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Ooma: How You Can Save Money On Calls, Get Better Voice Quality
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September 27, 2010

Ooma: How You Can Save Money On Calls, Get Better Voice Quality

By David Sims, TMCnet Contributing Editor

Ooma provides free home phone service “once you purchase our device for a one-time fee,” company officials say. Sound good? Let’s see how it works:

Plug your high-speed Internet and existing home phone into Ooma and call anywhere in the U.S. for free. Like the sounds of that? You pay only applicable taxes and fees. Ooma officials say the service offers “clear, landline quality voice and bundled features like caller-ID, call-waiting and voicemail.” And that all you need is a high-speed Internet connection (cable, DSL or fiber-optic) and a regular home phone.

And “unlike most VoIP systems, Ooma has the clarity of a landline,” one user says.

Evidently you don’t need special phones or headsets. “Ooma works with your existing corded or cordless home phones,” company officials say. “Use your phone exactly like before.” Unlimited phone service, say people who use it, can be had for about $30 to $40 a month.”

But, free calling all over the U.S.? Isn’t there any fine print there? Here’s what company officials say: Yes, “a few exceptions apply.” Ooma does not support 900 numbers and phone chat services. Directory assistance (411) calls will be charged to your prepaid calling account and cost $0.99 per call.

According to user comments, Ooma offers “dirt cheap international calls, and free calls to Ooma customers abroad.”

You pay applicable taxes and fees, and federal universal service charges, state and local taxes, fees & surcharges and regulatory and compliance fees are billed monthly.

The good news is, people you call don’t need to own an Ooma device for the calls to be free. “Ooma lets you call anyone, at any number, anywhere in the U.S. without charge,” company officials say, and you can get a new phone number, but in most cases Ooma can transfer your existing phone number to Ooma.

And Ooma, according to some users, is actually a good argument for home phones. Yes, it’s possible.

Oh, and if you live in Hawaii, “due to the high cost of Hawaii phone numbers, numbers in the 808 area code carry a surcharge of $29.99/year per number.” But if you live in Hawaii you’re used to things costing more anyway.

And yes, Ooma provides E911 service where supported.

Check out what people have to say about Ooma HERE.

David Sims is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of David’s articles, please visit his columnist page. He also blogs for TMCnet here.

Edited by Stefania Viscusi

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