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A Marriage Made in Heaven: Sprint Cellphone + Asterisk@Home = Unlimited U.S. Cell Phone Calls for $5

Last week Sprint announced the availability (beginning today!) of a new add-on for existing and new Sprint cellphone customers. For $5 more a month and a little Yankee ingenuity, you now can make unlimited FREE calls between your Sprint cellphone (or multiple PCS phones if you’re on a shared plan) and your residential phone number regardless of the wireline carrier. In short, your home phone service need not be with Sprint. If you have Sprint home phone service, then the new PCS to Home service will be free. In either case, no cellphone minutes will be assessed for inbound (read comments!) or outbound calls between your Sprint cellphone and your home number … ever. In fact, they’ll show up on your statement as PCS-to-PCS calls which are also free.

For Sprint business customers with a business plan of $50 or higher a month (that’s easy!), you can do the same thing with your business landline for $8 a month instead of $5. Later this year Sprint reportedly will offer business customers the opportunity to expand the plan to up to 30,000 business DID’s. Here’s a link to Sprint’s web site with a comprehensive FAQ and details on how to order the new PCS to Home service. Be aware that this is a new Sprint feature, and you now know more about it than most Sprint reps … so let the torture begin. The first rep we got indicated that it was $5 per PCS phone even on residential shared calling plans. The FAQ on the web site says otherwise, and you’ll probably need to walk them through it or ask for a supervisor.

You might be asking what all this has to do with Asterisk®. Well, plenty! Some of our regular readers no doubt have already figured it all out. For the neophytes, here’s today’s lesson. Connect your home phone line to your Asterisk server with a Sipura SPA-3000 (click here for our tutorial on how to do it). Better yet, switch your home phone line to a VoIP BYOD Plan (see below) and save a bundle. Next, add a little code (which we’ll get to shortly) to extensions_custom.conf to answer incoming calls from your cellphone to your PSTN line, provide DISA dialtone to make an outbound call, and PRESTO! You now can phone home with your Sprint cellphone by pressing a single pre-programmed button on your phone and make outbound calls to anywhere in the U.S. through your home VoIP service without eating up a single cellphone minute on your plan. Your Asterisk system will answer on the first ring and give you dialtone to make the call. It’s that easy!

Sprint PCS Residential Plan Costs. Here’s the math. A basic Sprint cellphone plan: $35. Sprint to Home service: $5. TelaSIP’s unlimited US48 VoIP calls: $15 a month. Home phone number transferred to BYOD plan at BroadVoice (here’s how) or AxVoice (here’s how) for unlimited incoming calls: $9. Unlimited nationwide Sprint cellphone calls: Priceless … and FREE. Total cost for residential home and cellphone service with unlimited nationwide calling: $64 a month plus about $4 in Sprint add-on fees. Remember this gets you unlimited nationwide calling BOTH from your cellphone and your home phones. And you can convert the BroadVoice BYOD plan to an all-purpose second line within your entire state for $4 more a month. This also provides some redundancy when one of your VoIP providers has problems. It happens! — Forrest Gump

Sprint PCS Business Plan Costs. A basic Sprint PCS business plan cellphone: $50. Sprint to Home Office service: $8. Penny-a-minute calls through voxee.com. Unlimited nationwide Sprint cellphone calls: 1.1¢ per minute. Local business line from Ma Bell Jr.: $50. Total cost: $108 a month plus tip and taxes and 1.1¢ per minute in 6-second billing increments.

It’s Not the NFL, But There Is A $25 Signing Bonus. So today your mission is to sign up for a Sprint PCS phone if you don’t already have one. Then sign up for the new PCS to Home service. Now we’ll show you how to hook everything up and begin enjoying unlimited cellphone calls with no per minute charges … ever. Just do us both a favor. If you sign up for new Sprint service, email us your new Sprint phone number the day after your service is activated. With Sprint’s Referral Program, we’ll both receive a free $25 debit card. Doesn’t get much easier than that to earn free bucks. And, if you tell us, we’ll keep your email address on file and pass along other user’s phone numbers for you to claim some referral credits if there are sufficient new subscribers to pass around once we exhaust our authorized dozen referrals for the year. Can’t help it. WE LOVE SPIFFS!

Prerequisites. Before we get started, here’s what you should have already done. Yes, you need a Sprint PCS phone with PCS to Home service. And we’re assuming you’ve already set up your Asterisk@Home server with an SPA-3000 connecting your home phone line as well as a working VoIP trunk (SIP or IAX2) from TelaSIP or some other provider. TelaSIP setup instructions are available here. Instead of an SPA-3000, you can use a $10-$20 OEM version of Digium’s WildCard X100P PCI card to connect your home PSTN line, but read this first. You get what you pay for!

