I’ve recently cut one of my phone lines from AT&T and transferred it to Republic Wireless. The phone is configured to make calls and send messages over wifi and use the Sprint network (Verizon roaming) when no wifi is available. $10/month buys me unlimited everything on wifi and unlimited voice and text on cellular (no cellular data). So far, I’ve been pleased with the service (once I figured out how to white-list wifi networks).
Enough of the shameless promoting. When I received my new phone and service, I naturally wanted to test the reception quality of both the voip calls and cellular calls as well as the phone’s ability to switch seamlessly between the wifi and cellular networks. But who to call?
What I needed was somewhere I could call and listen to hold music or something similar. Actually, in those first days I called my cable company and let them put me on hold for a long time. I had to hang up before someone answered, of course. The solution that I’ve since found is provided by a service called AudioNow.
AudioNow broadcasts different audio feeds directly to certain telephone numbers. Usually these are amateurish radio stations. One can call the number and listen to the broadcast on their cell phone for as long as they’d like, from what I can tell. This is a great way to test your cellular or voip reception without having to harass your cable company.
The AudioNow website (http://www.audionow.com/featured-access-numbers/?lang=en) has a list of a few featured numbers (VOA, UN, CSPAN, BBC, etc.) and a google search of AudioNow will turn up more. The AudioNow twitter feed (https://twitter.com/AudioNowUS) also lists new additions to its customers. For example, here are numbers one can call to listen to the BBC:
The above numbers have an Iowa area code and as far as I can see, all of the 10 digit numbers are US based, so if you’re in the US, they shouldn’t cost you as international calls. For persons outside of the US, the AudioNow service operates numbers in other countries as well, though I haven’t found or tested any.