (over the Rogers/Bell) networks??

        Honestly… I would consider this strongly, if I could be anywhere and have access to Voicemail + Texting capabilities for $2/month.

        Reply
        1. “If it’s $2/month for ‘anywhere’ meaning piggybacking on Rogers or Bell networks to send SMS texts.. then that amazing.”

          I’m pretty sure that’s the deal Michael, you can always email them to confirm before you pull the trigger:
          http://www.fongo.com/contact-us/

          If you have Rogers cable, Fongo sends you the ATA hardware after you sign up:
          http://www.fongo.com/home-phone/

          Contact them and they will get back to you in about 1-2 business days with all your questions!

          Reply
  13. Hello Mark,
    I am looking to move from Rogers Home phone, does Fongo use a phone adapter to connect my phone hand set (the old fashion way)? If yes .. can I get the adapter from Fongo ready configured? I also need to move my home number over too which I understand Fongo does.
    Thanks.
    Mike

    Reply
  14. another very good home phone voip option is nettalk. I have been using it for 2 years now and it is same quality as a land line, they also have an app so you can use the same number while you are on the go. I pay $50.00 per year for unlimited calling and texting to canada and the us.

    Reply
  15. I have not had a cell phone bill outside of the 1.99 per month in txting fees from Fongo, and I could side step that if I wanted to a free txting app, but I want to support this fabulous app. I have saved $1000’s of dollars in roaming, local, LD (in Canada, because Canada is in the stone age when it comes to cell plans…criminal) and more when I travel. I have also intro’d this app to many company’s, municipal entities, and others…with great response.
    They did blow it when the corp.took back over the reins, and stopped plans for a SIM card that was data only, and relationships with CLEC’s in the US, multiple MNVO’s at the same time, like what Google Fi is doing now…they blow it HUGE there, but what can you do with a board that wants to grow “organically” in today’s tech environment…(what? insanity). They are still functional today in Canada especially because of our backward plans here, but in the US and Europe, Fongo is standard value prop now. They better evolve or they too will be stone age in tech, like the rest of the CLEC’s in Canada…thanks for your article.

    Reply
  16. Thanks for sharing, I’m doing the research on my own – my employer recently moved to VoIP, said the savings were in hundred of thousands a year for a company with 80+ employees. Figured must be something to try @ Home – I stumbled with http://www.gonevoip.ca really amazed by the variety of service providers there are, I thought was stuck with either Bell or Rogers for the Home Phone!! I’m leaning towards Yak or 1-VoIP at the moment, the later one provides a cloud drive (you read that right, a phone provider giving you a cloud drive!) seems fancy way to keep your voice-mails for a long time.

    Reply
  17. We have a Bell Canada home phone. I do not understand all of the technical lingo that is used and would like to know how I can drop the Home Line and just use a different system, but am completely clueless. In order to be able to use the Voice of Internet Program what do I need – just a cell phone or what?

    We live in the “country” and therefore no cable systems are available to us. We do have TV and Internet Services through Shaw Direct for TV which uses a satellite dish and internet through Xplornet which also is through a dish system.

    Can we still use the VoIP system?

    Any explanation in simple terms would be wonderful and appreciated.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for reading Sylvia. If you live in the “country” as you say and only have satellite access then VOIP probably won’t work for you. VOIP is best done over a cable line.

      My understanding if VOIP and satellite internet can work but the issue is latency – the voice data has to travel thousands of miles to the satellite, back down to some sort of hub or station and then to you. I suspect although I don’t know for sure, call quality will suffer.

      Reply
  18. Hi Mark, Is Fongo home phone a Voip service? Would this mean you could send SMS text messages over a PC desktop computer?
    Also, I didn’t quite get what you meant by this: “Do you have an iPod touch or iPad with WiFi? That’s your new free phone.” (?)

    Thanks.

    Reply
    1. Yes, Fongo Home Phone is a VOIP service. You can also get a Fongo account for your cellphone, which is a different account.

      With the home phone, VOIP, you can get your home voicemail sent to your email; so you can listen to them via PC or cellphone. That service is including with VOIP.

      I hope that helps clarify!

      Reply
  19. I like the idea of saving money but one reason I have a landline is when the power goes out. I have a cell and that will work for awhile but in B.C. with the bad winds we had many people were out for days without power. Landlines continue to work where cell phones dies. I’m guessing this type of system would not work either if there was no power. As a parent, I want to know I can get phone service if there was ever an emergency in my home.

    Reply
    1. If there was no hydro, your phone wouldn’t work. True, landlines can work where some cell phones die but this is rare. Satellite service is very reliable now but VOIP relies on internet.

      Reply
  20. You guys want to take this savings and Fongo one step further? Get a data only tablet plan and use it in your smartphone. Bell currently has $40 for 5GB of data. Use any or all combination of Fongo, FaceTime Audio, imessage for your communications and voila…..mucho yearly savings. Over $800 yearly in our household.

    Reply
  21. Thanks for this helpful post.

    I recently canceled my voice & text plan with a major provider and ported my number to Fongo Home Phone.

    I am generally happy with my decision, except one issue I encountered. It seems that my number now with Fongo Home does not allow me to receive text messages. I have since confirmed that Fongo Mobile lets me receive texts free of charge as described on Fongo’s website. Problem for me was that I had already ported my original cell number to Fongo Home so my Fongo Mobile had to be with a new number. Porting it one more time to Fongo Mobile will apparently incur additional costs.

