First, a little history. Originally, I bought the Ooma Hub at Best Buy in 2008 for $250. Back then, there was absolutely no monthly charge. However, the Hub was discontinued back in 2013 including all support and firmware updates. Ooma came out with their new Telo box for $250. Back then, I decided I was simply going to use it until all the wheels fell off.
Although the original price of the Telo was $250, currently, you can get one at Best Buy for $100 at full MSRP. Every once in a while, Ooma would send me offers to upgrade my Hub to a Telo, but the catch was always that I would go on their “normal” price plan which would cost my about $4 per month for fees and taxes for California. Why should I pay to buy something that increases my monthly fee from zero to $4? No thank you.
But I digress.
Then the other week, I finally got this offer in my email (see below).
As you can see, they are offering me an upgrade to the Telo for $80 (free shipping) and I get to stay on my completely free plan for the lifetime of the device. Interestingly, this offer is not available via their website and I had to actually call the number and talk to a live person. Everything seemed to be okay except they had trouble setting up a mailing address that was not the address used for my phone service. In fact, even after they confirmed they could do it, it came to the wrong address.
In any case, it only took a few days to get it, so I was quite happy and unpacked my new Telo. As you can see below, the back of the unit is basically the same as the old Hub. Basically, you simply connect the Ethernet cable from your router to the Telo, and your old land line phone to the one marked “Phone.”
After plugging in the power, the unit went through some sort of boot-up procedure. After a while, the logo LED turned red and started to blink. I didn’t have to read a manual to know that a red blinking LED is never good.
Oooma’s website support page has a live chat so I asked them about it. They asked me for my MAC address and they said their tech people would get back to me.
After a couple of days, I noticed that the blinking red logo has turned to a solid blue. Nice. The Telo started to work just like my old Hub. Basically, it works just like an old fashioned answering machine. When a call comes through and it is not picked up, the caller can leave a voice message. Ooma allows you to setup a voice message notification that will be texted to your smartphone.
You can call your own phone number from your smartphone to hear your messages. Alternatively, you can use the buttons on the Telo as shown below. If there are new messages, the “play” button will be blinking and when you press it, you will hear the message. You can press the trash button to delete it or press the next button to hear the next message. If you use your land line phone, there are also other options, like save message or repeat message.
As far as I can tell, the Telo works perfectly as advertised and I’m happy with it. Ooma claims the Telo has more special compression firmware that the Hub does not have that makes the calls clear. However, that’s not easy to verify. What is clear is my Telo’s firmware can be updated when a new version comes out. And hopefully, it will last longer than my old Hub because my completely free service is only for the life of this Telo.
Hopefully, my new Telo will last a very long time.