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Verizon Wireless expands its Home Phone Connect service

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Verizon Wireless expands its Home Phone Connect service
Do you remember the Verizon Wireless Hub from two years ago? If not, we can't blame you, as it was discontinued only after a few months on the market. It was an interesting concept, if it were 2001, but was a bit overpriced for a VoIP phone, and didn't really offer anything new that smartphone or PC could do.

A couple months ago Verizon Wireless began trials of it's newer home-phone service called Home Phone Connect in the New England area, but starting today it has been expanded to the rest of Verizon's territory. But unlike the HUB that required a connection to your home's broadband connection and used VoIP, the Home Phone Connect is simply a CDMA transmitter and receiver that connects your house phone to Verizon's CDMA cellular network. Sounds simple enough, right? The installation instructions say that all you have to do is install the back-up battery in the bottom of the device (in case you lose power), connect the antenna to the back, and connect your phone to it using a standard RJ11 telephone cord (though it doesn't say if you can plug the Home Phone Connect right into your wall-jack so it will send service to all connected house phones in other rooms). It also comes with Voice Mail, and you can use call waiting, call forwarding, 3-way calling, call return (*69), and has built-in GPS for emergency 911 calls. There is also Caller ID, but according to the User Manual, it will only show the incoming caller's number, not their name....just like when using a cell phone.

The Home Phone Connect device retails for $129.99, but you can get it for $49.99 with a 1-year contract, or Free with a 2-year contract. Now here's the interesting part, you have to be a Verizon Wireless customer to buy it, and can either add it to your Family Share plan for $9.99/month (which uses your cellular plan's calling minutes), or you can opt for the $19.99/month unlimited calling plan - which to us sounds like the better way to go, as who wants to use the cell minutes when using a house phone. You can also port over your current home number, or apply for a new one. But keep in mind that the Home Phone Connect does use Verizon's CDMA network, so if you're in a area where you get poor cell reception inside your house, you may be get the same reception on this device as well. The provided information doesn't specify if you can use the Home Phone Connect in conjunction with the Verizon Network Extender - but were guessing probably not.

We're not sure if this device will catch-on, or be a dud like the HUB. The pricing of the device and $19.99/month for unlimited home calls is competitive, but you're using Verizon's CDMA cellular network for your house phone. Depending on where you live, this may be a good or bad thing. If you have a home broadband connection (such as Comcast) you can get an eMTA VoIP modem from them, which costs about $5/month to rent the hardware, and $20-35 month for the calling service.

source: Verizon Wireless

Verizon Wireless expands its Home Phone Connect service

23 Comments
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posted on 17 Feb 2011, 06:30

1. Dom (unregistered)


It's crazy that people just can't let go of their home phones.

posted on 17 Feb 2011, 08:36

2. Gawain (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


Yeah, I mean, why do people want to hold on to that ages-old twisted-pair wired technology that has bullet-proof reliability and instant-E911 recognition and still costs a fraction of any other communications medium out there?

Seriously. As great as all this whiz-bang wireless gear is, it has significant shortcomings. If a tower loses power and doesn't have sufficient back-up generation to keep going, no phone for you. If a CO for the phone company goes down, the back-up lasts days and the telcos can respond quickly because all the COs are in ready-access areas, there aren't as many as there are cell towers, and if the power stays down, they can replenish their generator back-ups.

How many dropped call does one get on a wireline? Most telcos offer far more cost effective options. It's a matter of personal priorities, but if I have to make draconian cuts to my budget, the land-line will be the last to go.

posted on 17 Feb 2011, 19:00

3. cElly (unregistered)


My landline is $24.87/month but I can't dump it because I need the number. $9.99 for an extra line with no equipment cost sounds like a bargain to me.

Just the TAXES on my landline are more then $9.99 a month...

posted on 18 Feb 2011, 00:46

4. Gawain (Posts: 304; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


Remember, that's $9.99 to allow it to use your plan minutes. If you're a light caller, it can work for some. In the end, a $100/month smartphone bill, plus $9.99 or $19.99 for this service equates to discretionary spending. I'm not bashing the service, but its value proposition is not one of strength, but convenience. For less than Verizon Wireless' most basic voice plan (450 min, $39.99/mo + tax), you can get basic landline, and shop dirt cheap LD or even include unlimited LD. It's not as sexy as a cell phone, but again, it's relevant in the current economic climate.

