I’m a big VoIP fan and haven’t paid a regular phone bill in four years or more. If you’re wanting to save money on your phone bill and have free long distance you should really consider VOIP (or Voice Over IP) services. I’ve tried every VoIP service from MagicJack, to Vonage, to Skype. After trying out each of those services I can confidently say Ooma takes the cake for many reasons.
If you’re new to VoIP services or are just looking around you’ll want to keep a couple things in mind. First is reliability and second is cost.
The best VoIP services are directly tied to your router, not your computer.
Some of the cheapest services (e.g. MagicJack and Skype) are computer based. What this means is that your computer has to be on, all the time, for you to receive phone calls. For out going calls this wasn’t really a problem for our family. The problem with computer based VOIP is the incoming calls. People call at random times and the computer will be off or something will have happened to the software or hardware to have the call go through. It was kind of nice not having people call me for a while. If it was really important they would call my cell or email me. The computer based software just wasn’t dependable like router based software. Router based software is where the hardware runs directly from your router and doesn’t need a computer to operate. Reliability is much better and is always on no matter what happens to your fickle computers.
The best VoIP services only charge you ONCE and don’t have a recurring bill.
Now that we’ve established that router based services are best it’s time to separate the services in this field again. There are two types of VOIP services that run through your router. The first charges every you every month and requires a credit card to bill from. These cost around $20-$30 a month. The OOMA on the other hand only has one cost for buying the hardware up front (you can pick up Ooma Units on Amazon and get free shipping too!).
Ooma Units just work, right of the box.
Setting up my unit was very easy. Basically plug it in to my router, plug in my phones, and start making calls. I needed to go online to get my phone number established but the information provided in the box (and on their) website was clear as could be and didn’t require any thinking (which is a good thing when you’re trying something new).
Things to remember
No matter what service you use (except MagicJack or Skype, since they’re computer based) you’ll still need to pay the $3-$5 each month in government fees (state and federal tax for having a phone line). This fee varies by area and state but it’s still not too bad. Ooma will still need to have a credit card on file to bill you for these taxes each month. But you’ll be paying these no matter what router based VoIP service you use.
I would highly recommend Ooma to anyone wanting a reliable, low cost, phone service. I’ve been using mine for a while now and I honestly can say it’s the best option out there (until they find a way to make and receive calls from your Android or iPhone over Wi-fi for free).
- They are linked up directly to your router (so you don’t need to have a computer on continually).
- They don’t have a recurring annual or monthly fee (with exception of the Federal and State fees which is around $5.00/Month. There is no getting away from that.)
- There is a one time hardware purchase fee with NOTHING to buy ever again.
- It works with your regular phone.
- It’s easy to setup and the sound quality is excellent.
- They can “Port” your existing phone number (for $40 or so) but they also provide a free number with any setup.
- A bundle of other services like call waiting, caller ID, web portal, phone number blocking,