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Home » Best of, Frugality, Reviews

Ooma Review: 1 Year After Making the Switch

Last updated by on 124 Comments

Update: I have updated this post for 2014 and have now been using the Ooma for almost 5 years

It’s been just over a year since I made the switch from Verizon to the Ooma (for land line) and Net10 (prepaid cellular) and I wanted to provide a comprehensive Ooma review. I had been paying $60/mo. with Verizon for cell phones for my wife and myself and did not use a land line at all.

My thought was that if I could drastically reduce my cell phone usage by having a land line, I could lower my cell phone bill significantly by switching to a lower minute prepaid plan. And I did just that – I have cut my total phone bills for two cell phone plans and the Ooma land line to just $30/month. The Ooma was essential in that transition, so I wanted to give a comprehensive review for you to determine if the Ooma might make sense for you.

In this Ooma review, first, I wanted to give a recap on what the Ooma is, for those who don’t know and get into the rest of the review so that you know everything you’d want to know about the Ooma.

What is an Ooma?

oomaThe Ooma is VOIP hardware that you plug in to a modem. It allows you to make free domestic calls, low priced international calls, and use a variety of other features. It differs from other VOIP services in that you pay for the hardware and have very limited or zero monthly fees vs. higher fees like traditional land line telephone service. It works without having your computer turned on. You just plug  any regular phone into the Ooma unit.

What About Ooma International Calls?

If you make calls internationally, you really have an opportunity to save money over cellular and land line phone service. You can view the latest Ooma international rates on their site, but at the time of this post, calls to Canada were $0.014, UK – $0.03, China – $0.025, and Mexico – $0.07 per minute.

Ooma Telo

The Ooma Telo is the latest Ooma model. It replaces the Ooma Core system. The Telo has bluetooth, USB, and cellular integration and a few other hardware advancements. You can also buy the compatible Ooma Telo handset, which is not compatible with Ooma Core. However, any old phone will work with either unit.

Once you pay for the Ooma Telo unit, all calls are still free of charge. However, there is a nominal service charge per month now that covers regulatory compliance, 911 service fees, and a federal universal service charge taxes. Through a Ooma tax calculator on their site you can calculate what your fee is. Still cheap as heck and better than any alternative out there. Here’s what it came up with for my zip code:

ooma_fees

Ooma Setup

Anyone (who has a modem and high-speed internet connection) can do it. The basic setup looks like this:

how_to_setup_an_ooma

It’s really that simple, you plug your phone into the Ooma (in the middle) and your Ooma into a modem. You choose and activate a number online, and you’re ready to go. As stated earlier, you DO NOT use your computer at all in the connection.

Ooma Features

Other than providing you a connection, the Ooma does provide some nifty free features.

  • Caller ID
  • Call Waiting
  • Voicemail (also can be listened to online)
  • New phone number (available for most area codes)
  • Free in-network calling (for international calls)

You can also port in your old landline number for a one-time fee of $39.99.

You can upgrade your features for a monthly fee to Ooma premier. Upgraded features include conferencing, forwarding, call blocking, and one free number porting. I haven’t used these features, so I can’t tell you if the upgrade service is worth it or not.

Service & Product Quality

I have not had to call Ooma customer service for anything. Ever. The setup is easy, the hardware has worked beautifully, and the acoustics are incredibly clear. There was one time over the last year that service was down (for an hour or so) and Ooma was very respondent and transparent about what caused the problem and how they were going to fix it. I have zero complaints. If you check out Ooma’s Amazon reviews,you’ll see the Ooma Telo has 4.5 out of 5 stars after 3,700 reviews. That speaks for itself.

Where to Buy Ooma

You can purchase Ooma at a number of retailers and on Ooma’s site, but the lowest price I have seen recently was at Amazon for $125 (w/free shipping) for the Ooma Telo. This is the lowest price I have ever seen it at (I purchased it way back when it was $250). The associated Ooma Telo handset sells for $59 on Amazon and just about everywhere else. There is also an Ooma wireless adapter that allows you to call for free wherever you can find wifi.

As an update, Ooma occasionally offers referral coupons to existing customers that I get now and then. Check out my money saving products page to see if I have any current referral coupon codes for Ooma.

Final Thoughts

They really have made a great product that I have recommended to a number of people and would recommend to anyone looking to cut their phone bill. 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a frugal, monthly-subscription hater’s dream. Check out the Ooma at Amazon for more.


About the Author
I am G.E. Miller, & this is my story. My goal is financial independence ASAP. If you share that goal, join me & 7,500+ others by getting FREE email updates. You'll also find every post by category & every post in order.


124 Comments »
  • Tara says:

    Thanks for the review of Ooma! I did something similar, but with Vonage. I wanted something that was free to call anywhere in North America, which would allow me to continue using a prepaid cell phone. The Vonage service costs me about $20 per month right now, but even with how frequently I call Canada, I think that Ooma would be cheaper. I guess Ooma is something to consider when my year with Vonage is up.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Hi Tara. Definitely – if you figure $20/mo. is $240/yr., your Ooma would be paid off within the first year and then free thereafter. It feels good to know that you’re not paying every month and saving money.

      • Robert says:

        Okay, I had some similar goals as far as the financial independence, also freedom from Big, corporate Verizon with their signature bad customer service. However, it’s not really true that there’s no monthly charge. OOma hooked me up with a free trial “premier service” which essentially just makes it work efficiently, without warning me that in something like 3 months (I don’t remember exactly how long) I’d automatically be charged about $17 a month. When I complained they turned premier off and now it’s $6.99 a month. I think that my internet provider (which you need for OOma) charges less or around the same for better results. One thing that’s happened now without premier service is that I need to wait a silly long time period between calls or I get the aggravating message “The instant second line is not available without Ooma premier service.” No wonder they sneak the free premier trial in on you when starting, makes you mistakenly think that Ooma standard service works better than it actually does.Wow, what a racket!

        • Erc says:

          I have complained about the message “The instant second line is not available without Ooma premier service” several times, but Ooma claims it is the fault of my phone not signalling promptly to their server that I’ve hung up. I find that hard to believe, and now I find it even harder to believe now that someone else has the same problem. But … I’ve learned to live with it, although it is extremely annoying.