I see some folks sharing how they're barely scraping by, while mom, dad, son and daughter are all sporting iPhones or a Blackberry...a quick adjustment could save them close as much as $4,000.00 per year. Copper isn't whiz-bang, but it's reliable, affordable, and there are almost never any contracts.

posted on 25 Feb 2011, 07:46

6. Josh (unregistered)


Where can you get a basic land line plus unlimited long distance, for under $20/month ? Short lived discounts, don't count.

posted on 22 Feb 2011, 07:52

5. 3MTA3 (unregistered)


I don't know who you have for service but I pay close to $80 a month for basic land line service through AT&T in Connecticut. I am considering this - at $19.99 a month I would be saving $60 a month! I have four bars on my Droid in the house so service shouldn't be an issue. The only concern I have is the phone line running to my Direct TV - I wonder if the HUB can connect to the phone jacks of the house and enable them to have service. Hmmmm

posted on 27 Feb 2011, 21:44

7. hwertz (Posts: 1; Member since: 03 Feb 2011)


I cancelled my landline when I realized it had gone up to something like $28 a month and that was with NO long distance. Of course, Qwest has a monopoly over the copper here so that probably doesn't help a bit. I don't think "most" telcos do offer far more cost effective options.

As for reliability.. *shrug* The sites here *are* generator backed. COs *are* more robust than individual cell sites, but the sites are robust *enough* that I have not had service problems. I've dropped *1* call at home in 7 or 8 years, and that was when a tornado was going through town..but, I redialed and got right back through. My parents have a landline and have actually had several prolonged outages due to backhoes cutting through the copper in their neighborhood. I don't sweat it one bit not having a landline.

posted on 02 Mar 2011, 07:34

8. BobD (unregistered)


My Mom lives in S Folrida and this plan could be a way to save her some money. Time to add her to our Family plan for $9.99. She makes very few calls and likes to talk on her Land line. She is not into the wireless technology at the moment

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 12:14

9. Dan20m (unregistered)


Does anyone have experience with this service yet and found it is cheaper than the basic land line with taxes? THe taxes on my land line are more than 20 month in New York.

This sounds like a good budget option (if I didn't need internet capaibility) but I have DSL for internet service which requires a phone land line service to use the DSL. So, unless I can get DSL without the additonal phone service or cheap intenet without the land line phone connection, it probably wouldn't help once I pay for the land line phone service to enable the interenet DSL.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 15:45

10. Bearsdale (unregistered)


Just got it about a week ago for the $19.95/month plan. Like all the other comments, it replaces an AT&T landline that was costing up $35/mo just for local service. Our house if fairly close to a Verizon tower so the call quality is nearly indistinguishable from a landline call. Since both my wife and I have VZW mobile phones, we can now call home without using our plan minutes too. My wife won't have to worry about running out of minutes on days when she needs to talk to everyone on earth on weekdays before 9PM.

My wife was a technical issue by herself. She now has to dial all 10 digits to call! She was concerned about power outages since we live in a rural area - the box had a battery backup. The days of losing AT&T landline service for days are gone!! Today it dropped a call on her! If had been her cellphone she wouldn't have mentioned it but this new device got her going. So explaining to her that it may look like a cordless phone it's connected to a cellular device hopefully did the trick.

Porting our AT&T number to Verizon Wireless went nearly flawlessly except no one notified us when the change took place so 24 hours went by when incoming calls met a dead end.

The only two problems/complaints so far are the ring duration and being able to connect to my in-home circuit. When the phone rings the ringtone is about half the duration we received from AT&T, it's more like a ring when someone hangs up at the last minute. Technical support had trouble understanding the complaint and managed to change the rings to 6 before voice mail picks up.