    Seeing your comment “You can send unlimited text and picture messages”, I wondered if you have found a way of using SMS with Fongo Home. Would be grateful for any tips you can provide.

    Reply
    1. Thanks for reading Jan.

      We are happy with Fongo Home Phone but I don’t think you can get texts over it. You can definitely get texts if you have a Fongo Mobile number. My comment about unlimited text and picture messages applies to the cell phone not the home phone, so that was probably very misleading. I have since corrected that part of my post. Sorry about that. I do recall you can send texts to your Fongo Home Phone – just not outbound texts from your Home Phone as far as I know.

      Overall, we’re happy to pay $5 per month for a Home Phone for this type of service.

      Reply
  22. I should have been clearer it was Fongo’s website that had given me an impression Fongo Home would let me continue texting. I came across your posts afterwards, when I was trying to find a way of getting it to work. I can only thank you for maintaining this helpful page.

    Re your comment above that “I do recall you can send texts to your Fongo Home Phone – just not outbound texts from your Home Phone as far as I know”, I have experimented further with friends and confirmed that Fongo Home in fact had the ability to receive SMS after converting them to voicemail, with a minor downside that the senders’ carries seemed to charge extra as they had recognized my Fongo Home number as a landline.

    Reply
    1. Hey Jan – good to know re: confirmed that Fongo Home in fact had the ability to receive SMS after converting them to voicemail. Yeah, not surprising that the senders’ carriers get a charge – they are sending the content over landline.

      What I do like with VOIP, listening to VM over email which is nice. 🙂 Hope it works out for you, I think it’s a good deal and good features for the price.

      Reply
  23. Fongo rocks. I have Fongo installed on my iPad, iPad connected by Bluetooth to VTech “Connet-to-Cell” and pay Zero for home phone. Free long distance throughout Canada, and free overseas calls to Fongo numbers. Talk till the cows come home. When I’m out, Fongo number is forwarded to my cell. Thank you Fongo.

    Reply
    1. Fongo is great Lisa. We use it for home phone VOIP. I like your idea of connect-to-cell, maybe I should try that. Are you still paying a min. Fongo fee of $4.95 per month this way?

      Reply
  24. I have had Fongo for over a year now on my cell, I LOVE IT! A few small issues from time to time but nothing to cry abut really.

    I have moved recently and changed Home Internet Providers and now I cannot make outgoing calls on my fongo line on my wifi. Would anyone know why this is? It initially goes through then 15-20 seconds later it stops!!!

    Reply
    1. I had a similar issue. Called fongo. They told me to disconnect all connections. Wait for 10 minutes and then reconnect. Solved the problem. Works great now.
      Hope it helps.

      Reply
  25. @Mark
    When you changed to Fongo, did you first get a new Fongo phone number and port your Bell number after the Fongo ATA was working at your home, or did you port your Bell number at the time you signed up with Fongo? I’m considering going to Fongo but I don’t want any downtime with my phone service.
    Thanks.

    Reply
      1. Maybe I wasn’t clear in my question. Let me try again.
        When you ordered your Fongo Home Phone, did you have Fongo port your Bell number at the time you ordered? That is, when the Fongo ATA arrived all you had to do was plug it in and it already had your Bell number?
        Thanks.

        Reply
        1. That’s what I recall Jeremy. However, the day you use the phone needs to be the day you start using Fongo. I wasn’t a Bell customer, I was a Rogers customer but I believe it should work the same way.

          Cheers!

          Reply
  26. I’m considering getting a home phone and using VOIP. It’s important for me to be able to send and receive text messages. Can any home phones provide this?

    Reply
  27. Hi Mark just managed to run into this site by accident coz I was researching other home phone/ internet providers, in order to cut costs/ get away from the ridiculously high prices I have been paying to Bell, for many years!!!….and I am glad that i did run into you guys/ this site!!!

    I just say that the reviews here are very encouraging !!!

    Everything regarding the home phone sounds good,except there is no live person to speak with should u have a issue,and also their online customer service is not available on the weekends as well, if I understand this correctly?

    It would be great Mark,if u can give me a brief run down,so to speak as to what the process would be and how it works from the initial sign up until I can start using fongo home phone,a s I am a but rusty when it comes to today’s up to date technology/communication lingo,so to speak as I have not been in the market since 2009 with regards to updating or getting new products and services!

    Currently i do have a regular landline and high speed internet!

    Thanks for the great job you are doing on this site,to help us out as potential/existing customers!!!

    Reply
  28. Just in the process of switching from Bell (rhymes with ..) to Fongo. We have a temporary home phone number till our old # gets ported, one cell number on 2 iPhones and another number on my desktop application. Can’t figure out why I have all these numbers, rather confusing.
    All the calls I’ve made on cell and home lines are totally clear and crisp. Haven’t had reason to use any of the features yet but they’re a gift compared to Bell’s $10.00 call answer, another $18 I think for call forwarding & call waiting.

    Reply
    1. I suspect you have different numbers since one applies to your Home Phone vs. Cell Phone, etc. There is Fongo Home Phone and then there is Fongo Mobile.

      Fongo’s signals are quite crisp. Knock on wood – no issues to date!

      Reply
  29. The issue I have with my Fongo number and SMS (I am a paid customer) is that banks (TD, CIBC at least) cannot call (voice) or send SMS to Fongo. This includes short code SMS (PSMS or Premium rate SMS) and ordinary SMS. Nothing!

    Reply

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