        • Gadgetgirl says:

          Their is no monthly charge from Ooma, what you are paying is taxes and mine are under $4 so $6.99 sounds like a lot. If you got one of the original Oomas, you wouldn’t even be paying those.

      • Gordon Klau says:

        Mr. Miller,
        I’m considering buying Ooma telo. How much of my home telephone’s functions will still work? Will voice messages go into the phone, or be shortstopped by the telo, or go into both? Will I be able to dial out using the stored contacts on my home phone, and if so, do the local numbers need to have the area codes added? I have a home phone system with 9 total handsets (8 satelites). Will I be able to call out and receive calles to them like I do now? Is there a downside to having the internet signal wired from the router and not be between the modem and the router? Do I have to adjust the router configuration if I wire it this way? Sorry for all of these questions, but Ooma’s help line didn’t help. Thank you in advance.
        Gordon Klau

        • Dave says:

          All your home phone systems should work fine with the Ooma. You can set the Ooma voice mail to answer in up to 59 seconds, so your own phone system will pick up first. I have mine set up after my integrated phone/router and have noticed very few quality issues, although I haven’t tried stressing the system by streaming internet content and using the Ooma at the same time.

          Overall, I’m happy with my Ooma so far, but it is pricier than using some other voip services. Still cheaper than a landline.

          I’m still in my free Premier trial and I’m debating whether I need Premier service, Basic service or just go with an Obihai and use free Google Voice. I’ve read complaints here and elsewhere about the quality issues using their Basic service.

    • Patrick says:

      good luck trying to cancel your Vonage service !!! I had it years ago and it was impossible to cancel. The only was was to cancel my credit card so they could no longer bill me for services. Hopefully, they have become a better company since then.

      • Tim says:

        I have had Vonage for 5 years after a nightmare to cancel my landline phone company. If after 5 years, is it easier to cancel Vonage ? i.e. I am past the minimum one year contract.

        • gadgetgirl says:

          yes, you dont have to do anything just let ooma port your number and you are done!

          • SN says:

            Good Luck trying to port the number. We tried porting and waited for 3 months – nothing happened- Lame excuses and throwing blame in all directions for their inablility.

          • Gadgetgirl says:

            SN, don’t know who you are trying to port from but I ported from vonage. It took 2 weeks no problems at all

      • Patti says:

        I had Vonage for years and recently ported number to Ooma in 6 days. I didn’t have any trouble canceling Vonage and they were very nice. Now if only I could figure out why Ooma keeps dropping calls….it may be my router as I have had the internet just quit me every once in while.

      • Rick says:

        I, too, had the same problem canceling Vonage. After 6 months, I also had to cancel the card. I still get annoyed every time I see one of their commercials on TV. My worst customer experience ever.

    • Marie says:

      I bought Ooma 2 1/2 yrs ago @ Costco. Loved it till the free premier service stopped then I had no called id even though they claim you have it with regular service so I returned it. So if any one wants to buy Ooma buy it at Costco & you can return any time you like if not satisfied. Also on black Fri. weekend at Costco Ooma was $99. This chick knows how to get a bargain.

  • M Denis says:

    I have been considering shedding my landline ($70/mo) and just use my AT&T cell pay-go ($33/mo). My concern with that is same as my concern with Ooma, Vonage, etc – I feel that my communications are more vulnerable to failure if everything is routed through the internet. Am I being too paranoid?
    It’s the same reason that I don’t bundle my internet, phone, and cable – I have a dish for TV, cable for internet, and regular phone line for home phone.

  • G.E. Miller says:

    @ M Denis – My service was out for 1 hour in the past year (that I know of, at least). Past performance isn’t a guarantee of future performance, but $70/mo. seems VERY high for landline. If you’re concerned that service will go out, get a cheap pay-as-you-go cell plan on the side for emergency. You’d be breaking even in 3 months, and then it would be free thereafter.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    I have been using the OOMA core since 1/1/2010. I have the Premier plan, which only costs $10 a month. It is cheaper than what I had w/ Frontier for $32 a month (no features).

    • Dan Cygeirt says:

      I agree w/ you Ron. Since we dumped our Verizon (which changed to Frontier) landline that was at least $40/mo, I was still in debate but I was already planning on purchasing the Ooma over: Skype(needs a PC on at all times), MagicJack(same as skype), & Vonage (expensive). Compared to at least $40/mo through Verizon (Frontier) for *basic* phone service, it was already an upfront decision.
      People have to remember however that, as the reviewer stated, requires a pretty decent/fast high-speed connection.
      However, I pay $50/mo for Month-to-month High speed service. I have (up to) 7.1 Mbps (Megabits, not MegaBytes), so I could easily set aside 3.0 Mbps for the Ooma, for very good quality. So the cost really wouldn’t affect me, because I’m already paying for the internet, so why not use it for an extra $4/mo (after the initial cost however).

  • Tess says:

    My cable company offers caller-ID names and all the features of Ooma for less than $20/month. Ooma charges the same taxes and $10/month for the similar services. Plus at least $200 for the hardware. It would take 20 months before I break even with Ooma. Why fork out all that money upfront just to start saving 20 months from now? In two years Ooma may put out of business by Google’s Gizmo5.

    I’ll wait for Gizmo5 to open up sign-ups again. Then I’ll have everything Ooma offers for free. Maybe I’ll have to pay taxes but Ooma charges those too. In fact Ooma has changed their taxes and fee structure three times in 8 months. From free to 11.75/year to $3.47/mo ($41.64/year). That’s a big change. Makes me think Ooma doesn’t really know how to run their business if they keep changing their fees every few months. Scary to think what the fees may be in another 6 months after Ooma doesn’t factor in some other cost of doing business.

    • G.E. Miller says:

      @ Tess – That’s why I’d encourage that people snatch up the Ooma Core if they still have a chance. No fees. In your scenario, it would be paid off in less than a year. Then no fees thereafter. Not sure about Gizmo5, isn’t it just a PC call application? The Ooma runs all the time without your computer needing to be on, which is exactly what I want. I’d take that over the phone co. option you listed any day, in all due respect.

  • Stephen says:

    Very interesting! I’ve never heard of ooma, but I must say that your review has persuaded me to look into it further. Keep it up!

  • Tess says:

    @GE I’ll look into the discontinued Ooma Core. They are going for $230 on Amazon so it would break even for me in about a year. The way Ooma seems to increase fees from free to $42/year makes me a bit leery of Ooma. There is nothing to stop Ooma from charging Ooma Core users those fees. The terms for the Core say they can change fees at anytime.