Overview. Our Asterisk design to get this working goes like this. We’ll create a custom-disa context to manage our incoming calls from the Sprint cellphone. Then we’ll intercept all of your incoming calls and route them to this context to check and see if it’s a call from your Sprint cellphone. If it is, we’ll use a dialplan with the specific Sprint phone number to activate DISA and a dialtone for the caller. If it isn’t a call from your Sprint cellphone, we’ll pass it on to your default Incoming Call dialplan. If you’re using our Stealth AutoAttendant, you’d basically route calls which aren’t from your Sprint cellphone to the autoattendant. Otherwise, you let the custom-disa context process the call.

Building the custom-disa Dialplan. Using the Asterisk Management Panel (AMP) from your web browser pointed to the IP address of your Asterisk server, choose AMP->Maintenance->Config Edit->extensions_custom. Move to the bottom of the file and insert the following code:

exten => 6781234567,1,Answer
exten => 6781234567,2,Wait(1)
exten => 6781234567,3,Authenticate(123)
exten => 6781234567,4,DISA(no-password|from-internal)
exten => i,1,Goto(from-pstn-timecheck,s,1)

Replace 6781234567 in each of the four lines above with your Sprint phone number. If the little Mrs. has a Sprint phone, too, duplicate the first four lines and enter the next Sprint phone number for each of the four lines you added. Then renumber all of the lines so that they’re unique, i.e. 1,2,3,4 becomes 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. Replace the 123 password in each of the Authenticate lines with whatever you wish to use. Remember that it’s very easy to spoof CallerID numbers so you probably do want a password so you don’t sell the farm. If you prefer to live dangerously, delete the Authenticate lines and renumber. IT’S YOUR PHONE BILL! If you take out the Authenticate line, then you’ll get an immediate dialtone whenever you phone home from your Sprint cellphone. The exten=>i entry in the dialplan handles all the incoming calls that don’t match any Sprint phone number that you’ve entered in this context. So, if someone calls you from the White House (2024561414), the i entry in the custom-disa dialplan would process the call and send G.W. to your standard Incoming Calls context. Save your entries when you finish by clicking the Update button.

Rerouting Incoming Calls to custom-disa. There are two places we need to adjust to reroute incoming calls to the custom-disa context we just built. Using AMP again, edit the from-sip-external context in the extensions.conf file: AMP->Maintenance->Config Edit->extensions.conf->from-sip-external. Comment out all the existing lines with a leading semicolon. Now add the following new line and then click the Update button:

exten => _X.,1,Goto(custom-disa,${CALLERIDNUM},1)

Now edit or create an Incoming Route for your home phone number using your real number instead of 6781234567: AMP->Setup->Inbound Routing. Click the Submit Changes button when you finish and then click the Red Bar to reload Asterisk.

  • DID Number: 6781234567
  • Caller ID Number: 6781234567
  • FAX Extension: AMP default
  • FAX Email: blank
  • Immediate Answer: No
  • Pause After Answer: 0
  • Privacy Manager: No
  • Destination: Custom App custom-disa,6781234567,1
  • Testing Our Masterpiece. We need to make two calls to be sure things are working properly. First, store your home phone number in your Sprint cellphone so you can push one button to phone home. Now place a call to your home phone number from your Sprint cell phone. When prompted for your password, enter it and then make your first free call. Second, place a call to your home phone number from some other phone that is not specified in [custom-disa]. This call will be routed to your default incoming call handler or autoattendant. Enjoy!

    Free Samples. Everybody loves free samples. Not sure about TelaSIP, you say. Well, take it for a test drive. Just call our Charleston number (shown in the inset) and wait for the fast busy to hang up. There’s no charge for the call because you’re never "connected." Within 15 seconds you’ll get a return call allowing you to make a FREE 10-minute phone call to almost anywhere in the U.S. All you have to do is key in the password you’re provided when you answer the return call. Keep in mind a few things. You have to call from a phone with CallerID so that we know where to call you back. Both legs of the call (to you and to the person you call) use GSM compression so you’re seeing TelaSIP at its most efficient but not necessarily with the best voice quality. You can set it differently on your own system if you like. And one final note. TelaSIP’s web site doesn’t rate as the fanciest on the planet, but they do have great VoIP phone service at rock bottom prices. And that’s what this drill is all about. But, if you’re still not sold on TelaSIP, check out our other VoIP Provider Reviews.

    Quick Tip. Here’s a final little trick. When you set up your TelaSIP account, tell Gene that you’d like your account set up on gw4.telasip.com so that you can only make calls in the 48 states covered by the free unlimited plan. That’s the way the One Ringy-Dingy service works. Once this is done, it’s pretty safe to remove the password from the DISA script which saves some dialing when making outbound calls from your cellphone. Then it’s just a matter of watching your call logs (AMP->Reports) regularly to make sure no one is spoofing your CallerID number to take advantage of free calling from your server. In short, free calls won’t hurt you financially, and it will take a pretty bright creep to figure out your cellphone number, your home phone number, and to know that you’ve got Asterisk configured to do this in the first place. HINT: Don’t brag about it! In reviewing the logs, if you see someone is spoofing your CallerID number and regularly making calls to places you don’t recognize, then you can always reinstate the DISA password step in your dialplan.

