Ooma Review: 1 Year After Making the Switch
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.
<Update: I have updated this post for 2013 and have now been using the Ooma for almost 4 years>
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?
The 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 – $0.019, China – $0.025, and Mexico – $0.13 per minute.
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:
Anyone (who has a modem and high-speed internet connection) can do it. The basic setup looks like this:
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.
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 2,700 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 $149 (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.
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.