The other issue is the inability to connect to my home wired circuit. The users manual alludes to the fact that it can be done if you disconnect your home circuit from the AT&T lines. I made the disconnect and plugged the #2 jack into a regular wall jack with no luck - tech support said it couldn't be done in contradiction to their own written instructions. I guess I'm going to have to buy another multiple handset cordless phone system unless someone can explain how to connect to the home wiring.

posted on 10 May 2011, 10:38

11. Gen (unregistered)


I've been using this Verizon Wireless home device for a few months wo I could take advantage of the low rate yet still enabling me to make unlimited long distance calls. The caller id feature has become an issue. It does not work like a cell phone like the information says. On a cell phone, if your incoming call is in your contact list you do see the name of the caller only the number. On the home device, there is no caller name shown even if your phone has contacts saved in your directory. I have tried numerous times to contact Verizon Wireless about this through phone calls and email, but no solutions or help. I don't even know if they are working on the issue for sure since they don't reply to my email. The last tech I talked to said that if not enough people have a problem with this or don't email them about it, then it will be a low priority. I find it hard to believe that not having caller id is a low priority. Anybody else encounter this problem and/or found a solution yet?

posted on 28 Jun 2011, 12:50

14. TM (unregistered)


I have had the same issue with a 2007 Uniden home phone. The caller ID worked with my old carrier and displayed the name applied to the number from the phones directory; however now that I have switched to a Verizon Home Phone Connect unit the caller ID will not display the name assigned in the home phones directory. I made sure that the telephone numbers in the home phones directory reflected the 10 digit numbers which show on all wireless units and the caller ID still won't show when a call is received and the person is in the home phones directory. Verizon Technical and Customer Services have been unable to help me.

posted on 16 May 2011, 00:22

12. T-Dog (unregistered)


I found a solution to the caller-id issue. You need to connect the unit to a home telephone that allows you to store names and numbers in a directory. Then the name will display on incoming calls if the callers name is stored in the HOME telephone. Many nicer home phones do this, I use a Nortel / Aastra Venture telephone, and it works great. Of course if the incoming call is not in the phones directory, it just shows the number only

posted on 28 Jun 2011, 13:58

15. TM (unregistered)


I have had the same issue with using a 2007 Uniden home phone as Gen stated above.
See Replay by TM to Gen's post where your suggestion did not fix the issue in this case. Verizon needs to acknowledge they have an issue to correct for their Customers.

posted on 18 May 2011, 12:04

13. iphonefamily (unregistered)


this phones look simply rocks….. am i rite guys?????and it works nicely...

posted on 07 Jul 2011, 16:47

16. PD (unregistered)


We have had Home phone connect now for 4 months - no problem with service- until 2 weeks ago - calls connected but with alot of static, then no service, then intermittent -but poor at best. I called verizon and tech said sometimes Verizon sells to a different provider - since their closest tower is 5 miles away ( we live in a remote - white mtns- NH ). Cell phones no longer work at my home - have to drive 1/2 mile down the road! I need phone service but was told this could take 7-8 days - recalled 3 days ago - and told the tech order got bounced back - and will have to be resubmit. They Will not let me cancel contract - without penalty _ even though I have no service - and it appears has been contracted out to another provider!! We have 5 lines on the family plan and a customer for over 15 years. Tech was rude. Called time warner for a landline - will take 15 days to get one. Unbelievable! I'd like the tech to go without a phone for a day..

posted on 17 Jul 2011, 14:39

17. interested (unregistered)


Good,informative discussion. Looking at finally dropping my LW. Wife worries. Have a newish Panasonic home phone setup that integrates with the cellulars just fine. CP service at home is great.

Got the pitch from Vz for this additional as I am looking to upgrade phones and service and drop my LW. Lousy explanation about the technology. Looked it up on the Vz website and that also couldn't be more vague. FINALLY, after reading this I understand that it is basically what I already have. Just another add on I don't need but the extra service could be worthwhile.

I either;

Clone my old cell phone to my home, then cancel AT&T and keep that cp connected to my home system for another $10-month [all using my Vz minutes plan].

