Fire Your Phone Company!
These days a lot of people use their cell phones as their only phones. But if you, like me, prefer to maintain a single "home" number as well but currently pay over $4/mo. then keep reading!
Back in the day when we were paying the likes of Verizon or AT&T for phone service my family spent $27/mo. for "bare bones" home phone service. No caller-ID. No call waiting. At one point we had tried saving money by switching to a Vonage-like VoIP service which we soon gave up due to horrible call quality. But since April 2012 we've been using a wonderful service from a company called Ooma. They are a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) company based in Palo Alto, CA whose mission it is to change everything that's wrong with the landscape of home phone service today. Right away I'm a fan because they have a clear sense of Why (read why that makes for a better company here).
"But what is VoIP", you ask? Very simply, it's using your high-speed Internet connection (cable, DSL, etc.) instead of phone lines to make calls. Because Ooma does it right, you get:
- Better call quality than analog phones or even other VoIP services
- Close to ZERO monthly costs because you're already paying for the Internet connection it runs on. All you pay are taxes & fees required w/ any phone line. Mine are only $3.73/mo. in California!
- Called-ID and call waiting included as standard features
- Long Distance: Free within the U.S.
- International Rates: 1-7¢/min. (Ooma) vs. 4-17¢/min. (Verizon)
- 911 Service
- Can I use my same number? Yes, there's a 1-time fee of $39.99 to transfer you number over to Ooma (or you can chose a new number for free).
- Do I have to switch out my phones? No. Ooma is just a box that connects between your Internet modem/router and your phone.
- What about Vonage? They provide a similar VoIP-based service (at least in name) but cost $9.99/mo. (before taxes) for some reason. They run a lot of commercials, so maybe that's why.
- How do I connect (1) Ooma box to multiple phones in my house? Just plug the phone line output of the Ooma box into any of your phone jacks. That should give you a dial tone on all phones connected to other jacks around the house. This is how I'm using mine.
- What's the total cost to switch? If you want to transfer your existing number there's a 1-time $39.99 fee for that plus about $150 for the box (Amazon), so $190 all in. In my case I saved $23/mo. over Verizon so it took 8 months to break even. Check out your own savings potential w/ Ooma's calculator.
- How does Ooma rank w/ Consumer Reports? So glad you asked. They've actually been rated #1 phone provider by Consumer Reports (May 2013), with Vonage & FiOS at #4 & #5, respectively (see the Consumer Reports video here).
So there you have it....a great way to keep your home phone but fire your phone company.
Are you thinking about giving Ooma a try after reading this amazing piece of persuasive writing, or are you already a happy Ooma customer? Let me know by clicking here.
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