How I saved $40+ a month on my landline phone thanks to the internet
Yes, I’m one of those people who still has a landline. I’ve just never been able to adjust to having my cellphone on me constantly unless I’m out somewhere. If I’m at home, odds are my cell is in my purse in the closet where I’m not very likely to hear it unless I happen to be in the same room. So, my home phone is still the kind that you plug into a phone jack in the wall.
The problem with that is the price tag (I was actually paying more for the landline than for my cell). When I first moved into my house, I signed up for Comcast’s “Triple Play” (phone, internet, and cable TV)… mostly because Comcast is pretty much the de facto internet and cable provider in my area. Since I was already buying that from them, I figured I might as well toss in phone, too, and save a little plus have it all come on one bill.
That was great until I decided to get rid of Comcast’s cable service a few months back. At that point, my bill dropped more than $60, but it was still over $100 with the remaining services… so I started doing some research.
There are dozens of VoIP service out there besides Comcast (and most of them are cheaper). Vonage is probably the most well-known. After reading some reviews, I whittled my choices down to three:
- Well-known company
- US & Canada 300 plan (you have to dig a little to find it) is only $11.99/month and gives you 300 minutes of local and long distance calls per month.
- Features unlimited inbound calls, voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, anonymous call-block, 3-way calling
- Free equipment and activation
- Annual contract required
- Residential Basic plan for $9.99/month gives you 500 local and long distance minutes per month
- Features Caller ID, Call forwarding, Call waiting, Voicemail, 3-Way Calling, unlimited inbound calls
- No annual contract
- Free equipment
- $29.95 setup/activation fee, and extra cost to port an existing phone number to the service
- Not very well known
- Free service… all you pay for are area taxes and fees, which are around $5 a month.
- Features Caller ID, Call waiting, Voicemail, “instant” second line
- Requires purchase of $180 Ooma Telo hardware
- Transfer fee of $39.99 to port your existing phone number
- Automatically enrolls you in a 60-day trial of Ooma Premier, that you must opt out of if you don’t want to be charged
- Had some bad reviews of their customer service, but they were from a few years ago
In the end, I went with Oooma. The $5 a month price tag and the fact that I found the $180 hardware for only $95 from an Amazon Marketplace seller made it hard to resist.
I’m happy to say that thus far, my experience with Ooma has been a very positive one.
I did have some minor difficulties setting up the Ooma Telo (mostly because I’m an idiot who didn’t realize I was thinking about the connections backwards), and had to call their customer service. They have a nice support forum that seems to be primarily made up of other Ooma users, which is the first place I went for help. Though they were eager to help me out, we couldn’t quite get the the root of the problem. It was the weekend and I’d missed the online chat support hours, so the next place I went was their phone support line.
Phone support seems to be a little hit or miss. The first person I talked to gave me some generic answers (reboot the modem, reboot the Ooma, etc.) that didn’t get me anywhere. The second person I talked to, though, went above and beyond walking me through every connection on the hardware until we found the issue. After that was sorted, everything worked just fine.
Porting my number was completely painless. Everything was handled through the Ooma web interface (which is pretty sweet, by the way), and my number was transferred from Comcast to Ooma in a little over 2 weeks.
The call quality thus far has been as good, if not better than, Comcast’s, and I haven’t had any problems with dropped calls… and as an added bonus, I can customize my caller ID via the my.Ooma.com website.
That said, I’ve only been on the service for a couple of weeks. I’ll have to wait and see how it goes from here, but for now, I’m giving Ooma a tentative thumbs up.