Ooma Better than MagicJack or Vonage

About three weeks ago I published an article about:

How to get free local and long distance phone service for life! *

The way it is done is by purchasing a device called an Ooma Hub.

The device retails for $250. The Ooma Hub (my recommendation) is available for $219.  Once purchased, you have access to the Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) service from Ooma for as long as you have the device.

Of course, VOIP service requires that you have a broadband Internet connection – but you have that already, don’t you? As I pointed out in the original review, this option is (IMHO) BETTER than Vonage, MagicJack or Skype. It does NOT require a computer (like MagicJack) and costs a lot less than Vonage or similar services. Actually, averaged over a couple of years, the Ooma service is probably less expensive than any other VOIP alternative – Plus, it offers a lot more functionality.

Unless you choose the “Premium” service (which adds a few really nice functions at a cost of about $100 per year), all of  your local and long distance calling is free as soon as you activate the device with Ooma. It does not matter if you are providing service to your home or business – all calls are FREE!

The previous article described my initial impressions of the device and the associated service. After three weeks of EXCLUSIVELY using the service for my home phone, I believe I am ready to give my recommendation….

I like it a lot! *

As a matter of a fact, I have ported my old AT&T phone number to the device and turned off the AT&T service as of yesterday.

Everything that I said in my original article has proven to be accurate. The call quality is every bit as good (if not better) than the AT&T service. Customer Service is available at about the same quality & times as it was with AT&T. The physical construction of the device appears to be first quality. Even the packaging of the device was first rate!

Although I did some “creative installation” with the device, it still works exactly as described on the Ooma site and in my previous review. The difference of my installation is that I do not need the “Scout” and all of my original home phone outlets are still active and work exactly as before. I can plug in any  off-the-shelf standard phone in any of the outlets and it will work the same as if you plugged it into a jack in your home.

Since I ported my original number, my outgoing calls register my same phone number on the called phone. To date, the NAME portion of the CallerID does not display my name. I suspect that will automatically correct after a short period of use with the new number.

Leave a comment below if you are interested in this service. I give it my HEARTY RECOMMENDATION! Let’s  boot the monopolistic phone companies from our homes & businesses!!

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16 Responses to Ooma Better than MagicJack or Vonage

  1. Shelly says:

    What is the difference between an ooma hub and an ooma telo? I have telo but have not used it yet. Should I get the hub instead? What speed internet is prefered? Will 7or 12 mbps work?

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Either the telo or the hub will work fine. Not very much difference as far as I am aware.
      I used my Ooma on a 2meg dsl connection and it worked fine. I now have a 16meg cable and there is little difference. I may have slightly better voice quality but it was great before.
      Plug it up and enjoy!

  2. Clark Able says:

    As all the cell users and net freaks start to drop their land lines, more of them will die when they can’t reach 911 because their net is down and the cell battery is dead. Or worse, because of speed dial they cant remember the number for 911.

    Works for me. Maybe then the world will regain some peace and sanity.

    Cheers :)

    • Ray Waldo says:

      That is an interesting take on the situation, Clark!
      Actually, Ooma (and Vonage) works EXACTLY like the old pots phones. Emergency calling (e911) included. The differences are in the ADDITIONAL features of voip over pots. Oh yeah, and all the MONEY that we are saving.
      To date (after 2 yrs) I have saved about $1000 above my original investment – for more and better service! I will continue to save around $500 per year for the life of my Ooma device. Works for me!!

  3. Jeff Benjamin says:

    I meant to add one other comment. Vonage does not charge for most international calls. I counted about 70 countries – most of Europe, much of South America, Asia (including China and Japan), the Middle East and Israel… too many to list. Calls are free and unlimited. And my voice mail messages are dictated and sent to me as an email. When I’m at work, I can just read my voice mail messages from my Vonage phone at home. But I’m still open to this Ooma option.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Hey Jeff: Thanks for all of the VERY GOOD comments about Vonage. Your original comment asked where the comparison data was. I have an entire series of posts related to this issue. Check all the posts here: http://bishoptec.com/series/ooma/

      As to your comparisons, they are generally correct. However, if you have the Ooma “Hub” then there is NO charge for the basic service. And, they transferred my number for free as part of the one-year of free Premier service that is included in the equipment cost. Although I now pay the $10/mo Premier fee, it is well worth it (no other charges except for International calls). As to the International calling, if one makes frequent calls to the SELECTED countries that Vonage offers free service to, then it might be a good deal for them. However, since I RARELY make International calls, that is no benefit to me at all. Like all things, YMMV.

      You are also correct that Ooma and Vonage are very similar. I do not have direct comparison data but I understand that Ooma voice quality may be a bit better (it is perfect for me). And, finally, you are also correct that MagicJack and Skype are not even in the same league as Ooma & Vonage (I have both and use neither).

