Ooma voip phone service enables free phone calls over the Internet to anywhere in the U.S and low cost International calling. Telo is the name given to the hardware used to transfer your voice from your analog phone across the Internet using VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol). You will hear other VoIP service providers refer to this hardware as an Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA). Free calls I hear you say - well kind of, we'll cover this later.
Ooma is a privately held Telecommunications company based in California, and targets the residential space only. The company was founded by Andrew Frame in 2004 and the first product was released in 2007. Ashton Kutcher, yes the actor, was actually part of the executive team during the early days.
Ooma pricing is a very interesting subject. Users must purchase the Ooma Telo in order to make free calls, this currently retails for just under $200. There are also adapters available for sale to connect to your cell phone via Bluetooth so you can make free calls with Ooma from your cell phone. A USB WiFi adapter can also be purchased so you can run without any Ethernet cables. Ooma also sells the Telo handset which is a DECT 6.0 high definition cordless phone. However it is not required, you can plug your regular analog telephone or cordless phone base into the Telo. Obviously an Internet connection is a hard requirement since calls travel over the Internet rather than the Plain Old Telephone System (POTS). Unlike the original magicJack service, no computer is required to make phone calls, thankfully.
At the base level, the features are quite basic for a VoIP service provider: Voicemail, 911, Caller ID, Call waiting. To get additional features such as enhanced voicemail (e.g. voicemail to email), 3-way conferencing and the likes you must subscribe to the premium service. The premium service pricing ends up being similar to the VoIP provider pricing you see on the comparison table on this page.
Not really! You have to pay an up-front cost for the hardware which often equates to 2 years of phone service with the providers you can see on our comparison table and for this you do not get premium features. Also you still have to pay taxes on your phone calls - this will equate to around $4 per month. Also do you need to port your phone number? Ooma prices are such that this has a one-time fee associated with it although if you can take a new phone number then it is free.
Ooma VoIP phone service has had reasonable ratings at WhichVoIP.com. Our users have loved the price savings with Ooma and it seems the customer service department really does try to help its customers. Problems that have been experienced seem to be primarily related to dropped calls. By all accounts the clarity of the calls is decent. Just keep in mind that when you weigh up Ooma prices against other residential VoIP providers there really is not much in it. Most residential VoIP service providers give away the ATA for free and then charge you an up-front fee for 2 years of phone service. Ooma markets their service as free calls but you have to pay handsomely for the hardware - it's an interesting business model.
The following provides a summary of recent user submitted ratings for Ooma:
MAY 31st, 2013Jenny (3.7)Yes
MAR 21st, 2013Clark (4.6)Yes
MAR 21st, 2013Jerry (4.7)Yes
FEB 23rd, 2013George (4.9)Yes
FEB 19th, 2013Stuart (5)Yes
View ALL Ooma reviews submitted by users.
Author: Mike Bragg
Ooma vs MagicJack
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Posted by John in Oakville on December 1st, 2013:
I'm puzzled with all the negative comments. I've had Ooma now for over 2 years. We give it a good workout daily with calls to the UK and US and have had zero drop-outs or bad voice quality. Initially I had my phone number ported from BELL. BELL was the problem at this time but eventually worked out the issues with them. They really had things messed up for a while. This is the only time I had anything to do with the Ooma service desk. They handled the situation and that is the first and last time I had anything to do with Ooma customer service. The only issue I can think of is that there is a slight delay in transmission/reception. If one listens closely while on a cell phone there is a slight delay there also. Not a big deal. I would recommend Ooma Telo to anyone who wants to reduce their telephone costs, get tons of features with the premium account, get good sound quality and reliability.
Posted by Judy on November 12th, 2013:
Looking into Ooma, but did their online ping/jitter test and got 2970 up/354 down/ 8 jitter/0 packets lost and 114 latency. Could replacing the old router improve my call clarity especially the jitter?
-> Response: Judy it may be worth running our voip test too as it will give you an overall MOS score which will help estimate voip clarity/quality. The jitter is not bad if only 8ms but the latency is quite high. As for replacing the router this will unlikely change the jitter and latency as these are primarily functions of your connection across the Internet but you may find that you do not have Quality of Service available on your old router but could on a new one so from that perspective it could have an impact. The jitter and latency tends to be an indication on how good your Internet connection is and this may be the reason you are having issues with quality rather than anything Ooma is doing. Take a look at our VoIP troubleshooting page for more info.
