Landlines are becoming a thing of the past with the adoption of cellphones. But there are times when a landline makes sense. For example, if you have a ‘frugal’ cell phone plan, a landline makes sense. Another reason could be a poor cell phone signal quality inside your home.
There are two kinds of landlines. The traditional line which requires a phone jack and is still expensive in my opinion (if you are still on this, it is time to consider alternatives) and the VOIP line which uses your broadband connection to make and receive calls. Companies like Vonage use this technology.
Quality-wise you wouldn’t see much difference unless you have a really bad broadband connection.
A stable router and modem is another part of the equation. If you have to constantly reset your router or modem, VOIP is not for you. You don’t want to be missing calls because your router wasn’t up!
With Vonage you pay about $24 a month which is still cheaper than a corresponding traditional phone line. What if this can be reduced to 0$?
Yes, free domestic and long distance and you pay zilch! Too good to be true? I thought so too! Enter Ooma. With Ooma, you can choose your own phone number and make unlimited domestic or local calls for life! (Number porting is available for additional charge)
So how does Ooma work?
Ooma has a sleek device called the hub, that sits between your modem and your router. You connect your phone to the Ooma hub. Ooma lets you pick or port a number, you reset all devices once and Ooma is up and running! Pick up the phone and start talking!
That’s it! Took me about 10 minutes to set this up. The call quality is excellent. And it is nice to hold a real phone at last and not tiny cell phones! (My pet peeve!)
What is the hidden cost?
None. No seriously, I don’t have to pay a cent.
Ok, seriously what’s the catch?
The catch is Ooma is about to discontinue this too-good-to-be-true deal and start charging a fee. In fact if you purchase their latest model, there is a fee. But if you happen to grab their older version, you are in on the party.
This is the model you should be buying.
- Free US calling: Call anyone, anytime, anywhere in the U.S.
- Phone number flexibility: Choose a new number anywhere in the U.S. or transfer an existing number for a one-time charge
- Caller-ID: See the name and number of who is calling (caller-ID compatible phone required)
- Call-waiting: Switch to a new incoming call when you are already on the line
- Call-waiting caller-ID: See the name and number of a new incoming call before you switch over
- Voicemail: Access your messages remotely from any phone or web browser
- Voicemail notifications: Receive notifications via email or text when incoming messages arrive
- Broadband Answering Machine: Listen to messages hands-free with the built-in speaker
- Ooma Lounge: Hear messages and control your preferences online
- Call logs: Check your calling history online; filter and sort to find the call you are looking for
- Enhanced 911: Emergency personnel are automatically given your registered address when you dial 911 (subject to availability)
- Free in-network calling: Call another Ooma customer anywhere in the world for free
- Outbound caller name: Have your name show up when you call out (other party must have caller-ID with name feature)
- Caller-ID blocking: Use *67/*82 to block or display your caller-ID/name for outgoing calls
- Anonymous call blocking: Automatically block anonymous calls from ringing your phone
- Call return: Return the last incoming call by dialing *69
- Landline backup: Automatic fallback during power/Internet outages or 911 calls (requires basic landline to be plugged-in)
- Prepaid international calling: Make low-cost international calls starting at only a penny per minute
- Directory assistance: Make 411 calls at $0.99 per call
- Warranty: One-year limited warranty
With Ooma you save about $228 a year!
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