    As for Gizmo5, it is a PC application like Skype and you can use it on an ATA device. Ooma is a proprietary ATA device tied to their service. Linksys and others sell ATA devices for about $50 and you can tie them into services like Gizmo5 to get VoIP phone service over your regular phone line. No computer necessary. All Ooma has done is wrap the ATA in a nice package and sell it with their service to consumers for $250 instead of $50.

    Gizmo5 with GoogleVoice will become Googles VoIP solution. With a $50 Linksys ATA they will compete directly with Ooma. At that time Ooma will have to start giving away those premium $10/month features and start selling Telo’s for $50 to compete with the likes of GoogleVoice/Gizmo5.

    Now I just need to decide if I wait for Google or plunk down $230 for an Ooma Core. I guess its whether I think Google will launch VoIP within 12 months or not – my break even on an Ooma Core. No way will I buy the Ooma Telo as I’m confident Google’s VoIP product will be out within the 2 year break even for that product.

  • Tess says:

    “The Telo has bluetooth, USB, and cellular integration and a few other hardware advancements.”

    Actually Ooma has USB. It doesn’t have cellular integration yet and it doesn’t have bluetooth yet even though Ooma likes to sell people on those non-existent Telo features.

    The cellular integration will be available later through a proprietary bluetooth device that plugs into the Ooma USB port. In order to use the feature the USB Bluetooth device is reportedly going to cost $50 and you need to have premier service which costs $10/month. Just buying that Telo doesn’t mean you will be able to connect you cell phone to it over bluetooth. You will be paying a lot extra for that feature. $170 in the first year and $120/year thereafter. All of that on top of the $200+ you already paid for a Telo.

    Or you can buy a VTech phone system today with integrated bluetooth to link your cell phone. No monthly fees, no extra $50 device, just the cost of the phone.

  • Denise says:

    I bought an ooma core 18 months ago. I researched it, and it seemed like the majority of issues people were having were actually due to their slow connections rather than ooma. With my 15-20 Mbps down/3-5 up connection, it sounds and works just like Vonage did, which sounded and worked just like my land line did.

    I bought ooma for $210 on Amazon, and as I was paying $28/month for Vonage I figured I broke even at about 8 months, since then I’ve had completely free phone service. It’s been down a couple hours in the whole time, and that was due to my broadband provider as opposed to ooma. I’m completely happy with it, I only wish I’d bought it earlier.

  • Rob says:

    You can get all of this with Magic Jack and it only cost $19.95 for the year thats about $1.70 a month.

  • MrWizard says:

    @GE Miller – re: Magic Jack – true enough. Computer must be on to make/receive calls. However, it will send incoming calls to voice mail (which can be picked up online as an mp3 at any computer anywhere) if the computer is off. Alternatively, incoming calls can be forwarded to any other number (i.e. cell phone), while the computer is off. No extra charge for these service, btw.

    @JD – according to ooma customer service, only currently registered Core customers are exempt from the regulatory fees. Should you sign up with them for new service, Core or Telo, you will be required to pay the fees, which you can calculate for your area here:
    http://www3.ooma.com/tax_calculator.php. You will notice a blank space for state and local taxes and fees. As you may remember from science class, nature abhors a vacuum. Something always fills it. I’m thinking the same about blank spaces in tax forms.

  • Jason G says:

    I have been a VOIP customer of Vonage for the last 5+ years. I purchased my Ooma in January of this year(2010) and have been absolutely satisfied with it. I paid $169 on Amazon and have already broken even on it. I have never had any trouble with it except at times when my Time Warner Router goes down. The Vonage may be 19 per month, but add in their taxes and fees and you are over $30. Ooma has told me that i will pay one time per year $11 for my taxes and fees. I’m sure the gov’t will find a way to change that, but for now that’s what the deal is.

  • Anthony says:

    Agreed, we signed up a few months ago and where I live my monthly bill is $3.47 (state and local taxes). Prior to Ooma, we had ATT lan line and the monthly bill was $55. Over $600 a year in savings after breakeven $200 cost of hardware.

  • Leroy says:

    After having my Vonage bill go from $15/mo to $25/mo over the last 5 years (mostly taxes & fees), I switched to Ooma Telo in April 2010. Current Vonage customers be warned…they won’t let you go easily!!

    I purchased the Premier service for 2 major reasons: getting the free port and getting the call blocking features. At the time the tax structure was $11.75. It looks like that’s what I’ll be paying in April of 2011. However, it appears that new customers today will be forking out $40/year for taxes.

    It appears that Ooma is definitely taking on the business model of Vonage. This is where they incorporate taxes into their business model on the front end (where we don’t see it). As they get more and more customers, the begin to incrementally “apply” those taxes as a visible portion of their fee structure. In other words: they shift the taxes as part of THEIR cost of doing business with the customer to become YOUR cost of doing business with them!!

    Based on my Vonage charges I’ll break even next year sometime and will be anxious to see what google offers. If they’ve got the better deal, I’ll have no compunctions with dropping Ooma.

  • Ooma Owner says:

    I love my Ooma. It’s been just over a year since I made the switch from AT@T to the Ooma. I can tell you it is worth every penny. The call quality is great. The question I ask myself before purchase an Ooma, How often do I use my landline? Why pay $20 plus dollars every month for a landline that I use 2-5 times a month. Almost everyone use cell phone today. If you want to save money, either cancel the landline or get your self a Ooma.

  • JEmlay says:

    This device is $180 at my SoCal Costco. VERY worth it!!!

  • marc says:

    I have the Ooma Very pleased for $3 a month

  • Fusion6 says:

    I have been a user of Vionage for over 4 years, Vonage was the darling of residential VOIP. They started at $19.95 Unlimited USA Calling with $0 tariff charges and $0 taxes.

    within 48 months they have increased to a total of $34.01 US.

    I also do their field tech support, for their customer base. We have service rolls coming out our rear…it is good for my business, but bad for the Vonage customer…failed/dead equipment is our #1 service call. They also send out refurb equipment items more than they do new equipment.

    I am leaving the Vonage field tech base after 3 years of service to them, by Dec 31st 2010.

    I am also moving to Ooma and taking/porting my Vonage issued number with me.