Posted by peter on November 9th, 2013:
Can you some how connect ooma to existing phones that are wired into the house ?
Posted by cindy on October 8th, 2013:
We've had Ooma for over a year - love the features - when we're away we have it forward calls to our cells. No dropped calls - never a problem with sound quality. We've had zero problems. There was a learning curve when we first got it - there always is! Now considering Ooma office at work!
Posted by Brian Williams on September 25th, 2013:
My OOMA worked fine for about five months. Lately, during almost every call, at some point I cannot be heard on the other end - I can hear them fine, but they hear nothing - and hang up. I have tried different hand-sets and re-booting the OOMA, both to no avail. I am looking to going to another system as this is completely unsatisfactory.
-> Response: This sounds like an uplink problem Brian (perhaps Internet bandwidth issues on the uplink side). Can you run our speed test (see above right) and let us know your results? Also check out our troubleshooting section in the header at the top of the page and also our setup article, as you may need to change your networking setup to prioritize your phone calls. Let us know how you get on, we're delighted to help.
Posted by Rory on September 19th, 2013:
Can the ooma phone line also be used for fax?
-> Response: Yes you can fax using Ooma, but as is the case with all VoIP providers this can be hit or miss because of the nature of the Internet. For basic faxing on the same phone number, use a phone splitter. If you make lots of faxes it may be better to have a dedicated number just for faxing. If you need high reliability for your incoming and outgoing faxes, take a look at the Ooma premier faxing service. For this type of service, additional redundancy is built in for faxing (so each packet is sent 3 times so that a dropped packet has less impact). The downside here is that a fax call requires 3x as much bandwidth so you need to have a good quality, high speed Internet connection. Ooma suggests you need at least 340Kbps of bandwidth for this level of redundancy. To enable premier faxing you can do this in your portal and select how much redundancy you require but you need to have the Ooma premier service.
Posted by Stacey on August 27th, 2013:
I am very happy with my Ooma. It has worked seamlessly since I got it. Customer service has also been fine (unlike AT and T where I always ended up frustrated and angry when dealing with them). I recommend Ooma.
Posted by RobertA. on August 27th, 2013:
I have been using Vonage for the last 8 years. I compared Vonage to Ooma and found that Ooma is not the bargain I thought. I call China quite a lot, the Vonage charge is 1 cent per minute. Ooma charges 2.5 cents per minute with a 3.9 cents connection fee for each call. After crunching numbers Vonage is the best deal, at least for me. I also have Magic Jack which is used for my fax machine, Vonage's extra number is too costly. BTW, I have not had one problem with Vonage service.
Posted by Larry on August 9th, 2013:
Well I received my Ooma adapter today and got it hooked up and activated. Sound quality is good but a full second delay between phones. Some may be in the digital cell phone service also. I haven't tried it in an actual phone call yet. Left a message on the box from a cell call and that seemed to work OK. Ooma.com still says my call answer is not in service? It all looks decent so far except for one big issue... Local people cannot call me. Ooma brags constantly about call this and make this call but never mentions anything about receiving calls. Every advert I have read for their adapter box says they have numbers for the 519 area codes but they don't. They have Bell's left overs using the 226 area code for the same area. People hate this area code (it's fairly new) and will not call it! People in this rural area will not even write it down when you give them your phone number. That's a deal breaker for me right there but wait.... there's more. Ooma has no phone numbers in my area so all local people will have to call long distance from across the street to get me. But wait...there's more! Ooma states they cannot convert my local number into their system, either. I can never have a local number here on their service. Since they only have remote numbers and any local person cannot port a local number to their sevice and leave it up or grabs if they leave, there will never be a local number here with Ooma. Ooma states they have no provider in this area. Hopefully they will get one soon. I will hang onto this box for a few months and hope for a better and local number. Ooma told me I can change any time. If that doesn't happen the box is basically a paper weight or has to go back for a refund. Not impressed with this at all. I find no information on what the answering machine buttons are or how things work. More research needed. Classic code writers attitude. It's not that intuitive to me and I have been a tech guy since 1971 when CPU's broke out of the mold.
