The Drawbacks to Toktumi/Line2 in Canada

I’ve written about the great Toktumi/Line2 (I wish they’d settle on one brand name, really) VOIP service before. It’s a cost-effective, easy-to-use way to make long distance phone calls from your mobile device.

You sign up, get either a toll-free or local number in Canada or the US, pay a flat monthly fee ($10 for a local number, $15 for a toll-free number) and then you can make calls within North America at no additional cost.

I’ve subscribed to it for a while now instead of subscribing to a long distance plan with Bell. However, I’ve never adopted it for general use. I’ve never shared my Toktumi/Line2 number with friends, family, or business colleagues.

Two things prevent me from doing this:

  1. text messaging is not supported with Canadian numbers, and
  2. your phone number is not displayed accurately on call display systems outside of the US.

Both of these shortcomings unfortunately make Toktumi/Line2 unacceptable for general use anywhere outside of the US.

Call Display

Call display is a telephone owner’s single-most valuable defense against telemarketers. Most of us depend on it to identify who’s calling us, and then use that as our primary decision-making factor in whether to answer the call or not.

There’s an unwritten rule that we all seem to subscribe to: Do Not Answer Unrecognized International Calls.

Why not? Because 9 times out of 10, it’s a telemarketer.

For example, as I wrote this, a call came in one my iPhone. It looked like this:

Would you answer that call? No, me neither. So I didn’t.

Unfortunately, Toktumi/Line2’s numbers only represent themselves accurately on call display within the US, and only when you’re using a US-based phone number.

If you subscribe to a Canadian number with Toktumi/Line2, your number will be displayed on the device of the person you’re calling as an international call, even if you’re calling locally.

For example, say you subscribe to the Vancouver number 604 800 3719 with Toktumi/Line2, when you call someone it will display to them like this:

Would you answer that call? No, me neither. And that’s my own Toktumi/Line2 number.

If you take a few moments to “parse that string”, that is, break it down into its separate parts, you might recognize the Vancouver area code. But nobody does that. Most of us would see the “+64” and instantly dismiss the number as illegitimate.

That’s a huge drawback to using the Toktumi/Line2 service in Canada: when you call people, it’s likely you’ll be perceived as a telemarketer and your call will be ignored. It’s happened to me on many occasions, in fact.

One other major drawback to your number being displayed incorrectly? People can’t call you back. If they do, they end up making a long distance call to a foreign operator who informs them that the number they’re calling is invalid.

Text Messaging

Simply put, Toktumi/Line2 only supports text messaging on US-based numbers within the US.

You can’t text to or from a toll-free numbers, and you can’t text to or from a Canadian number.

That’s a huge drop in value if you’re outside of the US.

Using Toktumi/Line2

For folks in the US, Toktumi/Line2 holds tremendous value and utility. You can call and text all you want around that country for next to nothing (you can make calls to Canada at no additional charge, too). It’s a sweet deal.

Unfortunately, the service for us folks outside of the US is less enticing. You can’t text, and your phone number is misrepresented to the recipients of your calls.

That said, it’s still a great cut-rate long distance telephone service. If the people you’re calling are willing to risk answering a call from an unrecognized international number. And that’s a big if.

12 thoughts on “The Drawbacks to Toktumi/Line2 in Canada

  1. That’s a shame. I was looking for a way to get rid of bell. I’d like to have my actual home phone number forwarded to my cell phone when I’m in a wifi hot-spot so I can use my wifi connection to answer the call while preserving my cell phone data and voice minute.

    SkypeIn is not that great in Canada either !

  2. I got to this post while trying to find a workaround. My ex husband lives outside of Canada. Often, when he or his family try to call me up here they can’t get through. I was wondering if this service would allow me to have a number that wasn’t an 867 number and therefore more reliable for receiving international phone calls. I can’t seem to find any information on this though. Do you have any helpful advice?

    • It’s a great service in general, but it excels with US-based services. The points I make here aren’t deal-breakers, they’re just issues to consider when using Toktumi in Canada. I’d say if you get a US number and your husband is in the US, then go with it. If he’s elsewhere, Toktumi does offer excellent long distance calling rates. I like this service, I just don’t like the drawbacks of its service in Canada. They give you a 30-day free trial, which is well worth doing.

  3. I’m disappointed! I was looking at getting line.2 with new phones and no longer have to be tied up to 3 yr contracts with any of the leading companies in Canada. We’ve had awful luck with the phones and upgrading just goes into a new 3 yr contract, not to mention extra costs of getting out of old contract, and could end up being stuck with another phone that is a lemon!

  4. hello all I have had line 2 for a few years now and as of early 20011 i have a local toronto number and it displays normal. this coment is true for the 1888 # but local #’s are fine.

  5. I have been using the LINE 2 service for 3 months. We went to Finland and Sweden for 10 days at the end of april. I called home everyday from WIFI hotspots and it worked flawlessly and I was not charged a cent. In fact I had my iphone in airplane mode the entire trip and only enabled the WiFi service on my phone. You can do the same thing from anywhere and not worry about a $1000 cell phone bill when you get home. So, Line2 has i’s benefits despite it’s short comings.

  6. Line2 recently added unlimited text messaging to the US and Canada. It works as I tried it. They also now show your local number along with your full name. Obviously they must have changed a few things. The only issue I have is it’s crashed a few times on start up and some of the calls went straight to voicemail. Hopefully this will get sorted out at some point.

  7. I’ve been using Line2 since June 1 2012. Caller ID reflects my actual 514 number and US/CAN text message service was enabled June 15 (beta)

  8. I interject that there is no text messaging supported by line2 outside the US. Another thing, the call display works flawlessly any time I have used my line 2 both to and from the number. There is one flaw I am not keen about and it is that it places data based calls so when I am moving it is hard to keep a clear signal. So far I think it is a good idea.

  9. I’ve been using Line2 as my exclusive phone line for a month now.

    I’ve dropped my voice line entirely and got a data only plan with bell (5gb “iPad” data for $35 a month from bell). I had my old number switched to line2 from rogers (sent it the paper work and they switched it in about a week). The upside to the service is the price. It costs $10 a month for the basic plan, or $99 a year (about $8 a month). So I get voice with long distance, texting and 5gb of data for about $42 a month. You can’t get that package from any provider for that price. Also, because I paid the $99 upfront, I only pay the $35 every month now.

    The downside to line2 is the occasional quality dips. You have to make sure you have a good signal, you pretty much need 2-3 times the signal strength of a standard voice line. I live near a large city so this isn’t usually an issue. With that being said, it does sound good to great generally. You have to remember to log into the app if your phone is turned off then back on again or you won’t receive any calls. Services like this can’t make 911 calls, so I have to keep that in consideration.

    Another downside and this is apple’s fault (for the iphone, don’t know about andriod) is the limited ability it has to customize and alert. Vibration is limited to one quick buzz and you can’t customize ring or text sounds (perhaps with a jailbreak tweak). Also, I recommend changing the notification to popup rather than banner as banners are easy to miss.

    It might not be the best solution for everyone but as heavy data user and a light caller, for me this is an amazing option for the price. Also, because this is a flex data plan and no contract I only get charged for what I use. If I’m traveling I won’t be charged at all.

Comments are closed.