    A Word About Web Hosting Providers. You’ve no doubt seen the BlueHost ads on our site lately. And, as many of you know, we don’t advertise things we don’t believe in. We switched hosting providers for Nerd Vittles about a month ago. So let me just say BlueHost Rocks! If you’ve ever thought about building your own web site either for your business or for your family, do it right with the very best tools, servers, bandwidth, and price. BlueHost has all of that plus a special ingredient that really sets them apart: nice people. Read their ad if you want technical details. But let us save you hundreds of hours and hundreds of dollars comparing literally thousands of providers hoping to find just the right one. You can’t and won’t go wrong with BlueHost. Yes, we’ll be living it up Friday night if you sign up through our spiffy ad links. But, if vendor commissions bother you, go to their web site and sign up directly. It won’t hurt our feelings a bit. They’re that good! And you can get every dime back within 30 days if you’re not a happy camper. They say that professionalism is contagious in an organization. Have a look at the BlueHost CEO’s blog, sign up, and judge for yourself. You won’t be sorry.

    Another Move in the Works. Not to bore you with personal stuff, but … we had so much fun moving Nerd Vittles last month that we’ve decided to move the entire Mundy clan to the Charleston, South Carolina area. As a former Army brat, I was accustomed to annual moves, but we’ve called Atlanta home since the dawn of the PC era 25 years ago. So this one’s a little tougher. But the move gets us closer to my big girls, a great school for our little girl, an hour from the beach house, and an incredible neighborhood that was built the way all neighborhoods should be. Between now and June 1, we have three home closings and lots of packing and downsizing to do. And the Nerd Vittles articles may become (more) sporadic for a bit. But hang in there. We’ll keep our sense of humor, and one day soon everything will get back to normal … whatever that is.

    Nerd Vittles User Map. Nerd Vittles now supports well over 5,000 visitors a day. Two-thirds of you still use Windows. Try this! Over 1,000 a day find us in a Google search result. And about a third of you hang around for over an hour each visit. Wow! Who woulda thunk Asterisk and little Nerd Vittles could grow this big this fast. THANKS for visiting! We hope you’ll take a second and add yourself to our Frappr World Map compliments of Google. Australians and New Zealanders, don’t be shy! In making your entry, you can choose an icon: guy, gal, nerd, or geek. For those that don’t know the difference in the last two, here’s the best definition we’ve found: "a nerd is very similar to a geek, but with more RAM and a faster modem." The map still isn’t quite representative of where all of our visitors are coming from, but we’re getting there. Give it another week or two. Finally, we’re always looking for the best BBQ joints on the planet. So, if you know of one, add it to the map while you’re visiting as well. We’ll check it out one of these days.

    Some Recent Nerd Vittles Articles of Interest…


    1. Your link for sprint service has an 800 number on the site from which the reps know nothing about this PCS-home plan. Best to call directly to sprint 1-800-SPRINT1 and mention "Sprint Home and on the Go" and they all know about this new offer. Mundymeister does it again! Thanks!

      [WM: Good suggestion, but there are still wrinkles. I placed about 5 calls today to the 1-800-SPRINT1 number. None had ever heard of the program. Two were able to find a little information about it. And only on the fifth call did I get signed up. We’ll see what next month’s bill brings. Sprint’s strong suit has never been billing. And, coincidentally, all of the billing errors always seem to come out in their favor. For those that like water torture, this should be fun for you.]

    2. Interestingly enough, I’ve been doing this for months! It works great! Except I’ve gone with a company called Alltel. They have a national extended network that works for me almost everywhere. I would say there are only a few drawbacks to this service. The first is that they allow you to rack up roaming charges if you leave their extended network. The second is that your phone number has to be from the same geographic location to be a free call. If this is a problem, it can be solved by buying a DID that is compatible (from the same geographic locatoin as your mobile number). The third is that there is no kickback for you Mundy! The pricing is similar. You pay $5/month for single line accounts, but it is included free for multiple lines. Check them out, they just might work for you; they have for me.
      Great article!
      P.S. One thing I would like to try with this is unlimited data running through a call to your asterisk box routed to a dial up provider or a broadband connection. I have no idea how feasible this would be to set up, but it would be great sometimes to have a free always on connection to the internet! 😉 Thanks again!

      [WM: Thanks for the alternative. See Comment #17 below about AllTel’s latest offering. Like you said, there’s no kickback, but we’ll make it. If you’re worried about roaming fees, Sprint is a pretty good choice. In addition to a huge network, they also provide free roaming … for $5 more a month. As for unlimited data, you can get that with a Sprint plan (PCS Vision) for $5 a month. If you think they’re stuck on $5, you’re right. But be thankful it’s not $40 like some of the others. And then there are companies like Cingular and Verizon. They like to charge for these add-on’s by the phone. For example, for high speed data service, Sprint charges $15 a month for all the phones on your family plan. Cingular and Verizon charge about $40 PER PHONE for their Internet service. We’ve used the lower-speed data service of Sprint for years, and it works great with low density web sites. Also makes a nice dialup networking (DUN) backup (at no additional cost!) for your notebook PC when travelling. Not so good with sites like Nerd Vittles. The low-speed ($5) service is about double the speed of a 56K modem if you need a point of reference.]

