And paid doesn't mean expensive. There are plenty of cheap service providers out there.
I pay about $3.30/mo for unlimited calling and e911 service ($80 for 24 months of service). I can't remember the name of the company off hand, but it was the VOIP service that Obi offered and was later bought out or changed to a different company. I honestly only think about it once every 24 months!
Things are getting less friendly in the VOIP world. We've had a couple of numbers on https://www.openphone.com/ for awhile now. Really nice interface. They are using Twilio under the covers.
BUT, things have really gotten ugly regarding the ability to send messages. This isn't the fault of openphone or twilio, this problem applies to ALL voip providers.
All the mobil carriers have gotten together to "solve" the problem of messaging spam. See https://www.campaignregistry.com/. They are all supposedly weeks away from rejecting messages from unregistered numbers.
The problem comes in that they assume that ALL VOIP numbers are "a business". There are 2 ways to register a business. One is to provide a bunch of info including an EIN (tax # for businesses). The other is to register as a Sole Proprietor using a real mobile number. Either way this TCR organization verifies the info. And if registering successfully as a Sole Proprietor only ONE of our voip numbers will be accepted - any others can't be registered.
My family is using voip for personal purposes - not as a business. There is no way to register a voip number that way. I've tried to register as a Sole Proprietor but it rejects my mobile number (T-Mobile prepaid). They (openphone) are still trying to figure out why.
If one gets registered successfully there is an initial charge (~$20 I think) and then $2/month to remain registered.
I'm all in favor of cleaning up spam messages but the way they've done it sucks. It's like they want to prevent individuals from using voip for personal purposes. As in - get your phone service directly from us instead.
Consider yourself lucky if you're on voip and haven't been hit with this - yet. I suspect it's coming soon.
For those having trouble using voip numbers for verifications...
I've used https://www.smspool.net/ successfully for several verifications. Costs a small amount per verification. You get a temporary number to use that's only valid for the duration of the verification.
I've used it for Google account creation a couple of times. Sometimes I have to go through a couple of numbers before it works. You only get charged if the verification code arrives.
Not very comfortable with the burner number approach for verification, since someday, I may have to verify again (mostly concerned about services I use on a regular basis). Might be useful for temporary accounts tho.
Thanks for the info on campaign registry. I actually had to read the details multiple times just to believe/digest how bad this is, this is one big expensive mess (example 1, example 2, example 3).