Ooma Review VoIP 3 2016-11-08 10:45:59

Ooma Review

Ooma
Rating:
Bottom Line:
Competitive prices and excellent international plan, but high initial cost and porting fee are off-putting

Full Review:
Ooma is a VoIP service that's a bit different from the competition. Rather than pay a set fee each month for service, Ooma customers must purchase an advanced adapter, which then provides them with unlimited U.S. calling and a number of features. With the ability to try its premium service for two months free and international calling options, Ooma could be a good choice for those who want to own their equipment.


Plans and Pricing

Ooma offers three plan options: Basic, Premier and International.


Basic Plan
The Basic plan costs $149.99 upfront to cover the cost of the equipment. This is a bit pricey compared to some other VoIP services we review which provide an adapter free of charge; however, the cost comes out to about $12.50/month for your first year — and after that you won't pay anything more unless you upgrade. Basic plan customers are allowed unlimited calling within the U.S. and can make international calls starting at 1.4¢/minute. Ooma has an interactive chart on its website that shows you the cost-per-minute to call different countries.

Premier Plan
The Premier plan costs $9.99/month, or $119.99/year, and provides unlimited calling within the U.S. and Canada (excluding the 867 area code that covers Canada's Arctic territories). All Basic customers get a free 60-day trial of Premier, which is a great way to test out all the features Ooma has to offer before committing to a monthly plan. At the end of your trial, you can choose to subscribe to Premier or revert to the free Basic plan. Users with the Premier plan also receive 250 U.S. mobile minutes/month.

International Plan
You have two choices for international calling with Ooma. You can pay as you go with the everyday rates, mentioned above, or pay $17.99/month for unlimited calling to 61 countries. For $25.99 you can get calling for additional countries with Ooma's World Plus plan.

In addition to these prices, you will be subject to small taxes and local fees, which covers charges such as E911 service. Those on the Basic plan will still have to pay these fees each month. If you want to port (or transfer) your number, it will cost $39.99 for Basic members — Premier members can transfer an existing number for free. If you want to port your number during the 60-day trial of the Premier plan, the cost you paid for porting will be deducted from your one-year subscription.




Equipment and Setup

To get phone service from Ooma, you are required to purchase its Ooma Telo adapter, which you can do through the company website or at several retail stores, such as Best Buy and Walmart. All Telo adapters come with a 1-year warranty that you can extend to 3 years for the added cost of $69.99. While Ooma's adapter is designed with PureVoice™ technology for enhanced sound quality and offers some additional features that other VoIP services' adapters don't — such as the ability to listen to your voicemail from the adapter and a USB port for use with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth accessories — it still functions just like most other adapters out there. To use Ooma, you just have to connect your high-speed Internet modem and home phone into the Telo.

Ooma also sells other equipment on its site, such as cordless handset phones ($59.99), wireless adapters ($49.99) and Bluetooth adapters ($29.99). You can also purchase refurbished Telo adapters for $129.99 if you want to save a little on the initial cost.

Since you purchase the equipment outright, there is no need to worry about returning it if you cancel your service.


Features

All Ooma customers get a fairly standard set of basic features with their service, including caller ID/call waiting, voicemail with one-touch access, E911 service and email and text alerts, an online call log and free calling to other Ooma customers.


Premier is where the bulk of Ooma's features can be found. Those who upgrade to this plan get all of the above plus a host of features, including a free second line, voicemail monitoring, call blocking, a personal U.S.-based number that you can set to ring on multiple phones or just one and three-way conferencing. For an additional fee of $4.99/month, you can get transcripts of your voicemails sent to you as text messages.

You can use a fax machine with Ooma, though the service recommends you purchase an additional line to use for incoming faxes. It even sells a wireless adapter to connect your fax machine to the Telo. Unfortunately, one feature missing from Ooma's lineup is Internet fax — which competitors including VOIPo and Vonage offer with their plans.


Customer Service

Ooma customer support is a bit difficult to navigate, but overall decent. Phone operators are available Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT and on Saturdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PT. Live chat is offered five days a week, 24 hours a day. When we called, it took a while to figure out which option to press in the menu — and we still didn't end up in the correct department, requiring a transfer. The representative we eventually spoke to was cordial and answered our questions. Unfortunately, we could not test live chat without an Ooma phone number.


Refunds

Ooma offers a 30-day refund on any equipment purchased. It's important to note that you can only receive a full refund from Ooma one time. This means that if you return your equipment and decide later on you want to try Ooma again, you will be charged a restocking fee for any returned equipment. If you did not purchase your equipment from Ooma's website, you should return it to the store you bought it from.



If you are subscribed to the 1-year Premier plan and wish to cancel your service midway through, there is no cancelation fee and you will be issued a prorated refund for the months left in your subscription. Unfortunately there are no refund options for the Basic plan (past the 30-day refund).


International Calls

Below is the full alphabetical list of countries included in Ooma's International Plan. The ** indicates that calls to mobile phones are also included.


Andorra
Argentina
Australia
Austria
Bahrain**
Belgium
Brazil
Brunei**
Canada**
Chile
China**
Colombia
Croatia
Cyprus
Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
France
French Antilles
French Guiana
Martinique
Georgia
Germany
Greece
Guadeloupe
Guam**
Hong Kong**
Hungary
Iceland
India**
Ireland
Israel
Italy
Japan
Latvia
Luxembourg
Malaysia
Malta Republic
Mexico
Morocco
Netherlands
New Zealand
Norway
Peru
Poland
Portugal
Puerto Rico**
Romania
Singapore**
Slovak republic
Slovenia
South Korea
Spain
Sweden
Switzerland
Taiwan
Thailand**
Turkey
United Kingdom
United States**
U.S. Virgin Islands**
Venezuela


Conclusion

While Ooma has a good amount of features to offer and competitive pricing for its premium and international plans, the initial equipment cost is off-putting. Although we appreciate that the porting fee is discounted from the Premier membership later on, this is a feature offered for free by most VoIP companies we review. That being said, if you're someone who needs to use a traditional fax machine at home, Ooma may be a good option because it's one of few services that can accommodate a traditional fax.

Compare to Other VoIP

If you have a question or concern we haven't answered on our site, please let us know. Your question will be added to the NextAdvisor Forums so that we and other experts in our community can answer it. Due to volume, we aren't able to respond to every question, but we answer as many as we can.



Service Details

Plans:Basic: $149.99 upfront equipment fee
Premier: $9.99/mo
International: $17.99/mo or $25.99 for World Plus
Setup Fees:None
$ Back Guarantee & Cancel Policy:30-day money back guarantee; prorated refund on annual plans
Promotions:60-day free trial of Premier
Countries Included:More than 60 — see review for full list

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