    3. Thank you for all of your extremely informative articles. I have one question, in most of your articles you always have at least 2 VoIP providers. Is this strictly for backup purposes, or are you unable to find one provider that will provide (excuse the pun) you with the whole shebang?

      [WM: In our book, backup providers are a must-have. After all, it still is the VoIP Wild West. Many providers also have problems setting you up two accounts on a single Asterisk server.]

    4. How would a plan like this work for international calls…like say to Jamaica….and heck while I am at it is there a way to get free or really cheap cheap calls to Jamaica cell.Phone cards are a shameless ripoff and Voip isnt cheap either…

    5. Excellent instructions. I have have one question. If I want to call my wife at home and want her to pickup the phone to talk, does it work in this case? i.e. I do not want dial another number when I calling home. Thanks.

      [WM: You have a couple options. The simplest is to get a free DID from Stanaphone (search this site for stanaphone) and call that number to get through to your home. If you want to call the home phone number, then you’d need an AutoAttendant with options for ringing extensions or DISA (search this site for autoattendant).]

    6. To answer Gary’s question: if you can find a VoIP provider with a plan that includes Jamaica at acceptable rates this would certainly work as well.
      As for cheap calls to non-US/non-CDN cell phones, pretty much everywhere else wireline to cell calls are drastically more expensive than wireline to wireline. The reasons are historical: in North America, when cell service started, every call cost "airtime" — whether it was an incoming or outgoing call. This paid for the cost of building the cell grid. A wireline caller paid no more for a call to a cell phone than for a call to a wireline. Also, cell phones shared the same numbering space as wireline.

      Everywhere else, cell phones were set up with special "area" codes (provider specific) and the principle of "being called is free" was maintained for cell phones. Thus the extra cost of building the infrastructure was partly shifted so-called "interconnect" fees which wireline providers had to pay for each call to a cell network — which they shifted to their customers. Thus calling cell phones is almost everywhere more expensive than calling wireline.

      And guess what — VoIP providers/terminators wanting to terminate to a cell network in these countries ALSO have to pay the interconnect fee.

      So good look in your search for cheap calls to cell phones anywhere outside North America — depending on the country and the interconnect fee allowed by its regulator you won’t find anything under 10 cents to many destinations.

    7. It took a while to find this offer but I finally succeded with the 6th or 7th person I spoke. Ask the rep at Sprint PCS to check in "what’s new" or "Sprint to Phone" on their website otherwise they’ll tell you that the offer you are looking for has expired (Sprint Home and on the Go). The prior offer only offered Sprint PCS to Sprint Home Phone Numbers; the new (Sprint To Home) allows any number So I was told. The rep at Sprint PCS did confirm that this offer is exactly as stated on this website. I’ll try calling my home number to see if my minutes are deducted from my plan.

    8. Ward – been surfing high and low for more free DID’s… and the latest find is http://www.freedigits.com – AND they toss in 60 minutes of free outgoing as well. Pretty simple to set them up as yet another DID too.

      I?ǨѢve got about a dozen Stanaphone numbers running on my box for friends and family, and several of the FreeDigits also (a couple of my buddies travel extensively and have found that giving out "disposable" numbers is real nice to mask their cell numbers – course I?ǨѢve got to set them up with a similar deal to this blog – giving them a dial-in, masking the caller ID outgoing based upon their cells CID, and whola!

      Good luck in the move… let us know how you like it as we may be neighbors in the not too distant future.

    9. Cool. For folks that would like to get this capability without quite as many hoops and without needing Asterisk, we now have a free public beta of this feature for PhoneGnome owners. http://www.PhoneGnome.com

      [WM: PhoneGnome certainly has the potential to do something similar with its new API. Same goes for the SPA-3000. But after reading writeups from Om Malik, PhoneBoy, and Alec Saunders as well as others, I’m not sure it can yet be said that you "get this capability [with PhoneGnome] without quite as many hoops" as using Asterisk. Admittedly, I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed, but trying to find a straight-forward explanation of how you’d do phone hopping from your cellphone to your home phone to a third party phone with PhoneGnome is still sufficiently hidden in the Ether that I never could find it, and I jumped through dozens of hoops looking for it. Tell us more, and we’ll publish it for everyone to read. Or, better yet, send us an evaluation unit, and we’ll wrestle with it and report the results.]

    10. On the My PhoneGnome site, which is the PhoneGnome owner’s easy to use dashboard/portal to VoIP features and functions, there is a ‘Features’ page, and there, one simply activates the feature called ‘MobileGnome’ and they are taken to a page where they enter the phone number of the phone they wish to use to access PhoneGnome remotely (in this case their Sprint mobile number). This is a new feature, still in beta, so it’s not on the marketing materials yet, but it is easy to find on the My PhoneGnome site, which is very familiar PhoneGnome owners.