    Vonage has some serious issues with their service and does not have the most competent tech support via telephone.

    If you are talking price? stay away from Vonage because they are as much if not more than the average national telco.

    Peace all, Great review..

    F6

    • TechnoGuy says:

      Our Vonage went from $12.99 a month to over $20 a month in a few years. The month I received a letter announcing unlimited “free” telephone number information, then the very next paragraph added a $2 a month “convenience” fee I went to MagicJack. 2010 was the year we dumped ALL customer-hostile companies. New bank, new phone service, new insurance, canceled cable TV. It was a great year, and we will vacation on the savings every year forward.

  • Eric says:

    I purchased the Telo from Woot.com for $142 shipped. Yes, it was a refurb but I got 6 month warranty.

    Set up was easy and the only stumbling block was understanding the option to use OOMA with a telco line. Long story short, you do not need to do this option unless you plan to keep your telco line.

    So 1st year cost:

    Telo $142
    Taxes $41.64
    Premier $119.99

    Total $303.63

    Using Verizon….$70 a month = $840/Year

    First year savings $536.37

    So far sound quality is excellent. Next test is the fax, and then using OOMA with my iPhone.

  • Simpson says:

    Nice review. I was concerned about internet downs also but then of course my phone currently goes through cable anyway, so if cable is down so is my phone. My cable has been reliable in any case. I am about to get a Telo. Vonage would save me only $10/month from the current $40/month I pay. Simply not worth it at all. OOMA is $3.50/month to $13.50/month depending on premier package or not and the initial cost will be paid in no time.

  • Tim Haupt says:

    I purchased an Ooma Core 18 months ago, and have been overall very satisfied. Call quality and reliability are very good. Yes you can plug in a cordless phone base set using a standard phone line splitter. As mentioned, you do not need to keep your landline (instructions on this were vague when I purchased my unit). In fact, after you have removed your old POTS phone connection from your house, you can connect the Ooma phone to your house phone wiring, so plug in several wired phones around the house in addition to a cordless phone set and a phone directly into the Ooma base.

    A few times the phone has not worked for some reason – probably a Comcast issue, as occasionally my Internet will die for an hour or two. It’s always good to have a cell phone backup for such cases. Only other problem is I cannot seem to call a particular friend’s phone in Tokyo – and as Ooma tech support was not able to figure out the solution to this, I use Skype (on computer or Skype number on cell phone) to work around that problem.

    So far, no one has come after me for monthly fees or taxes. Keeping my fingers crossed that this lasts forever. Overall the cost savings and performance of the system has been great!

  • suresh says:

    I currently am using vonage with vonage dlink router. Can I use it or do I need to buy a new one to use with OOMA. Also buy.com is selling OOMA hub is that ooma core or ooma telo?

  • lnanthony says:

    I purchased Ooma Telo by calling customer service and it was $199, which was $50 cheaper than their stated price online. It was very easy to set up and I have been happy with the service so far, but my Internet connection isn’t the greatest, so sometimes my voice drops out when on a call, but I can hear the other person just fine. But hopefully when I increase my connection speed, this will not happen anymore. I recommend it though, especially if you don’t use the home phone much. Also, I use a Google Voice number to forward to my Ooma phone because there were no local numbers available, and Google Voice is free to use.

  • Eric Plow says:

    Ooma is great. After initial serious problems dealing with customer service, I finally got the email address of a competent person who has been most responsive. I have been very satisifed with the service, and have saved a ton of money. The biggest problem I have had was that occasionally it takes the device a few minutes to “hang up” internally after you finish a call, so unless you have a 2nd line, you may have to wait a while before making a 2nd phone call back to back. This is a somewhat of a nuisance, but something I guess I can live with for the $ savings I am experiencing. Regarding someone’s question about using a fax with an Ooma line, it seems to work if you dial *99 first.

  • Ron says:

    Just looking at the reviews on the Ooma product for my mother. I work as a network administrator and have implemented voip systems. One thing I have not seen discussed during the setup is the need to prioritize the traffic coming from the Ooma. If you or a family member is online at the time you are on the phone you are competing for bandwidth and your voice could very well be waiting for other traffic to process first. This will affect the quality of the call. What us needed is an Internet router that can give understand what kind of traffic is passing through and give strict priority to the RTP(voice) coming from the Ooma device.

  • Eric Plow says:

    Ron, you can prioritize the Ooma device. Instructions are in the manual. We run 2 phones, 2 laptops, and a streaming video device off of our internet, and rarely have a problem.

  • Tony says:

    Do NOT get Magic Jack. It will waste a tremendous amount of your time in troubleshooting inevitable problems. I’m a competent do it yourself computer person, and pulled every trick in the book using any/all advice I could get from their customer support, and it just won’t work close to reliably.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Is there anyone here who has experience pairing OOMA w/ a wireless connection like Clear 4G or Verizon 4G LTE care to comment?

  • James says:

    Two questions for you. Is the Core and the Hub both the same in that neither have to pay any of the recurring monthly service fees? Also, if you opt to use the free phone number they provide you with can you later port over your home phone number? my intention would be to test the product out and return it if it wasn’t working out for me. But if it did, I’d move my existing home phone number to it.

    Thanks!

  • Eric Plow says:

    No recurring monthly fees with either device. I’d check with their customer service number about whether or not it’s possible to port your home phone number over later.

  • Backup Bob says:

    Ooma seems to be a winner.

    The Ooma Telo installation was almost flawless. The system has worked beautifully ever since. Porting was completed on time for two phone numbers. I am now using Ooma full time and liking it.

    I have the Telo connected to a small PBX system. The Ooma appears to the PBX as a regular telephone line. Other than the dial tone you would not know that line was any different from my other lines.

    I have sent faxes with Ooma, which most home VoIP devices cannot handle reliably. Just dial *99 ahead of the fax number. You can also enable faxing permanently but according to Ooma’s Website that diminishes call quality slightly.

    The one flaw? The quick set-up instruction sheet did not mention that the Telo has to be activated (provisioned) through the Ooma Website. Since their servers do not recognize the new Ooma Telo the large logo flashes red instead of being a steady white. Once the Telo was activated and rebooted it began working.

    I will be paying Ooma under $14 a month with taxes for premmium service. My Verizon landline is $55 and my other VoIP service is $22, or $77 total. With Ooma I will be saving $63 per month.

