Ooma Day 1


So far so good with the Ooma today… Call quality seems clear and no one has commented that we sound any different which has happened on occasion with previous home VOIP services.

Only one glitch which was when I accidentally disconnected my sister-in-law by placing the call on hold. When my wife went to pick up with a second extension the call was not there and I thought a simple flash would flip over to the active line. My understanding of how Ooma works is that you get the second line on a second extension if the line is active elsewhere.

Otherwise the phone is working as we would expect. I like being able to get a visual cue that the phone is in use (#1 Button is active and Red). Still getting used to seeing a blue blink every few minutes out of the corner of my eye…

My wife seems pleased (outside of the call disconnect) and was really very happy to learn we could SEE we had a voicemail AND that you could access things without even having to dial!

I’ve also received an email from Ooma this morning telling me that over the next few days more features (outbound Caller-ID needs to activate for starters) will become available and my current carrier (Verizon) will be notified of the changes we are making which is standard stuff, but good to see that Ooma is on top of the initial welcome and customer communications.

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17 comments for “Ooma Day 1

  1. Dennis
    8/11/2007 at 11:51 am

    Thanks for the report. What exactly are those changes to your Verizon line? Who pays for them? How much will they change your Verizon bill?

  2. 8/11/2007 at 12:05 pm

    My current charges are the standard VZ stuff — local and LD. I’ll be reducing that shortly once the Ooma full kicks in and I no longer need to buy more than 911 and basic local service. The Ooma will be NO CHARGE for ALL domestic calls. Not sure what international rates are but I rarely need that anyway and can probably do Skype with friends who might be traveling.

  3. Dennis
    8/11/2007 at 12:40 pm

    Right. I’m saying that even with your long-distance bill going to ZERO, I still want to know the before/after actual monthly outlay. Ooma only offsets the “long distance” portion of your total bill, which for many of us is fairly minor, compared to the basic line charge, often $20 or more, plus we still have to pay the $5 (or so) for “federal subscriber line charge” no matter what, so Ooma can’t get rid of many of the actual monthly costs.

    Like I said though, the key thing I want to know is total costs per month before Ooma, regardless of who that money is going to (including domestic long-distance) and the total costs after (presumably long-distance goes to zero and of course no money going to Ooma, supposedly). That amount divided into the $400 (or whatever) cost of the Ooma box gives me my break even.

    Nobody has been able to tell me how Ooma, exactly, changes my local landline service and how that affects my bill. I’ve emailed Ooma, but have not received any replies.

  4. 8/11/2007 at 7:10 pm

    I”m not sure actually. I know Ooma impacts my local calling and know I’ll still be paying the tax to just have dial-tone. My current bill averages close to 100/mo and we don’t even use it that much — it ‘s mainly the taxes on the unlimited calling we have.

    The initial $400 hardware costs were waived as a beta user so for me it’s instant savings. When I get my bill I’ll have to post on what’s different.

    The only incremental charges with Ooma seem to be international calling for now. I’ve read about potential value add / premium services, but I don’t know what they might be or whether I’ll even care to use them. Most of my calling is on the mobile. This is a savings play more than anything for us.

  5. Dennis
    8/11/2007 at 8:36 pm

    Interesting. My current AT&T bill is about $26 per month for my basic landline service plus local calls (not including long-distance). My long-distance (which I get elsewhere, not AT&T) is about $14/month. Assuming Ooma makes the $14 go away, the question then is what will the $26 change to (I understand Ooma changes the features on my line). If I will be letting all other Ooma users make calls using my AT&T line, then I could see the fees for local calls possibly going up too (I don’t pay for unlimited local calls now in the $26).

  6. 8/11/2007 at 8:47 pm

    Ooma makes VOIP calls for everything so I can’t see your bill going up at all. Initially they are requiring a POTS connection, but I read that will actually not be a requirement for long.

    For us POTS is insurance for when the power goes out, which unfortunately has happened enough and for along enough periods of time to warrant a generator.

  7. Dennis
    8/12/2007 at 10:22 am

    All the hype about Ooma is around the “P2P” model, where supposedly calls placed by some other Ooma customer in another area to someone in my local area may be placed through my Ooma box (using my AT&T phone line), unknown to me.

    Also, some have reported that Ooma adds/deletes services (like busy call forwarding) on the line and calls to the Ooma “instant second-line” may incur “local” minutes.

    These could increase the cost of my AT&T service. It’s all very confusing, but these questions and areas where Ooma seems somewhat deceptive are the exact reasons why I want to know how Ooma will affect the costs of my AT&T line and nobody seems to be abel to ell me, least of all Ooma.

  8. Dennis Peng
    8/14/2007 at 2:31 am

    Jonathan – glad to see your initial experience has been ok. I’m curious about the call disconnect issue, is this something that you can reproduce? If you take an active call and put it on hold, you should be able to re-join that call anywhere else by picking up another phone and (1) pressing the line button that is slowly blinking (ie on hold), or (2) pressing flash to “switch lines”.

    Dennis – when ooma provisions your phone line to work with our landline product, we will strip all features from the phone line except Caller ID (if it is already present – we will not add it). We will then add Busy Call Forwarding (BCF). It depends on where you live, but in California, a basic flat-rate residential plan is $10.69. BCF is $4.00. Add in the taxes and surchages, and that line will cost around $21/month. Depending on what features and calling packages you had before, this could be more, less, or about the same as what you currently pay. ooma BCF’s to a local number, so you should never have to pay incremental charges for calls to the second line as long as you have a flat-rate local plan.

    When our non-landline product is available in September, consumers will have the option to cut-the cord and forgo the landline. Based on market trends, however, we think that many folks will choose to pay the ~$20 or so for peace of mind – an “insurance” of sorts in case they need 911 or to use the phone when the Internet is down in the house.

  9. 8/14/2007 at 7:40 am

    @Dennis Peng — Thanks for following up. When the call disconnected I was not near the device and was trying to switch with just the handset. I have not had a chance to try it again, but will certainly let you know if there are continued problems.

    I will likely be keeping my soon to be low-cost landline for the insurance purpose — and wife approval factor for the times when we need it due to power issues.

  10. Dennis Peng
    8/14/2007 at 11:52 am

    I forgot to mention that Caller ID is an incremental charge on the landline. It is up to you whether or not you want subscribe to it – it is necessary in order for you to get Caller ID on your phones since most incoming calls will come in on the landline. Unbundled pricing of features has risen over the last year or so, last I checked Caller ID was an $8/mo(!) option with AT&T.

  11. 8/14/2007 at 1:04 pm

    If we already have it you don’t kill it do you?

  12. Dennis Peng
    8/14/2007 at 1:07 pm

    Nope – that’s the one thing that we don’t change. If you had Caller ID, we leave it on (we know people want their Caller ID). If you never had it, we don’t add it.

  13. 8/14/2007 at 1:11 pm

    Good answer! Thanks for staying connected here as well…

    Can I get your comments on the P2P aspect of things? I’d really like to know what it’s for and why it’s part of the deal.

  14. Dennis Peng
    8/16/2007 at 7:28 pm

    The P2P network of ooma users is used to create the Distributed Termination network. This allows ooma to reduce certain operational expenses that dictate the cost/pricing structure of VoIP services today. It is the fundamental technology that allows us to offer unlimited calling (within the U.S.) to our subscribers for a one-time fee of the hardware.

  15. 8/16/2007 at 7:37 pm

    Thanks Dennis! This plus the encryption you mentioned earlier today more than justify the cost and the use of P2P.

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