      [WM: Thanks. Sounds great, and I will contact you directly about evaluating the product for our readers.]

    11. Don’t forget about using FWD and then k7.net for a Seattle # that you can call incoming from PSTN for free.

      [WM: My recollection is that you lose Asterisk control of the DID routing with this approach, but it does work. Thanks.]

    12. Update: Viewing my Sprint charges the last few days, it doesn’t look like the calls from HOME to the Sprint phone are being treated as free despite what the ads suggest. We’ll know for sure when the first real bill hits. In the meantime, it’s probably not a good idea to rack up 10,000 minutes calling your cellphone from your home phone.

      Further Update: See the next comment. The problem was that Sprint had misconfigured the feature completely. Once properly configured, calls in both directions from all phones on your shared plan should be free.

    13. My Sprint To Home minutes weren’t being deducted at first either, then I called Sprint and apparently my home phone needed to be added elsewhere in Sprint’s system. Once the rep did this (not sure where she added it) them minutes were deducted from the Sprint To Home Plan. They did offer me a 30 minute credit for all of those minutes that weren’t deducted the first time.

      So, if your are not being deducted right away, then something is not right and is better to call right away instead than the end of the month; why wait for surprises?

      [WM: Thanks for the heads up. You’re correct. Ours was set up incorrectly as well. How do you know? Go on line and look at your bill and see if any minutes are showing up in the Sprint to Home column for each of your lines. The hint for the PCS rep on the second location is for them to go into the Maintenance screen and then choose the S2H or M2H tab and look for Sprint to Home or PCS to Home. That’s where your home number needs to be entered. If you are on a family plan, you also must specifically request that the option be added to EACH phone number, or you’ll still be charged for calls to home from the other phones on your shared plan. This is free if you ask and is now documented on the same web page FAQ referenced in our article (which the Sprint reps cannot access since it’s on their Internet site rather than their internal site). Thanks for the tip!]

    14. For Xin: In new zealand we have a system where you pickup the phone, dial 01927 and you are presented with a second dial tone to make the call. The purpose of this is to withhold your number so the caller ID shows annonymous at the other end. This is also avaliable on cellphones here so if you were to dial home using the caller id withold system in your area, your wife would be able to pickup because asterisk doesnt know its you calling, and wont handle the call.

    15. This is amazing! Now let’s say I have unlimited incoming calls only, is there a way to call home allowing Asterisk@home to recognize my cellphones caller ID and automatically call me back with a DISA dialtone so I can make an outbound call from my cell? Also is there a way to have Asterisk@home recognize more than 1 cellphone number?


      [WM: Both are easily accomplished. Our free calls service (see the Free Samples section in the main article) does exactly that. Supporting multiple cellphones is just a matter of watching for the CallerID of each phone. We’ll cover the code to do both in a few weeks… while we’re packing.]

    16. By the way, welcome to Charleston. I need to get over to the pleasant side of town sometime for some geocaches… will look for the nerdhouse 🙂

      [WM: Thanks, Tom. We were down with the first UHaul this past weekend for the big I’On Bike Race. Nice place. Can’t wait. We’ll get back to hitting the bricks by mid-June hopefully. I’m already tired of moving.]

    17. AllTel now has something better on the cellphone plans costing $59.95 or more. You get inbound and outbound for 10 free numbers (which you can change as often as you like) instead of just your home phone line (which Sprint has to change). You do have to be in their calling area, but it sounds like this is the case with Sprint as well (see next comment).

    18. I decided to make the switch to Sprint and give this promo a try. One thing I can’t figure out as of yet is if when in a roaming area if Sprint to Home mins can be used. It appears in my current usage that while in roaming Sprint to Home mins don’t apply and all calls use the anytime mins even though there are no roaming charges on my fair and flexible plan. Can anyone back this up?

    19. I did it without Asterisk. Thought adding Asterisk might be more than I wanted to do. Found a VOIP company that has a Cellular bridge as part of the UNLIMITED service. All you do is tell Sprint that this is your Sprint to Home phone number and then sign up at http://www.voicestick.com

      Set the bridge with your cell number AND also set the call forward at http://www.voicestick.com to your cell number.

      Now, from your cellphone, just out call to your voicestick number and it sees your caller ID and instead of ringing the line it gives you a dial tone, with unlimited min. Works the same for incoming calls if you forward your voicestick number to your Sprint cellphone number.

      And, besides the $20 plan, they have a Global deal for only $5 more.

      My total Sprint/Voicestick bill is $55 a month. Plus, I now have a second phone line in my home.