    I paid $200 for the Telo at Best Buy so I will recover its cost in under four months. This was one of those rare times when Best Buy actually had the best price in town.

    The Telo has a one year warranty. After that it is up to you to fix or replace it. I recommend that anyone purchasing an Ooma install it on a UPS that includes surge suppression for the Ethernet cable. This will reduce or eliminate surges and spikes and it will keep lightning out of the electronics.

    If your Internet comes to you through a TV cable that line should also go through a surge suppressor. I have seen some major damage occur when a TV cable took a hit. In one case two computers were active at the time. Both lost their motherboards when the NIC was hit. The switch lost those two ports plus a cascaded switch. The cable modem had no lights and it smelled funny.

  • JG Pacer says:

    I just bought OOMA Telo from Costco. They have an extended two year coverage program. Paid $179.00 for unit. Seems to work great.
    AT&T was getting so expensive it was time to change.
    One issue… When I hooked up my ethernet cable my network address seemed to change so I am having a little issue with communicating on my home network. The Internet works fine but when I try to access the server that is hard wired in my office and open a comm. with my laptop it doesn’t recognize the address.
    Any Help out there?
    Thanks JG

  • Jimmy says:

    I’d like to use This service but the only reason I need a LAN line is for my home security system. Does anyone know if it will work for that?

  • jscottu says:

    Fantastic. No comparison to “magic jack” which (I have heard) has lousy sound quality. My OOMA is the best sound quality I have ever had (except perhaps POTS on an old rotary phone). It takes a leap of faith to shell out 2 or 3 hundred to get started. But if you have the guts to do it…you will be rewarded (maybe not for people who move alot and have to constantly change their phone number).

  • Lou says:

    Nervously bought a Ooma from Costco,why, great return policy. Working fine. Instructions could be more detailed. Realized I needed two lines, one voice, one fax. Just purchased a Telo from Frys. Kinda tricky to activate, but works fine. Now ave 2 lines including dedicated fax, which works fine so far. I now need a small PBX to call external extensions (outside lines, cell, pots, whatever). Does anyone have a suggestion?
    By the way, have 3 magic jacks for when I travel. Works good, but not for business. Their voice mail includes their advertisement to callers, who will know that you are a cheapo,or rather, budget conscious. No free lunch here.
    Vonage, AT&T, etc, will not be hearing from me again.
    Ooma…..so far, so good, and NO contract.

    Regards

  • Becki Robinson says:

    What is the bandwidth required (up and down) for Ooma? And a stupid question — the connections to the router and the phone — both phone wire-type connections?? Thank you.

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Are there any Premier account customers on the International Bundle plan (http://www.ooma.com/premier/international-bundle)? I’m curious what your total monthly charges are beyond the $5 or $10 base price.

  • pat says:

    If you are dropping your land line and you have a cell phone that works; why would you get an ooma? what are the benefits that ooma offers vs just not having a land line? I am having a hard time justifying my land line we hardly ever use it, so why replace it with anything? Is there an advantage to the land line that I am not thinking of?

    thanks

    • lnanthony says:

      Pat – There are several benefits that I have found. It allows you to have a home phone that doesn’t require your computer to be on all the time (MagicJack requires the computer to be on). Great for families where not everyone has their own cell phone, especially with teenagers.
      Also, you get free long distance and don’t use cell phone minutes.
      911 works with your home address, cell phones do not have this capability yet, at least in my market.
      You can also set up several handsets to work with the Ooma so your phone rings throughout your house, which is more convenient than missing calls because you didn’t hear your cell phone ring.
      Hope that helps!

  • Bob says:

    Woke up today… Ooma system not working. Can’t reset it… also their entire website is down. Any ideas? Did they go out of business overnight? Up until today, I’ve loved my Ooma service and been using them for 16 months with a second phone line for business. Need my phone line back up guys!!

  • Tom O. says:

    Mine is down too and that’s my fear. If so we’re screwed.

  • Matilda says:

    Mine never went down and phone still working (I’m not in CA, however), but I also find as of this writing that the website is down.

  • Richard says:

    Don’t understand why anyone would want Oomba and still keep their cell phones. My wife and I both have cell phones with free long distance in the US. Why would anyone want to add an additional house phone, even if it is an Ooomba?

    • Eric says:

      We have spotty cell phone service at our home, so it’s nice to have another option in case our cell phone drops down to 1 or 2 bars, which happens frequently.

      • ed says:

        in addition there is an app that allows you to use the ooma network on your cell phone and thereby avoid all cell charges (with pre paid) while bypassing the cell towers.

      • ed says:

        I am still having problems with the ‘fax’ issue, ooma told me about *99 pause then the intended number and I get @30% success rate, even less at times of high traffic, because I am on cable and so I share all the noise with others…not like a DSL line., it’s terrible but they say all faxes on VOIP providers is bad because the mis match on voltage vs regular telephone causes jitter, you need a super fax to compensate for the mis match for ooma you would need to (but cannot) get into many very specific settings for a better success rate, I read up on it and it’s a mess…the ONLY disappointment with ooma, I would be extremely pleased if anyone has a better recommendation.

    • ed says:

      because the quality on cell phones are (for the most part) lousy at best, while land lines like ooma are crystal clear.

  • Dan says:

    I have had Ooma for a few months and am very happy.

    I have experienced one outage and that was a big one for Ooma but they solved it fairly quickly.

    Initially, I had a problem with QOS but that was basically an issue with Ooma and my router trying to control the same thing. Bascially that is an issue of who gets to play first but turning this off in the router and letting Ooma control it worked fine. I had the premium service for a month for free and there was an option of giving Ooma a cell phone that would be used if Ooma was down.

    Back to the basics and that is all I need. One other feature I enjoy is that you have your Ooma dashboard that records all your calls. Within this, there is a feature, even for basic, that allows you to block calls with just a click. This has allowed me to remove most of the annoying ones much simpler than anything else I have had.

    I am retired and had AT&T for my landline for years. My children made me check it and I was paying $81 per month for that and long distance. I am now paying $3.57 per month and those are the taxes/fees that is required for all phones. That is not Ooma money – that is government money. Bought my Ooma on WOOT at about half-price and it is paid for in a few months. It is now free as long as they live so I have nothing to lose. I did pay $40 to have my home phone number ported but that was simple and not really necessary if you don’t care. After that, no one can tell I even changed except me and my pocketbook.

