How would you like free long distance phone calls with no monthly fees? Well, the newest take on broadband VoIP is ooma, which they say will be available next month.
It’s similar to the other VoIP services like Vonage, but there’s a couple of differences. The “catch” to the no monthly fee is that you have to buy their hardware and it will set you back a whopping $400. It’s sort of like the original lifetime Tivo option with no monthly fees. As you may recall, that went out the window but the people who got that option originally, still have their free service for life. Hmmm.
The other twist is the box that you get also has a local answering machine like device. I don’t know if the messages are literally stored on this device or if it’s just some buttons that transmit info to their server to stream the message, but for people who are used to a physical device for their answering machine, this might be better than voice mail.
Currently, I’m paying $14.99 for Vonage for 500 minutes per month. If my math is correct… carry the 9… that comes out to about 26 months to pay $400, or 2 years. For the full-price Vonage ($24.99), it would be only 16 months. That’s less than a year and a half.
When I bought my Tivo, I did the same math and decided to pay the monthly fee instead of the one time $300 lifetime fee. Now that I’ve had my Tivo for about 3 years, I know I made the wrong decision.
The only other thing that has to be considered is that Ashton Kutcher is listed on their “management team” as their “Creative Director.” This could be bad. They might just take your $400 and deliver nothing except an email that tells you that you’ve been “Punk’d.”
hi. i am a current ooma customer (beta tester). we have had the ooma hub and 2 ooma scouts in our house for over a month. Before ooma we had vonage on one phone line at $25/month and we had an addtl normal PSTN line that costs about $20/month (for local) and we spent an addtl $30/month in long distance on that PSTN line. we have 2 adults and 2 teenage kids in our house so we need 2 phone lines. since with ooma every phone in our house now has 2 lines we were able to eliminate both the vonage account and the long-distance charges. we didnt have to keep the local line (at $20/month) but we kept it anyways for reliable 911. so we are saving $55/month with ooma installed and therefore at full retail price for the ooma system we break-even with ooma in well less than one year. also the voice quality is better than both the pstn line and the vonage line and the answering service/system gives us the best features of voicemail with the best features of an answering machine. so we are happy customers. finally, since we now get more usage of our home phones we were able to cut back on usage of our cell phones while at home which saves us about $10/cellphone/month and all 4 of us in our home have cellphones. so even more savings.