      [WM: Great tip! Thanks for sharing it with all of us. Site says the i2Bridge? service stops being free in July so keep us posted. By the way, what were your Voicestick and Sprint numbers just in case we get a spoofing urge? Just kidding! But do be aware that, with a service like this, if someone does spoof your cellphone’s CallerID (easily accomplished with Asterisk in seconds!), they get free dialtone service and a blank check on your account. That means they can make calls not only to the destinations which are free but also to cruise ships through regional satellite links at rates of $7.50 to $8.50 PER MINUTE! So the first thing you should ask the VoiceStick folks is how to go about blocking ALL calls for which there is a per minute charge. Their first level support folks had no clue how to do this informing us that this was primarily for "non-technical, business travelers." I guess that means they have sufficiently Deep Pockets to not flinch when someone runs up a $10,000 phone bill on their number. Haven’t met any non-flinchers myself, but I’ll post more information if the second level folks ever call us back. Some might consider the risk of someone knowing both your cellphone and Voicestick numbers fairly remote. Well, maybe … unless there is a disgruntled Sprint or Voicestick employee on the loose. All it takes is one, and you’ve got yourself an enormous phone bill with virtually no way to trace the calls back to the creep who made them.

      I tried to email you this response because of the serious security risk involved, but the email bounced because of either a typo in your email address or a fake email address. Mental note: It’s your phone bill! Providing an accurate email address on posts assures that you at least will find out about something like this in the event you never revisit this page. As you can see below, your email address does NOT get published. It’s just for us to contact you in the event of a potentially serious problem … such as the unrestricted bridge feature you have described.]

    20. FWIW, Alltel offers pre-paid mobile service with a $5/mo option for calls TO and FROM a single phone number. Same as the Sprint deal, BUT, no service plan is needed, so truly, a $5/mo unlimited cell service if you route all of the calls through Asterisk.

      [WM: According to Alltel, there’s no longer such a plan. They now have a pay-as-you-go plan for 75¢ a day that permits free calls TO one number, but incoming calls from that number or any other number would be billed at 10¢ a minute in the Alltel calling area.]

    21. Very odd…it was my Alltel rep which told me about this and wanted to try it personally with my VoIP setup. I’ll ask him about it tomorrow.

      [WM: If you discover there still is such a plan, post a web link and we’ll be all over it … especially with college-age daughters!]

    22. Concerning Kevin and his "insecure" VoiceStick bridge described above… If I understand correctly from the VoiceStick site, all calls placed through the service have to be "Pre-paid". This would mean that they would have to be FREE (i.e. included in the calling plan) or the customer would have to deposit funds in advance to cover non-free calls. This should keep Kevin out of trouble. Correct me if I am mis-understanding something… OOPS, stop the presses!! One last review of their FAQ revealed the following cleverly concealed note… "Coming Soon… Shortly, we will eliminate the pre-pay system and simply bill you monthly for all calls outside your plan." … This could spell disaster for Kevin in the long run…

    23. Another question concerning VoiceStick. I saw this in their FAQ as well "You can connect with two other parties at the same time so that the three of you can talk at once. And you can increase your calling circle with up to as many as 8 callers. (Depending on local bandwidth and CPU Speed)" … would this mean that if you were able to get them setup on Asterisk you could configure them for 8 channels? If so that would be awesome for $19.99/mo unlimited…

    24. On standard Alltel which has My Circle (10 numbers free) on plans 59.95 and up. Or 1 line with a Alltel account with two lines ( considered family plan) But for poeple with a alltel post account who only have one line of service and under 59.95 can pay 5 dollars a month extra for what is known as MOC (Most Often Call) number. This is not to be confused with Alltel Prepaid. But Alltel postpaid accounts that is under 59.95 and only have a single line of servive.

    25. Still using the VoiceStick.com deal. I figure between my $125 on my old Cingular plan, plus using this same service AT THE SAME TIME for my home long distance, I am saving about $135 a month, or put another way about $1600 a year, which means I would need to earn about $2300 a year to get the $1600 after taxes.

      That is a ton of money in my book when you consider I am making even MORE calls than before!

    26. Super article, One question, Can we use same VOIP account to accomplish this job ? which means when asterisk get incoming call at my home number from my cell, it will active disa ,give out dialtone and forward call out using exactly same voip account ? because that way I will only need one VOIP line ( save little), and when I forward other calls to my cell, since I am using same VOIP account as outbound trunk, sprint will see home number and treat it as free.

      much appreciate help

    27. What a great article. As soon as I get my new asterisk box up and running I am going to test this for a few months before dropping my plan down to lower minutes.

      I have an interesting piece of information to add as well. Recently I was doing some testing with my sipura phone adapter. I set up my wife’s cell phone number with ENUM (ei64.org). I could call out using my sipura and my dial plan would check enum and then dial my line 1 (voicepulse) directly. I had forgotten about it when today my mother in law called. She asked why I was answering my wife’s cell phone. I told her that I wasn’t that this was the home phone. Then it hit me that verizon was using enum.
      You may not think this is very interesting but it got my wheels to turning. I wouldn’t have to tell all the people that call my cellphone to call a different number. I could set it up in enum and have it forward to the specific trunk in asterisk then asterisk would of course forward it to my cell phone using the phone number that I setup with "Sprint to Phone". I am sure that not all service providers are using enum but for the one’s who are it will save you some minutes on your cell.