Posted by Larry on August 6th, 2013:
Throughout my life I have observed hundreds of businesses and services that offer deals that you don't pay anything forever. Martial arts dojos come to mind where they used to offer 1 year, 2 year and lifetime memberships. Down the road a few years no money is coming in from new memberships and the dojo then folds up and disappears in a silent bankruptcy, essentially. Vonage offered service for years for $9.95/month and now the bottom service is $19.95 plus extras they have begun to offer. My feeling is that nobody can operate below these prices without eventually biting the dust or companies would be doing it. BTW: I have read Vonage and another VOIP service (forget the name) is terrible to cancel also. I read forums about people getting a VISA charge after 24 months of cancelling every month and having to get VISA to refund it, soon to be in Small Claims Court. **sigh**. I just can't afford to pay almost $4000 per year for communications with two cells, Internet, Bell phone, Roger's Internet cable (cancelled finally). Hopefully VOIP may be a way to reduce some of this obsession. No the price wasn't an exaggeration and I have a BB without data plan usage capability.
Posted by Terry Taylor on August 3rd, 2013:
Most incoming calls get dropped within 10 sec. If the caller calls back quickly the calls stay connected. Have complained numerous times to Ooma with no resolution.
Posted by Larry on August 2nd, 2013:
Ooma has launched in Canada and although their box is $150 or more they are claiming only $3.98 per month but $9.95 per month for the premium service. Even Vonage couldn't continue to supply their phone service for under $20 per month forever. My question is how long will they offer this cheap price before jacking up the price on the captive audience customers?
-> Response: The Ooma service has so far received fairly positive ratings on WhichVoIP. You can read what people have said by visiting our page that is dedicated to reviews of Ooma. To answer your question, from what we can tell from our research, Ooma has kept the price of its USA based service pretty much the same since it started offering it, and you can even get occasional discounts on the service through Costco. The $3.98 that you are referring to is for taxes and other fees. These are a regulatory compliance fee, a 911 service fee and some provinces charge a provincial and local tax. So we think you are pretty safe on the price of the basic and premier service remaining in the same ballpark for the foreseeable future. However, when it comes to the actual features provided with the basic service, well, you get what you pay for as there are only a few features included and there is no included calling to the USA. Comparing this to some other VoIP alternatives, you typically get unlimited calling in both the USA and Canada and a large feature set that compares more with the Ooma premier service, but at a lower price. If you don't call the USA very often and if you don't need many features, then Ooma might still be a good option to consider.
Posted by Brian on July 5th, 2013:
I've been using the Ooma Telo for well over a year and have not experienced any problems. I installed an Internet-Telo-Router, so Quality of Service is not an issue since the telo gets first crack at the bandwidth. The (more common?) Internet-Router-Telo setup likely requires setting QoS in the router to give the telo priority. I knew I wanted the Premier service from the start, so that's not an issue for me. I suspect my savings are higher than normal. My monthly phone costs went from $86/month to $14/month, easily covering the purchase price of the telo in 3-4 months. I give the sound quality a 9.5 out of 10 only because I've never found a handset that sounds as good as the old stationary Bell handsets.
Posted by Paul H on July 2nd, 2013:
We've consistently experienced problems with Ooma, mostly with dropped calls. My wife's work involves a lot of phone calls, so this is not an acceptable trade-off. Also, Ooma sits on a throne of lies. Their introductory promotional offer is for two free months of Premiere service, but they bill you for a year's worth of the service within a week of activating your account. I am currently in the process of trying to recoup that charge, and am having a very frustrating time dealing with their off-shore call center staff. On a scale of 1 - 10, with 10 being best, I would rate their line quality at 5, and their customer support at 2. I STRONGLY recommend finding another VOIP provider.
Posted by jim on May 22nd, 2013:
Ooma cancelling bundled international call minutes, product not competitive voip on 'pay as you go' basis.
Posted by Angie on April 17th, 2013:
I had Ooma for 18 months. It was great for the first year. Our service rarely went out even throughout storms. However, ironically, after the 1 year warranty expired, we started experiencing difficulties and our service would go out daily and we would have to reset the device. Then, once we decided to switch back to the traditional land line, we started the process of canceling our account with Ooma. This was TERRIBLE experience and Ooma DOES NOT make it easy. They have terrible customer service, when it comes to canceling your account. Would I get a Ooma phone again...NO WAY!
Posted by Lane on March 15th, 2013:
I have Ooma and I love it. I have never had a problem.
Posted by Fred on March 11th, 2013:
Ooma working great.
Posted by Will on March 5th, 2013:
Been using Ooma for over a year. It's okay. Few problems and expensive for the up-front equipment costs.