VOIP, or voice over internet protocol, is an increasingly popular way to save money by placing phone calls over the internet. One provider offering a unique and innovative VOIP phone service is Ooma. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Ooma’s features and how it compares to other popular VOIP phone providers.
Ooma is a unique VOIP service provider that facilitates free local and long-distance calling anywhere in the continental United States. And when we say “free,” we mean free; the only price you pay is your purchase of an Ooma Hub (the signal converter box) and an optional Ooma Scout (remote unit for another phone in the home). No monthly fees, no hidden charges; just one purchase and that’s it.
How Does It Work?
Unlike its competitor Skype, Ooma is primarily home-based. When you purchase the Ooma Hub, you plug it into your broadband connection. You then plug your regular telephone into the Ooma Hub and you’re ready to place a call.
If you have other phones in your home or you want two lines, you can purchase an Ooma Scout. Simply connect your phone to the Ooma Scout, then connect the Ooma Scout to a nearby phone jack.
Ooma Features and Service Plans
As stated previously, there is no per-month fee associated with Ooma VOIP phone service. You pay only for the Ooma Hub and nothing more for the lifetime of the unit.
Ooma’s features package is very impressive. You get all of your familiar features including voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, and enhanced 911 emergency dialing. You also have the option of porting your current phone number to Ooma for a one-time fee of $39.99.
For even more features and customization, you can purchase Ooma’s Premiere service which runs for $12.99 per month or $99.99 per year. With this upgrade, you get enhanced voicemail, three-way teleconferencing, personalization, and a second phone line. You also get your current phone number ported to Ooma for free.
Though Ooma offers enhanced 911 emergency calling as a standard feature, you won’t have telephone service if your electricity goes out. Ooma’s answer to this problem is to retain your landline phone service or use a cell phone. Thus, like all VOIP phone services, Ooma is not a replacement for your current phone service.
The Bottom Line
At $249.99 for the Ooma Hub, Ooma’s up-front cost is higher than MagicJack, Vonage, and Skype. In theory, the higher front-end pricing makes Oooma worthwhile because no monthly fees are charged. In order to break even, you need to own the Ooma Hub for 12 years as compared with MagicJack ($1.66 per month/$19.95 annually) or 10 months as compared with Vonage ($24.99 per month/$299.88 annually).
Thus, the bottom line with Ooma is determined by two factors: 1) how long you plan to stay in your home and use the service; and 2) how many cell phone minutes (thus money) can be spared using Ooma. For example, if you have a family with kids and you’re spending $300 monthly on your cell phone bill, you may quickly surpass Ooma’s initial cost of $249.99 in savings on your cell phone bill.
In all, Ooma is a unique, award-winning VOIP phone service that offers numerous features and the freedom of not having to deal with another monthly phone bill.