      [WM: Excellent addition. Thanks.]

    28. The Voice stick thing works great!

      The i2bridge is hot!

      BTW I just saw they are giving away a free incoming number and a $5 trial out calling credit

    29. If you live in one of the areas serviced by MetroPCS, they have a no frills local calls only flat rate plan for $30 per month. This includes both incoming and outbound calls and the basic plan doesn’t even offer voice mail to get in the way.

    30. Would your incoming calls on your cellphone show who is actually calling you or would it show your home phone number?

      [WM: If you’re using a VoIP provider that allows you to adjust CallerID, you could set it to the number of the person calling. That’s what we do with TelaSIP and our One Ringy-Dingy service, for example.]

    31. I am doing the voicestick.com thing. Works great. Started with the free account with a $5 credit, now I an doing GLOBAL UNLIMITED for $25. What an insane thing. If only the general public know about it. DON’T TELL THEM !!!!!

    32. Ok, just about ready to give this a go – just a few more questions. (You should really think of opening up some forums if you don’t already have them.)
      1. Telasips $15/mo plan will only let me make one call at a time? i.e Me and my wife wouldn’t be able to use the cell phone making outgoing calls at the same time? That’s not a dealbreaker but would be nice.
      2. Can I spoof my outgoing caller id with telasip through asterisk to display my cell phone number? I would only want to do this when calling into my asterisk server from my cell phone so the person I am calling would see my cell number. I think I am just going to go with the $39.99 free incoming calls so everyone can still call my cell phone number instead of a new number.
      3. Does anyone know of a way that we can add our sprint to phone number in front of a contact’s number in our sprint phonebook and then have it wait for a few seconds until we have a dial tone then dial the contact number? For example I remember some years ago I had a free voice mail number. To check it it I had it programmed into one of my speedial numbers on my phone. I had my speed dial setup to dial the number and then wait a few seconds for it to pick up and then enter my passcode. Is there a way to do this so I don’t lose the function of my phonebook on my sprint phone? (This could be a dealbreaker if it weren’t going to save me almost $50/mo.

      If voicepulse would just let me port my numbers over to Telasip this would save me almost $70/mo. I regress.

      Thanks for the info again. Love the site/blog.

      [WM: For #1, use multiple providers or multiple TelaSIP lines. For #2, we’ve covered that on the blog. Just do a little googling. For #3, most cellphones support a pause code that will do what you need. The Treos certainly do. Good luck.]

    33. I am using voicestick. It works great until they disabled my account without telling me. I called them and they said I use too many minutes. I purchased $25 unlimited world plan and my Sprint shows I used 330 min of mobile to home. So, voicestick disabled my account becuase I used 330 min in 3 days, with my "umlimited" plan. What in the world?!

      I am confused with your Asterisk@Home solution. So you mean I will use TelaSIP for unlimited incoming/outgoing fordwarding with my Sprint mobile phone, right? If this is the case, what is the second VoIP (Broadvoice) for? I assume Sipura SPA-3000 is for using regular phone calls to VoIP. If I configure TelaSIP to do call forwarding to my mobile phone only when no one answering my home phone, then I don’t need the second VoIP service, isn’t it?

      btw, how much is international charge with TelaSIP? I can’t find those info on their website.


    34. I am using about 2200 minutes a month with Voicestick for maybe 3 months now. It saves me a ton on the cell (about 90% of the mins. go with Sprint). I assume like most VOIP companies there is a limit to the Unlimited. I know I am running close, as I see posts on broadbandforum about others having cut off problems at around 2500 min a month.

      SOMEDAY some legal type will go after one of the big boys and question the "unlimited" hype.

      I figure mine comes out to under 1 cent a minute on the out bound and that is still a deal. Love my Voicestick service

    35. Anyone configured this with the updated trixbox 1.1.1? I configured the basic box ok but haven’t problems with this Sprint thing. Can anyone send me the changes if they got the new configuration figured out? Ward, can you update? Thanks.

    36. I’ve setup as directed above. Call my home phone, enter the passcode, get a "dial tone"… I then enter a number to dial and wait… It then makes a busy signal and hangs up. What could be causing this? I’ve tried pressing "#" after entering the number to dial as well…

      [WM: DTMF problem. Don’t know why.]

    37. I’m trying to use the TelaSIP trial/sample above with my sprint phone. For some reason, the return calls always go straight to voicemail. I’ve tried two different sprint phones and they both do it. Perhaps sprint is redirecting the invalid caller id call (555-555-5555) direct to customers voicemail?

    38. I was Googling ‘Nerd Vittles’ for my coupons site and, after ending up here, I wanted to trackback. but for some reason, trackbacks are not working at the moment…keep up there..

