After many years of paying AT&T bills that average in the 90s we decided to try out a VoIP (voice over internet protocol) phone system. These are phones that use the internet to make calls like Skype. The main benefit of using VoIP phones would be to cut your phone bill. The only thing you need from your phone provider is a naked DSL line that cost around $20 a month. The basic Ooma service is free.
We decided on the Ooma mainly because you do not need to hook the phone up to a personal computer like Magic Jack. I believe Vonage offers the same benefits. The other reason we decided on Ooma because Costco was running a good deal at 199$.
This device is just a plug and play system. After connecting a few cables (power, internet, phone , wall jack ) and going on registering the device it was running. From having the sealed box in my hand to making phone call took me 20min. Starting out with Ooma they give you a number that you choose from. The selection is fairly slim and they may not have any prefix numbers that are close by. We decided to port our number.
Porting home phone number with Ooma
I wanted to give it a one star rating but it was not Ooma’s fault and for most people. Our original setup before Ooma was a DSL line associated with the home number we wanted to port, and an extra number on the line for fax (ringmaster). Before you can port the number you must have the DSL not associated with the home number. For us, that meant AT&T coming out and stringing another phone line to our house for naked DSL. You also have to own or be paying for the number you want to port during the process. After we done all that we had to remove the extra number on the line (ringmaster). So after around 4 months of having the device, we finally got our home phone number ported to Ooma. Next is to get the Ooma to back feed through rest of the house, which AT&T said was easy.
We had the full phone package from AT&T, and we did not lose any of the features. We still get free long distance, caller id, and voice mail. Plus if you online to your Ooma dashboard you can get a full list of your calls from missed, dialed, and called out. From the dashboard you can also listen to your voice mails. If you purchase the Ooma Premier service you can additional features like blocking phones numbers, call forwarding and additional phone number so 2 people can make separate calls at the same time. Here is a full list of all the additional features with Ooma Premier. We opt out of the additional service.
I can not tell a difference in phone quality between our previous setup with AT&T and Ooma. Before hand I was wondering how it would be since we have the lowest DSL speed at 1.5 mb down. I have not tried to use download a file while talking yet, so that might mess up the phone quality.
I would highly suggest to anyone to get an Ooma device for phone calls. Setup cost is going to be about 200$ but after that it should cut your phone bill in half. The transition between a regular phone system to Ooma should be very easy since all the phone features are still there and the phone quality is great at 1.5 mb down. Only reason I gave it a 4 and not a 5 was because of the porting of the home phone number. Most people are going to want to keep their orginal number and most people probably have their home phone number associated with their DSL. Having the number ported will be a pain.
It has been 3 months since I wrote this article and the Ooma is still doing great!
I now moved out from the nest and bought my own. It is the newer version, but from it being slicker it works the same. Never have a problem with it.