    Long live Ooma!

    • gadgetgirl says:

      I LOVE that feature. Finally, I can block all those annoying people calling and asking me to donate to fire departments in cities I don’t even live in. I also got my Ooma on WOOT and LOVE IT!! Super easy plug and play and I also like the call screening feature. Switched from Vonage and I always had to wait for the caller to leave the message to see who it was (outside of the caller ID) or what they were saying. Now I can listen and see if its anyone I want to talk to before going to the phone. I pay $3.47/month.

  • Min says:

    A few questions while we’re waiting for the ooma telo to arrive……
    Did I understand correctly that we can eliminate our cell phone bills- how?

    I fired at&t so I no longer have any phone service. Will ooma still be able to work?

    Will the sound quality and computer speed be okay if 3 people are on computers and one is on the phone?

    • gadgetgirl says:

      You cannot eliminate your cellphone bills entirely unless you eliminate your cellphones. You can however, if you have a smartphone, like the iPhone and maybe Droid, I am not sure if that app is available yet but is coming if not, get the ooma app and use your Ooma account to make calls on your cellphone without using cell minutes. The app is $9.99 I believe and if you have premier service, you get 250 minutes per month to use on your cell. You do not need to have AT&T or regular phone service to use Ooma, only an internet connection. You will get a new number when you activate your Ooma, you get to choose one and since you currently have no number you don’t need to worry about porting your number. You can also use Google Voice with Ooma and your cell to reduce the minutes you pay for to your cellphone company. I have 2-4 computers running all the time and it does not interfere with the voice quality at all.

      Hope that helps.

  • Bobbi says:

    I have wireless internet service, will the Ooma work with it?

  • Rick Hamric says:

    I rarely use my phone so would like to switch to OOma. Just one question. I like my answering machine a lot. Can I use it with Ooma?

    • Timothy Haupt says:

      Yes you can connect an answering machine, standard phone, cordless phone or all together with a standard telephone splitter. If you have physically disconnected your old home phone line from the external world (at the junction box) you can connect ooma to the house phone wiring and can plug phones (or answering machine, FAX, etc.) into each of those outlets. The instructions that came with the original ooma were not at all clear on this hook-up, but it is really very straightforward.

      Have had mine for over two years. After an initial configuration issue (it was a refurbed unit and a new ID had not been installed correctly at the factory – fixed on-line), it has worked flawlessly. Call quality is great, only Skype is better (I use that for international calls). I’d initially wanted to use ooma for international calling also, but found it could not successfully call some numbers in Japan for some reason.

      With the fresh phone number from ooma, never get any junk calls. Thankfully I am grandfathered into the original agreement, so no fees or taxes whatsoever.

      • Tim says:

        I also purchased an original OOMA Hub (may be refurbished)about 2 years ago. However, I have not activated it. I was told that the number I wanted I could not get so I was stuck staying with Vonage. I needed a canadian number and they were still working on getting that aspect set up. Now OOMA operates out of Canada as well where I would make the majority of my calls. What I am not clear on is the following:

        Can I activate this older OOMA and benefit from the grandfathered benefits of no lifetime taxes, etc? I read online that new purchases of this rare OOMA Hub/scout will not translate into grandfathered benefits. OOMA will force all new users with this old equipment to comply with Telo rules.

  • CandyWeis says:

    Would like to get Ooma also. My cable modem and router are setup in the ground floor. The phones will be used in first floor. Would anyone know if the Ooma box will still work well when connected to a long ethernet cable running from the router (downstairs), to upstairs room or does the Ooma absolutely have to be next to the router?
    We do not want the wireless option for the Ooma. We have several computers upstairs wired that way and it works great, just wondered if the Ooma would work on a long ethernet cable.
    Thanks for any advise.

  • Eric says:

    You do have to connect Ooma to the router, but the easiest thing to do (which is what we did), is to buy a 2 or 3-set cordless phone. Hook the main base to the Ooma device, then plug in the secondary base(s) on the first floor. The main base will just sit there and never be used. It’s only purpose is to broadcast the phone signal throughout your house. The phone(s) will be used on the first floor, and can be recharged as needed using the secondary base.

    • CandyWeis says:

      Thanks Eric, sounds like a good option. I suppose the wireless signal from the main phone downstairs would give a good enough signal to the upstairs phones without too much loss of quality?

      • CA Bob says:

        We have loved OOMA for 4 years now, and in that time they only had one major disruption which had them down for a couple of days. We use a wireless phone too with wireless extensions… they work great.

  • Eric says:

    We have a big house, and don’t have any problem whatsoever.

  • Rick Hamric says:

    Per Candy’s query, I am no techie, but remember reading recently that an ethernet cable is good to 300 feet. Sounds like the wireless setup suggesterd by Eric is the way to go though.

  • AnnC says:

    Looking to get rid of land line which includes a special ring fax number that comes in on the same line as the house phone. Can this number also be ported to ooma providing I pay the fee?

    How does one handle voice mail? A neccesity since my husband uses land line for his business.

    I’m also not sure I’m clear on whether or not the computer must be on for all this to work.

    • Eric says:

      I do not know about the fax question, but I do know that I occasionally have trouble doing outgoing faxes on the Ooma line even though I dial the recommended *99 first. So I am not sure how reliable incoming faxes would be. You might need to ask this question directly to Ooma unless someone else can answer it.

      Voice mail is not a problem and comes standard. You can access the voicemail directly from your Ooma phone, or remotely from any other phone by setting up a password.

  • gadgetgirl says:

    i just fax regular, without using the *99 and never had a problem. you can also access your vm through your email or online. The computer does not need to be on, in fact now you can use ooma wirelessly with their wifi adapter and put in anywhere you can get wireless in your home, no need to plug it into anything but the wall and phone.