Conversely, I add the Vz Home Phone Connect for $20-per month for unlimited service using my home number and not infringing upon my cellular minutes. This would save me $10/mth over upgrading to Vz $30/mth Unlimited [Ignoring the one time equipment charge and having to have yet another device cluttering up my home].

Not bad. THANKS for your comments, everyone.
JR

posted on 24 Jul 2011, 15:21

18. Marilynmq (unregistered)


I am having a problem with hearing the ringer on the Home Connect. I am using the same Motorola remote phones that I used when I had a traditional land line. Anyone else had that problem? Can you hook into your existing home wiring? I see some have tried but no one has had any success?

posted on 02 Aug 2011, 20:50

19. jean (unregistered)


the only service offered where I live (for land based phone is Frontier at $47.00 just for basic service) so when I got a new cell plan I was interested in this and decided to go for it..signed up for the 2 year plan and got the device for free..still waiting for the home number to port over but no big deal as I have my cell...this should save me a lot of money and Frontier is a nightmare to work with and the bill kept going up...I decided on this because my home phone is more comfortable to chat on than my cell LOL...we shall see how it works...

posted on 27 Sep 2011, 00:29

20. GregB (unregistered)


Has anyone tried to connect an outdoor antenna to their base? I know it already has an external antenna, but cell service in my home is not always good. If I could have an outdoor antenna, I would think that would really boost the signal.

posted on 08 Oct 2011, 07:46

21. Linda (unregistered)


Have had the phone connect for a little over a week now and seems to be working ok.. We live 'way out in the country' and was not sure if it would work .. am glad to have the 14 day free trial period. Took the modem thru the house to find the spot that had a strong, constant signal.Can only get one bar but that is all my cell phone gets and it works just fine...
Am in Verizons Extended area so I had to take my modem to another area to be in their 'Network' to activate my set which worked out fine.
At&t has our area sowed up and was not able to port our home # number of 41 years.. that was a bummer.. if this is a problem double check with tech to make sure your number can be ported. Was able to connect to home wiring.. so all our phones work thru out the house including the corded phone. Had to disconnect the jack on the outside of the house then connected to jacks on the inside and it set up an in house wiring system.. :-) I also used 'my' cell phone to make a few phone calls in advance to make sure it was picking up calls... :-)

If the sound seems too loud or echoing... you are able to re-adjust volume by turning on phone .. press ##1 then press 1thru 4 .. then press * ... modem's default is 4 ..the loudest. You will hear a single confirmation tone that it was successful. Info is in small User Manual booklet ...
Was paying about $56 to $57 for local/longdistance with At&t .. with Verizon will be paying about $31 with taxes... same program but cheaper.. Yea!! (Our state seems to have some of the highest taxes around.. ugh!)

posted on 26 Feb 2012, 15:52

22. terry76308 (Posts: 1; Member since: 26 Feb 2012)


I recently signed up for the Verizon Home Connect. This unit is in my elderly mother's home and as a current Verizon customer, calls to that location which was once off net is now a mobile call. The store employee setup the device and all I had to do once I arrived at the installation location is to remove the AT&T wires at the NI interface box and then plug in the Home Connect to a wall outlet. All the phones in the house work well with this new service. Since Verizon now offers caller ID name for this device at the monthly rate of $2.99, this service is more like the landline she is accustom to using. The factory default audio level is set to max but the instructions clearly state the programming procedure to make the necessary changes. If we go on vacation or if mother needs to return to the hospital, the Home Connect service can easily travel to any location where Verizon has coverage.

posted on 17 Apr 2012, 17:42

23. richpara (Posts: 1; Member since: 17 Apr 2012)


My experience with home phone connect was a disaster. I tried it earlier this year, hoping to get rid of AT&T for good. But it didn't work, although I do have a Verizon cell phone and that works well in my home. But HPC? Dropped calls, bad audio, people unable to reach me. Disaster. Had to go back to AT&T, and the switching back and forth cost me money. To add insult to injury, Verizon hit me with a $35 restocking fee for their box, even though they couldn't make the service work. AVOID!!!

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