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Ooma Review: Frugal VOIP Home Phone Service
Posted By melissa On 07/11/2012 @ 2:06 pm In The Home | 6 Comments
Home phone service can be costly, running a minimum of $25 to $30 a month. Once you add in long distance, you are looking at $35 or more a month. Some people try to eliminate this cost by moving entirely to a cell phone for both their mobile and home needs. However, if you want to keep a home line, consider using a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) system; one we have used (and are still using) is Ooma Telo.
Ooma Telo allows you to make your phone calls using your internet connection. However, unlike Skype, you still use your hand held phone. In fact, the service is almost identical to a typical phone service, except it is much cheaper.
Ooma Telo is simple to install. Simply input the activation code from the box on the Ooma website, pick your new phone number, give your personal information, connect Ooma to the Internet and restart your devices.
You can purchase an Ooma Telo device on Amazon for about $199. I purchased ours at Costco for $179. While that seems costly, and it is, keep in mind that Ooma will often pay for itself in just a few months. We were paying $32 a month for our landline; now we pay just $3.99 per month to use Ooma. (There is a monthly fee of approximately $3.99 for the most basic services; add in extras like three-way calling and call waiting, and you will pay approximately $13.99 a month.) That means Ooma is saving us $28 a month at a minimum because long distance calling within the U.S. is also free with Ooma. Our device will pay for itself in 6.5 months of use. After that, we are saving that $28 every month for as long as we have Ooma.
International calls are not free with Ooma unless your caller also has an Ooma. My husband frequently calls his family in Japan, so if they start using an Ooma, those calls will be free. In the meantime, Ooma offers international calling packages. Using the package, our calls to Japan are billed at .043 a minute. (Rates vary by country.)
In addition, you can keep your telephone number for a one time fee of less than $40. Although it is a pain to switch to a new number, we decided to do that to avoid this additional fee.
I looked into several land line alternatives before deciding on Ooma in large part because you can still call 911 with Ooma.
I have only noticed two drawbacks with Ooma, and one of them is my responsibility.
To save money on our Internet bill, we lowered the speed and quality of our Internet. Unfortunately, this does sometimes interfere with our Ooma phone quality. While I rarely have trouble on my end, the people I talk to sometimes complain of loud static. (You can go here  to see if you Internet speed is fast enough to support Ooma.)
Another drawback is that Ooma offers a free trial of the premier subscription for 60 days. However, if you don’t cancel this subscription, you will be charged for the premier subscription every month. It took me a few months to realize this and change to the basic subscription.
With so many different VOIP options, there is no reason to pay full price for your landline, unless you want to. Ooma is easy to install and offers quality service at a discounted price.
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