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Need Caller ID from Telco?

Started by gerry, February 18, 2011, 12:31:53 PM

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Stupid question, but I assume you still need to have Caller ID enabled (and purchased) from your telco to be able to use Caller ID. I'm trying to keep a landline around at minimum cost. I don't need call forwarding now that I have OBI, but I guess I still have to pony up for PSTN caller ID ($9+/month from Verizon)...



Unless you want to use Circle of Trust (relies on callerID) on the PSTN line to get to the AutoAttendant of the OBi, you don't need to have CallerID service from the Telco.



set up similar to what we described in the other thread you can make it work without paying for caller id.

The caller id info is sent with the call, it just depends on whether the delivering service shows it to you. If you don't pay for the service your telco won't let you see it even though it is there. If you let GV deliver the call they will allow you to see it for free, right.

-set the obi to forward all pstn calls to GV
-do not put your pstn line as a forwarding phone in GV

when a call comes in on the pstn line it will immediately forward to GV and GV will return the call on SP1 and the phones will ring. GV supports caller id so you get it for free, right. The pstn line doesn't ring the phones from the Obi as the Obi is just used for forwarding the call.

and the voicemail situation is taken care of at the same time. You can still put the number in the contacts and have a special group/greeting for it. It won't go straight to VM though as it didn't ring at all before the forwarding. It will ring on all the forwarding phones until GV VM takes it.

Will that work?
you can set the same GV account on both SP1 & SP2, don't know if that will be needed or if it will help.

That will save the cost of caller id and call forwarding from the telco. And you might, I know I can, get a metered plan instead of a set monthly fee where you pay for all outgoig calls and incoming calls are free. Make all your outgoing calls on GV so you basically pay for no calls, jsut the really low monthy fee.

if I knew how to forward the calls I would try it out right now on mine.



Thanks for the approach. I'll play around with it when I get home tonight and let you know.



to me it is the same as if you were calling your GV number from your pstn.

but figuring out how to actually get the call there is probably the challenge. if I use sp2 to send the call to GV will GV see the incoming call as coming from sp2 (which is another GV number) or will it see it as coming from the pstn line.


Quote from: jimates on February 18, 2011, 01:00:09 PMThe caller id info is sent with the call, it just depends on whether the delivering service shows it to you. If you don't pay for the service your telco won't let you see it even though it is there. If you let GV deliver the call they will allow you to see it for free, right.
If you subscribe to CallerID service from your PSTN phone company, the calling number is sent over your line via Bell 202 tones (an old modem format) between the first and second rings.  If you don't have CallerID, the phone company doesn't send the calling number to you at all.  The OBi has to listen for and decode the CallerID info, which won't be present if you don't have CallerID service, and therefore can't be used during any call forwarding.

Most VoIP providers do not let you set the CallerID on outgoing calls.  This is also true for Google Voice.  When you forward a call through the OBi, you're making an outgoing call and bridging it to the incoming call, with the OBi staying in the loop for the duration.  The OBi may try to set the CallerID on the outgoing call if it knows the incoming callers number, but it's going to fail in virtually all cases and the called party is going to see your phone number.


I just tried it out, and as Ron points out, there is no caller id info if the telco doesn't provide it. Looks like I'll need to re-add the feature. I do have metered service, and the only features I had on the PSTN were Caller ID and Call Forwarding. At least I can save on the Call Forwarding (which will pay for the awesome OBI by itself ;)
Also, I looks like you do need 2 GV accounts if you want to have a PSTN line backed with Google Voice Mail.
Otherwise any calls from your GV phones go straight to the Google Attendant. I want to be able to call my daughter at home, using my GV phone, for example.


Otherwise any calls from your GV phones go straight to the Google Attendant

not if you set each one to not allow allow direct access to voicemail. I can call my GV number from any of my forwarding phones and it rings all the other forwarding phones.

GV web page > Settings > Voice Settings > Phones > Edit > Show Advanced Settings >Voicemail Access = NO
if you do want to call and access the google attendant you must press * when it starts to ring.

and on this forum they said you can set the same GV account for both sp1 & sp2 for conferencing or forwarding or something.

my test
incoming call on my pstn is forwarded by the Obi (using sp2) to my main GV number (sp1). sp2 is another GV account. The call comes in on my main gv number (sp1) but the caller id is the secondary GV number from sp2.
GV account for sp2 shows a call placed to my main GV number (sp1)
My main GV account show a call came in from the secondary GV number

So even though the pstn line has caller id it is lost when tsp2 "places" the call

update: can't set up sp1 and sp2 for the same GV number and forward. sp1 sees the caller id from sp2 (which is the same) and sends the call to the google attendant.


I have Nettalk. It does not work well with Google Voice whe used as a forwarding phone (answers all calls) but it does work well with the Obi. it has call forwarding itself and it does pass the caller id through to GV. So if I set it to forward to GV, in it's own settings, I do get the caller's caller id at home on my Obi's sp1.