      Thanks again for the great comments. It is refreshing to have real discussion about this stuff. As I said before, I do not have any affiliation with Ooma (or any of the other services) so I only post the facts as I see them. When I was having trouble with my phone (later found to be my ISP – rather than Ooma), I was open to share that difficulty. I can say now that I am VERY pleased with the Ooma device and service. I can also see some advantages in having Vonage – especially since the company is much larger and potentially better positioned for long-term support. Actually, I would not be surprised if they bought Ooma.

  4. Jeff Benjamin says:

    From what I can tell, Ooma is not really different from Vonage (in the way that MagicJack and Skype definitely are). Ooma is cheaper, if you only buy the basic box. If you want the extra services (which come with Vonage, and Vonage appears to have MORE services than Ooma, such as Virtual Numbers) then you pay for the Ooma Premier service and spend as much as Vonage. Ooma also has additional charges for things like a Hawaii phone number. Vonage doesn’t charge extra for these extra services. I like the idea of buying an Ooma box and having free service from then on. But it looks like it doesn’t really work that way. I pay $20/month for Vonage. Ooma would charge about $4/month for taxes, and if I want all the services that come “free” with Vonage, I have to pay $10/month for Ooma Premier (that’s now $14/month). Vonage doesn’t charge for transferring your existing phone number. Ooma charges $40. Vonage equipment is free. The Ooma box is over $200. It appears that if I want the same service from Ooma that I currently get from Vonage, it’s going to cost me as much or maybe more than I currently pay for Vonage. If I’m wrong, please let me know where.

  5. The magic jack and skype are all a person needs for their home communication devices.

    Magic Jack

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Thanks for the comment Dan!

      I agree that Magic Jack is a good deal. However, the REQUIREMENT that you keep a Windows Computer online (to which the MJ connects) in order to have phone service turns me off. When I first found MJ, I bought two devices and signed up for a five-year contract on both. Now, NEITHER device is even connected.

      I also have a Skype account but I don’t see any value to most home users. I set it up to use with my cell phone. I can make/receive cell phone calls WITHOUT cell phone service – as long as I am in range of a WiFi connection. But again, it is of questionable value overall – unless you are using it via a computer with broadband.

      To see the comparison of the major devices/services, click here: http://bishoptec.com/2009/08/free-telephone-service/

  6. Ray Waldo says:

    Hey, thanks for the comments. I did take a look at your site and it is nice. I left a comment on your HOPE article. Let me know how Ooma works out for you. BTW, Did you check the latest article on how to install Ooma for the whole house? http://bishoptec.com/2010/01/ooma-to-all-phones-

  7. Ray Waldo says:

    I have a couple of suggestions about your site. 1. Get IntenseDebate for your comments. It practically eliminates spam and serves as the gatekeeper for undesirable comments.2. Go to gravatar.com and upload an avatar for your email addresses. They will then show up on most sites – regardless of the software used on the site.

  8. Ray Waldo says:

    I have a couple of suggestions about your site.
    1. Get Discus for your comments. It practically eliminates spam and serves a the gatekeeper for undesirable comments.
    2. Go to gravatar.com and upload an avatar for your email addresses. They will then show up on most sites – regardless of the software used on the site.

  9. Ray Waldo says:

    Hey, thanks for the comments. I did take a look at your site and it is nice. I left a comment on your HOPE article. Let me know how Ooma works out for you. BTW, Did you check the latest article on how to install Ooma for the whole house? http://bishoptec.com/2010/01/ooma-to-all-phones-

  10. idahostevens says:

    I have been researching voip and have come to the conclusion you are right about OOma. It will become part of my system. I am running Linux web services. ( http://idahostevens.com ) Since you are a pastor you might like the stuff I have posted. ;-)). great job on the pages.

  11. idahostevens says:

    I have been researching voip and have come to the conclusion you are right about OOma. It will become part of my system. I am running Linux web services. ( http://idahostevens.com ) Since you are a pastor you might like the stuff I have posted. ;-)). great job on the pages.

  12. pcphonesoft says:

    USE MAGICJACK WITH SKYPE AND A CORDLESS PHONE

    Users of the magicJack can now enjoy the added benefits of Skype including video calling, conference calling and free Skype to Skype user calls worldwide.

    A new Skype dual mode calling software plugin “SkyjackPlugin” for magicJack users has been released. The plugin allows magicJack and Skype calls to be placed concurrently from the same regular or cordless phone.

    To place Skype calls just dial * before the number you want to call. Speed dial numbers are available for dialing other Skype users. Regular magicJack calls are placed as normal. For incoming calls, just answer the phone when it rings.

    “SkyjackPlugin” can be downloaded at http://www.pcphonesoft.com

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