Pager/Voicemail alternatives? [Telecom]

For years I've maintained a pager/voicemail account and gave out that phone number to companies and others I didn't want to talk with on their terms. It's been sort of a mobile answering machine: the pager would beep, I'd call my pager number from my cell phone, listen to the message, and call them back if I wanted to.

But the price of paging service from USA Mobility (formerly Arch Paging) has increased to about $20/month, so I'm looking for a more affordable alternative.

Instead of a pager, what's a good affordable service that would give me a local voicemail number (215 area code) that would notify me of new messages via SMS or email? A nice plus would be the ability to archive these voicemail messages as files on a web-based service for future playback. (It would all have to cost less that $20/month to be feasible.)

Thanks much,


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Vonage will do this, as will most of the other VoIP services. Vonage's 500 minute a month plan comes in just under $20 with taxes and fees in the Philly area. It includes voice mail, voice mail notification via email, web access to voicemail plus a phone line with lots of other features.


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Use a prepaid phone service like Virgin. See

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If you allow automatic charging to your credit card, you pay $15.00 every 90 days.

So it winds up costing you $5.00 a month.

It gives you free voice mail.

If you are interested, I could give you my affiliate code that would give you some free time or money. Email me at

Many plans to choose from, I have 18¢ PM at all times and text messages at 5¢. I have Gmail send some of my Emails as TXT msg to VM so I know if my photo lab has my work ready to pick up. Lab's computer automatically send Email when work is ready.

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According to the Virgin Mobile Terms and Conditions: <

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" Virgin Mobile phones and phone numbers may not be used for pager or voicemail-only service, and Virgin Mobile may terminate any account if usage is limited to pager service or voicemail retrieval service. "

So you'll have to make/take a few calls here and there to stay in compliance.

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Herb Oxley

Good thought. I'd suggest Lingo's "link" service which is $8/mo plus the usual nuisance fees with no bundled outbound minutes (calls to 800 and other Lingo users are free) and voicemail which you can set up to forward to e-mail. It can send you just a notice, or the actual message as an attached mp3. Since I am a geek, I have my mail system set up to recognize the incoming voicemail alert, pick out the interesting bits, and send myself an SMS via Clickatell, but that is perhaps overkill for normal people.

A straightforward way to archive them on the web would be to forward the messages with attached voice files to a gmail account, where Google will keep them indefinitely.

I checked, they have lots of 215 numbers available. If interested send me a note, they have a referral deal where we both get a $25 rebate.

Regards, John Levine,, Primary Perpetrator of "The Internet for Dummies", Information Superhighwayman wanna-be,

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ex-Mayor "More Wiener schnitzel, please", said Tom, revealingly.

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John Levine

Take or originate twenty calls a month @ 18¢ each for a total of $3.60.

Another nice thing is if you don't agree to a monthly plan, you only pay regular City sales tax in NYC not the 18% on monthly plans.

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