    • angi says:

      Hi GG,

      I don’t know if or when you might get this …..this is Apr 2012…and I just read your post in Dec 2011 on an Ooma Review for the second time (read it back then, too)……..Now I’m determined to get Ooma and get away from AT&T–their going up on their rates and their billing is horrendous. Can I ask you a few questions?….re: faxing, do you pay for the Premier …Premium??…& you said you don’t do a 99 thing…? I think I’ll be able to figure that out when I get Ooma…Did you have to “port” a number?….I’m wondering how AT&T is about that—my Bill definitely wants to keep our same Tel #….We definitely will have to pay the Premier???….’cause he needs “call forwarding”..Do you have that???….I hope you don’t mind me asking all these questions?…..finally, Are you still happy with Ooma???
      Hope to hear from you, GG, and thanks. Angi p.s. I’m going to go ahead and get Ooma …found $50 off coupon….hope it works!!!

      • Eric says:

        Here is my input:

        You don’t have to pay for Ooma Premier to fax. You only have to dial *99, then the number. I occasionally have trouble faxing documents, particularly large ones. In this case I try to scan and email the documents. Regarding porting your #, there is a charge to do that, but I THINK (check to make sure) that if you sign up for Ooma Premier for a one year minimum there is no charge. AT&T cannot prohibit you from porting your number from them. You need Premier for the call forwarding feature. I have been an Ooma customer for several years now, and love it. Much better than Magic Jack, though technically I don’t know why since they both go over the internet. Why anyone would use Vonage instead of Ooma is beyond me. I’ve tried to get friends to switch, but either old habits die hard or people think it’s too good to be true.

      • gadgetgirl says:

        hi sorry I just read your post, and I think Eric answered most of your questions. I actually did get the premier service as to me it wasn’t really paying the full fee, since to port your number, which I did, was going to cost $39 anyway, I deducted that from the full premier cost and it seemed fairly reasonable to me for whatever added features you receive, I do not pay much attention since I never was without the premier service to notice the difference. I do not dial the 99 thing when faxing, just fax as normal and never had a problem. I still have, love, and recommend often the Ooma and only wish I had purchased it back in 2008 when I first read about it and put it in my cart on Amazon but instead stayed with Vonage and never purchased the original Ooma. I have had no problems except for one day more than a year ago, which is when I believe I found this forum and Ooma had a nationwide outage for a few hours. Otherwise, it has been working fine for me and no one has ever complained of call quality on either end. I did port my number from Vonage without issue and I love the call blocking feature so when telemarketers call you can choose how to respond to them. I choose to let it ring endlessly so I can waste their time as they were going to waste mine. Hope I helped and sorry I was late in responding.

  • gadgetgirl says:

    Does anyone have a workaround for using ooma with an alarm service, I am sure there is a way, I believe I read it in a forum, but my alarm company insists on landline, but I am not paying $25 a month for a landline to use an alarm service paid by HOA.

  • tim says:

    Ooma Premium may be a fax solution. the second # may be the thing that might handle fax. i am assuming that you have one phone # ported over to Ooma but that the fax is done with a double ring for the same #. You could re-route that to a virtual number that could deliver the fax. Fax settings are different resulting in poor voice quality. Ooma tech support is best contacted to see if this will work.

  • Bill says:

    I purchased an Ooma telo in October of 2011 and paid the $39.00 for the porting of my telephone number. I’ve had the same number for many ydars and want to keep it.

    I contacted my telephone carrier, windstream, to ask to have a “dry loop” aka “naked loop” aka “stand alone” DSL line installed for my computer so that when my phone number was finally ported and I began using Ooma, It would not interfere with my computer. The line was installed on November 2, 2011.

    Ooma has contacted Windstream repeatedly in their efforts to get Windstream to port my telephone number. Windstream continued to refuse citing excuse after excuse for not porting my phone number…until they ran out of excuses and began to use the same excuses over again.

    I had to contact the FCC as well as my states Public Utilities Commission to FORCE Windstream into porting my telephone number.

    I am still not able to use my Ooma device as it is supposed to work because Windstream, although claiming they agreed to port my number, are doing their best to ensure that the Ooma deivce does not work…they are playing dumb about disconnecting their incoming phone line from my home stating that if they disconnect it, then I will not be able to receive DSL service because DSL service is provided to my home via that phone line…really? I didnt know that, this is not a dial up service.

    At any rate, I am an absolute imecile/idiot when it comes to this type of technical stuff. I need to know WHICH line in my junctino box to disconect in order to keep disconnect windstreams phone service from my home yet still reeive windsteams (or some other ISP) DSL service.

    After I get this figured out, if I can do away with Windstream’s DSL and use a different one, I will do so. Then I will tell everyone I know how to do the same thing…

    The next thing on my ‘to do” list is to get rid of dish network via a “Boxee” or some other device/or TV so I can get satellite TV’s fangs out of my neck and therefore, pocket book. Getting rid of telphone service and dish network will be a savings to me of $135.00 (maybe more)per month. I’ll probably have to use it to fill one car with gasoline.

    If someone can tell me/help me (step-by-step) to disconnect Windsteam’s phone line from my home so that my DSL still works I will appreciate their help. Windstream’s techs dont know how to do it.

    • Steve says:

      Hi Bill,
      I had DSL from BellSouth years ago before naked-DSL was available. I left DSL for cable internet (just internet, no TV services) about the time AT&T acquired BellSouth. At any rate, here’s how it worked back then and probably still works today.

      There is one line coming in from the phone box on your street to your home (called the demarkation point/box). The line feeding your street box goes to a service point or a central office. At that point, your line is connected to a voice service line for your phone and another line for the DSL transmissions. It is a simple process for a phone co to disconnect the voice line and leave the DSL line connected to your feed line.

      BellSouth claimed I had to have a land line for my DSL line. It was a business model/ pricing strategy. It was not a technical issue. Once AT&T acquired BellSouth, AT&T was forced by the FCC to provide naked-DSL services to BellSouth customers. By that time, I had moved to a new home and had access to naked highspeed cable internet for the same price as DSL.

      I would file complaints against Winstream with you local PSC, the BBB and possibly the FCC for their refusal to port your local number.

      If they TRULY cannot provide naked-DSL, then they should release the number to Ooma, provide you with another local number (that you will not use) free of charge fore your DSL line.

      Good Luck!

  • Bill says:

    Sorry about the misspelled and misplaced words in my first note…I am typing alone and in the dark…and I have fat fingers….

  • Bill says:

    Just saw the Ooma hookup explanation reflected above. If you have a phone line, a phone carrier and want to port your current phone number, hooking Ooma up and using it aint that easy. Especially if you have a carrier that does not want to play fair.

    If i am making it too complicated (I’m not) please explain how?

