Almost two years ago, I wrote about my experience with Ooma and how disappointed I was with it. I decided to give it another chance and did so in June. After 2 months of testing, my wife and I were satisfied with the voice quality and features, so I ported our number over to Ooma and dropped the $62 a month landline.
The price for Ooma can’t be beat even if you pay the $120 a year for Ooma premier which I chose to do. The premier service got me a free number port, enhanced caller ID (without this you just get the number and it matches it with your phone book to show the name), a second phone number/line, voicemail sent to email and text, Google Voice extensions and ability to forward all calls to a cell phone if my Internet connection goes down.
The basic question is if the voice quality is good and is it reliable. So far voice quality has been much better than it was last time I tried. This could be due to newer hardware, a different router, or any other number of factors. We’ve had a few blips, but overall the quality is more than acceptable. Reliability is a little different story. Last week they had a major outage that lasted a few hours that was blamed on a power outage. It made me question my decision, but considering we have cell phones for backup, it wasn’t a hug concern.
Pretty much everything else is gravy to me. We had a basic answering machine, so voicemail that sends to email is a great feature, but takes the excitement out of coming home and seeing the light flashing on the answering machine!
I picked up a Telo handset a little over a week ago with the intention of using it as a work line. The phone would allow me to be on a call without tying up the home number. After a few missteps setting of Google Voice extensions, I managed to set it up such that the handset is my work line for both incoming and outgoing calls. When I call out, it shows my Google Voice number. The handset is mediocre in that it is slow in scrolling through the numbers and doesn’t have a headset jack. However, it is good enough for my needs. I’ve used the speakerphone for a number of conference calls without any problems.
The only gotcha with any VOIP solution is what happens when the power woes out. I plugged my router, cable modem, Ooma box, and cordless phone base station into a UPS. That should be good enough for a few minutes. With cell phones easily reachable, this isn’t a big concern.
- Inexpensive even with the premier service and $3.50 in monthly fees.
- Voicemail works well and sending messages to email is useful.
- Google Voice extensions makes it convenient to have a work phone.
- Decent voice quality.
- Recent outage is a little disconcerting.
- Steep initial cost, but cost recovery can happen in about 7 months.
- Telo Handset is a mediocre cordless phone.
For those looking to keep a home phone, but want to reduce cost, Ooma is currently a decent option. As long as Ooma stays in business and the voice quality remains good, I’ll be happy. With the initial cost of $180 + tax (from Costco), the $120 Premier service for the year and $3.50 per month the first year cost is around $350. I will be able to recoup the entire first year cost in less than 6 months. After the first year with the premier service, I’ll be paying about $14 a month which is $48 a month less than I was paying.