      [WM: Not only are they not working at the moment, but they’re not going to work ever because of folks trying to sell crap like video poker, prescription drugs and… Dell coupons.]

    39. I am a newbie to TrixBox/Asterisk. I have set up TB using these instructions

      It basically works fine except, except I am now trying to work the last kinks out.

      The most annoying problem is that there is a significant lag in making the connection when an outside line dials the home phone, before the cell phone rings, or picks up. Lets say I am initiating a call to the home/cell destination. from the moment I hear the phone ring in the earpiece, till the cell starts ringing it is maybe 5 seconds. Once someone answers the lag in speech is minimal, and perfectly acceptable.

      If no one answers and the cellphone voicemail pick up, then the caller actually hears the message, a couple seconds into the recording.

      These lags are waaaay longer than if I had called the cell direct. I knew there would be some overhead, but this is pretty annoying.

      Now for details:
      1) I have installed trixbox (1.2.3 and 2.0.0rc2) on a virtual machine, running as the guest OS under an ubuntu (linux 2.6.17 kernel) host running on a 2.4Ghz Intel machine with 640 MB memory. I have allocated 256MB to the virtual machine.

      2) I am using les.net for the VOIP provider.

      How can I reduce that lag?

      [WM: Linux (Ubuntu) time slices for everything. VMware takes its turn. Don’t know if there is a way to bump up the time slice allocation or not, but it works wonders on a Windows machine running VMware with TrixBox. My suggestion would be to try it on a dedicated Linux box and compare the performance.]

    40. Can I spoof my outgoing caller id with telasip through asterisk to display my cell phone number? I would only want to do this when calling into my asterisk server from my cell phone so the person I am calling would see my cell number. I think I am just going to go with the $39.99 free incoming calls so everyone can still call my cell phone number instead of a new number.

      Any suggestions on this… I’d like to know if it’s possible too.

      [WM: The answer is YES. We need a better word than spoof which implies pretending to be someone you’re not. You actually can do it in both directions if you want to. Outbound cell phone calls through Asterisk could display your cellphone number, and inbound calls to your Asterisk system that are forwarded to your cellphone could display the inbound caller’s number instead of your home number.]

    41. I bought Linksys 3102 instead of Sipura 3000 to replace my Sipura 2100 that I have been using with Broadvoice for 2 years .My VOIP does not work anymore. Nobody at Broadvoice seems to be able to help me .One tech support told me it might be a firewall …..but I check , I do not have a firewall. Another told me that the Linksys 3102 does not pull or work with the Sipura 3000 configuration.
      After this I still have to configure the whole thing to do my outbound calls.
      I followed your instruction ,I have Sprint with free incoming and the "Sprint to Home " service.
      Please help me

    42. I’m really excited to read about the Sprint cell phone and home phone’s ability to marry. However, I’m bummed that I have Cingular and am signed into a 2 year plan. When do you think Cingular might come up with the same deal? Or…..do you know of a way the same thing will work with a Cingular plan? Thanks

      [WM: Cingular (now AT&T) actually has a plan that beats the socks off the Sprint plan. Instead of rollover minutes, you can opt for their AT&T Unity Plan which lets you place unlimited, free calls to anyone (wireless or wired) on the AT&T network. Assuming your home phone service is also through AT&T, your Cingular phone can be used to make unlimited calls to that number. And once connected to your home phone system, you can make dial-out calls through any VoIP provider you desire without incurring per minute charges from Cingular or AT&T. Better yet, next Friday you can add an Apple iPhone for the best of all worlds. Good luck.]

    43. I currently have tmobile, and am wondering, do they have any plans which can allow my family to do this, i have 3 phones in my family plan. I wanna make it so my sis can call whoever she wants and still have unlimited minuites. ill try to get more information

    44. WM, thank you so much for this. I’ve been using the Sprint to Home service combined with VoiceStick for about a year. I’ve slashed my cell phone bill in half, to about $65/month. Nerd Vittles rocks!

    45. I actually have done this with t-mobile. I thought of it myself, even though I assumed other people have thought about it as well, and it turns out that people were at least a year and a half ahead of me. But anyway, it works with MyFaves just fine. I have even gone as far as allowing it to dial just by pressing the first 3 letters of the persons name that way I dont have to remember the phone numbers I want to dial. If I have multipes with the first 3 letters it gives me a directory listing with press 1 for and 2 for etc. This does mean I have to record the menues myself, but I know with AsteriskNow, and likely Asterisk@Home, it is very easy to do so.

    46. This a response to the #19 reply: In order for an outsider to use someone else’s i2Bridge account they will need to not only know the VoiceStick number (easy), they’ll also have to know that person’s i2Bridge password (not easy).

    47. Does this work with pbx in a flash?
      For some reason i followed all the directions but when placing a call from my cell phone it just rings without giving me the option to input the password.

      [WM: It will, but it may need some tweaking to support Asterisk 1.4. We’ll have a look shortly.]

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