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Ooma finally launches VoIP service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 19 Jul 2007 15:06 User comments (5)

Ooma finally launches VoIP service Today, Ooma finally launched its much anticipated VoIP service. Although the VoIP market is currently crowded, Ooma hopes to make its name known by offering free domestic calls for life.
The only payment you ever have to pay is the $399 USD to join the service. After paying the fee, customers receive the Ooma hardware which requires a broadband connection and will plug into a standard phone.

Ooma is the first service to use peer-to-peer technology for VoIP and uses the telephone lines of other users whenever it is possible. That feature enables Ooma to keep the service offered for free.

However good in theory the idea is, Ooma first needs to get a substantial amount of customers or their P2P type service will simply not work. In light of that fact, Ooma is starting an invitation program that lets users invite up to three friends before the hardware officially goes on sale.

The more serious problem for the company however is whether consumers will pay the $400 starting fee for a company that may not last. In recent news, SunRocket, a company that offered annual VoIP service for $200 USD, ceased operations leaving customers without service or their hard earned money.

Ooma does plan to charge for international calls however, with the cost being a few cents a minute to most countries.


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5 user comments

119.7.2007 15:20

Well, this looks good. I am wondering exactly what the plan gives you. From what I can tell though, "Free Domestic" would include long distance. As long as it wasn't "International" aka out of your country.

If this is correct and they only charge for long distance out of your country then this would be a smart move for VoIP users, in my opinion. Vonage is $25 for unlimited calls, excluding International. So, if the Ooma plan is the same as the Vonage $25 plan, in just a bit over a year (1.3 years to be exact) Ooma would start being free, as long as you don't call International. This is a pretty smart plan as I am sure VoIP doesn't cost the company, in this case Ooma, much to power/maintain.

Hopefully Ooma will stay up for a long time. If its still going when I move out in 2-3 years then maybe I will get it in my new house. :-)


219.7.2007 16:52


320.7.2007 17:20

Ooma is the first service to use peer-to-peer technology for VoIP and uses the telephone lines of other users whenever it is possible.
Ever heard of Skype?

421.7.2007 3:58

They had me at life, but $400 I dont think soo.

54.12.2007 14:14

I just got mine yesterday.

Setup was fairly easy...I did have an issue related to the dsl filter...but I eventually got around it.

One big issue for me is that I live in an area code where a new one was "over layed" and thus we all have to dial 1+area code+number even when calling someone in our own area code. Ooma seems not to understand this and thus strips out the area code when I call local...leaving me hearing a message from the phone company stating I must dial the area code.

I've let the ooma folks we'll see how long it takes to fix. Obviously, this would be a deal killer. But for now, I'm treating it as a "birthing pain". We have cell phones that we can use.

Other than that, everything seems to work fine. Calls sound good. Better than a cell phone.

I'm married with 3 kids, so I needed a solution that would work with "phones" and not "head sets attached to computers"...not even "phones attached to computers". Once ooma is up and working...the experience of using it is just like using your phone.

The second line feature is nice...and for folks paying for second lines ooma can help recoup it's cost much faster.

But frankly, for someone like me who's keeping local service...the savings of ooma take a long time to be realized. Paying $480 (two scouts) upfront to save $22 a month (the difference between my all everything package and my stripped down local package) is a tough sell.

Particularly when you don't know if ooma will be around next year -- or if the telco's will sue them out of existence.

I'll keep using it for a couple weeks to see if we like it. At some point they'll have "number portability" and we could drop our land line and still keep our number. At that point, we'd save over $60 a month (when including taxes as well) and that's a much easier cost justification.


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