  • mike Utenick says:

    Does anyone know what kind of voice/data compression Ooma uses? I would like to know how it affects security systems and want to see if it is compatible.

    • Steve says:

      Look at NextAlarm.com for a broadband adapter and lower monitoring rates than bigger providers like ADT. It is a VOIP solution without an additional phone line monthly payment and works with many existing traditional alarm systems setup for phone lines. It’s been very good for me.

  • James says:

    I’ve had my OOMA device for almost two years now. The glitches that were semi-regular at the start (though still tolerable) seem to have gone down in incidence and the <$4/month cost has paid itself off a long time ago.

    Regarding the question of security systems above, at least one major brand (I'm not sure which) won't work with OOMA, so you'd need a second, "real" phone line for the security system to work. That sucks…you could get a cellular security call-out, though.

  • Paul says:

    Has anyone tried Ooma using a fax line? I use my landline for the fax and would love to get rid of my phone bill. I read that Ooma works with most fax machines. I am hopeful. Thanks

  • Ron Ablang says:

    Is there anyone here who can comment on using OOMA in conjunction w/ either MagicJack Plus or Obi110? I already have the OOMA (original) and I’m wondering if this will conflict w/ other devices.

  • ed says:

    I have invented a NEW computer Geek term. I believe it should go viral, it is FoVoip. (Fax over Voice over internet protocal.

  • Neil says:

    I want to “bust” the myth about Ooma requiring a super-high speed internet connection for it to work.

    I live in an area where we are at the limits of DSL service – that means I can only get 1.5M service. Yes, you read it right – 1 point 5 – not 15, not 10, not even 3 – 1.5.

    And, my Ooma works just fine.

    Ooma claims that it’s the UPload rate that is important, and that is 384K (or 386, or something close to that) and that anyone with anything better than dial-up can use their service. They’re right.

    (My speed is also good enough for Netflix streaming, etc, and I’m a cord-cutter, so do not be discouraged thinking you have to have super high speed for either the Ooma or cutting the cord. It just ain’t so!)

  • SteveS says:

    I’ve had Ooma Telo for a few months now. The service works great, and is fantastically cheap. The problem is if you expect to port your existing phone number over to the unit – don’t even think about it. AFter you pay for the port (about $30, I think, which is reasonable), Ooma will never actually do the port, despite what their cheerful customer service says.

    I have my original service, to keep my old phone number, and Ooma. I’m kind of stuck in the “in-between” zone!

    • gadgetgirl says:

      that is not true, i had no problems porting my number years ago when i switched, your case may be different due to carriers, but it’s not like that in all cases. my number ported in a few weeks without issue from vonage.

  • Stan says:

    I have Vonage with a US number set up in Mexico where I now live. The line acts like I am in the US. Will this work the same way with Ooma?

  • Sam says:

    Has anybody had experience using a credit card terminal with Ooma.
    I have used my cc machine with Vonage for 5 years and it has worked fine.
    Bought Ooma with Linx adapter and tied to use the cc machine with the Linx and it doesn’t work (tried all configurations – e.g. as Fax mode etc.)
    Help! Thanks.

  • Peter Walker says:

    I am in contract with verizon till December 2013 for phone, TV & Web. Verizon is delivered thru FIOS by Verizon. I am in the mountains with little options. If I cancel Verizon and install Ooma can Verizon switch off my FIOS lines?

  • Michelle says:

    Thank you for providing such wonderful information. I am pondering the purchase of Ooma Telo and wonder how good are the refurbished units. Does it really make sense to pay $99 for refurbished when Amazon has new for $129? Any insights into this would be welcome. Thank you..

  • Cathy says:

    Please help me determine the cons to using Ooma for a small law office with no employees other than myself. I need a basic, cheap phone service and will have high speed Internet. I think I can find fax services via the Internet. I don’t need bells and whistles like a virtual receptionist or music. What else am I forgetting to consider? It seems to cheap to be useful. Thanks!

  • Timothy Haupt says:

    This is follow-up to my favorable post of two years ago.
    Ooma has been solid since installed 3 years ago. Only have experienced very brief downtime from the service a very few times. As long as your Internet connection is up, this will work great.

    It is easy to add cordless phones or extensions with a standard phone splitter. I hate using a cell phone for long or important calls: Ooma definitely delivers on call quality. And no one seems to have this number, so I never get junk or scam calls!

    I had mentioned use of FAX; but that was an error – quite sure a Fax machine will not work. Had tried a couple of Internet based fax services for occasional use: my recommendation is HelloFax.

  • Roxanne says:

    I’m just learning about Ooma! My son needs phone and (more importantly) good wifi for one year in his college house in Boulder, CO. What would you pair Ooma with to get the wifi?

    • Timothy Haupt says:

      Hello Roxanne,

      Normally the Ooma would be connected directly to your Internet router. However Ooma does offer a wireless converter (Telco Wireless Adapter), so it can be used if you don’t have physical access to the wired router, but only have WiFi access. See the site below:
      http://ooma.com/app/support/ooma-telo-wireless-adapter-faq

      I have not used the wireless adapter myself, but my experience with Ooma and their hardware so far over 4 years is both the hardware and service are very solid, with excellent call quality.

      • Timothy Haupt says:

        Hi again Roxanne,

        Re-reading your question, I see that perhaps did not actually answer your question!
        Ooma itself does not provide Internet access. You either need to have wired Internet (such as cable modem or DSL), or use of the Telo Wireless Adapter.

        Hopefully someone else in the house already has Internet, or a WiFi signal is available that he can get permission from the owner to use.

        Some modern folks forgo the wired Internet, and instead use their cell phone as their only access. In this case, the Ooma Telo could be used in conjunction with their cell phone – the phone set us as a WiFi hotspot. The data requirements are not too high (this is not streaming video for example), but still, hope the user has a wireless plan with reasonably large data allotment. I am fortunate to have a plan with unlimited data plan, and my specific Verizon phone allows hotspot use with no monthly charge.
        (timhaupt2@gmail.com)

        Another alternate is for him to use Skype from his cell phone for his calls. The call quality is excellent, and can call anywhere in the world. Calls are free to other Skype users, or to land lines/mobiles for $0.023 a minute. And no additional hardware to buy. Of course, many cell phone plans allow for unlimited domestic calls, so there are several options for him.

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