However I can't set up GV to auto answer as I described before if I do that since it passes the caller's caller id through.
If I use the Obi to forward the call on sp2 I can set it to go straight to VM because GV gets the caller id of the sp2 provider every time. I could still go into the Nettalk call details to see the caller id for sp2 forwarded calls.

Nettalk costs $30 a year after the initial purchase of $70. I got mine during a 50% off promo.
It has all the basic features including E911 & free 411
They are suppose to start offering number portability soon (reports said early 2011)

I bought it after I dropped my landline because I need a way to dial in from my Replay PVR to get programming every night via a modem. It works well for that. And is much more flexible and has s better UI than MagicJack. Mo settings for MJ voicemail, can't turn it off or change # of rings from 3.

And then there is the addition of Nettalk TV coming late 2011.

Nettalk Duo Features
Free local & long distance to U.S. and Canada
Free calls to any other DUO worldwide
Free U.S. phone number
Voicemail to Email
Free 411 Directory Assistance
Enhanced 911 Service
Caller ID
Three Way Calling
Free Call Waiting
Call Forwarding
Online Customer Account Management Application
Live Tech Support with our TALK Experts, 7 days a week
Ultra-Low Cost International Calling


I think maybe you guys are onto something here and don't realize it, you're just not thinking it through.

In order to get Caller ID from the telco you're probably going to have to pay them for some extra service. This is one reason a lot of people are dropping landlines - it's a B.S. fee because the phone companies get Caller ID number information for free.  Name lookups are a whole other matter (which is why Google Voice doesn't send them) but numbers are delivered on every call, and if you don't pay to receive them then the phone company just doesn't pass the information along to you.

But in some places, Caller ID is charged at 2 to 3 times the rate for any other "custom calling" feature.  So here is a method that would likely work (though I don't guarantee it):

1) Make sure you have a Google Voice number that is a local call from your PSTN line.  If you're not sure, you may be able to get the information from your telephone company, from tariffs on file at your state PUC/PSC (which in many states are available online), or from - or you could just place a test call from your PSTN line to your Google Voice number, then wait a month or two and see if it shows up on your phone bill as a toll call.  This won't work if you don't have or can't get a local Google Voice number. Don't actually apply for a new Google Voice number (if you would need to) until you complete step 2.

2) Call your phone company and ask about Call Forwarding service.  What you want to know is whether you have it on your PSTN line, and if so, is there a charge for each forwarded call.  If they say yes and yes, ask if there is a way to pay a monthly charge to avoid the per-call call forwarding fee (which is often outrageous compared to the flat monthly charge that eliminates the fee).  If they say no to the first, ask if you can get the feature and be sure to verify that if you pay a monthly charge, there will not be any per-call charges associated with using the feature.  N.B. If you are on a "measured" service line, where you pay for outgoing local calls, you will pay the same rate for forwarded calls (even if you have to pay a monthly rate for call forwarding service), making this a far less attractive solution!  If you can pay a flat monthly rate to get no-charge call forwarding, and you aren't on a measured service plan, then have them add the feature.

3) Once the feature is added to your line, set up call forwarding to forward all your calls to your Google Voice number.  The phone company always sends the called number on forwarded calls, so Google Voice will receive it and send it to you, via your Google Voice connection on SP1 or SP2.  For outgoing local calls you'll still use the LINE port to send them directly to the PSTN line.

Remember that many states give you a grace period to cancel an added feature without charge if it doesn't work as you expected it to.

If for some reason this won't work, you could try Plan B:

Go to and enter the area code and first three digits of your PSTN phone number and click the Search button.  Note the company name (should be the phone company that provides your PSTN service), then note the "Rate Center".  Click on the name of the rate center (NOT the actual words "Rate Center", but the NAME of the Rate Center in the column below) and you will get a list of all other companies that offer service in that rate center (in the Company column).  If you are lucky, one of those companies may offer competitive PSTN service and they will throw in Caller ID for free (and possibly many other perks). Such companies can port your existing PSTN number and in some cases provide service over your existing landline, so as far as you're concerned nothing changes except the company you send your (probably lower) monthly payments to each month.  Of course there are clinkers out there, so be sure you do a Google search on any company before switching over, so you don't find yourself doing business with the "telco of the damned" — I don't want you to be mad at me  >:(  for suggesting this.  As with most other types of businesses, there are reliable competitive local phone companies and then there are a few real stinkers.

This assumes that you don't want to port your existing PSTN service over to a sip-based service.  If you are willing to do that, and if you're not in a rural area and/or served by some small independent telco, then there may be additional options available to you by using a VoIP provider that allows you to "Bring Your Own Device", or one of the companies supported in the OBiTALK portal.  I don't think I've ever heard of a commercial VoIP provider that charges extra to deliver Caller ID, and many of them can port existing telephone numbers.
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