Ooma: More Phone Features For Your Money

By  |  Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 11:41 pm

Last year, a startup called Ooma bet that folks hungry to save money on phone calls would spend $400 for its VoIP device, which let broadband users plug in their standard phones and then make all the U.S. calls they wanted for free, forever. (“Forever” meant what it always means when used by a technology company, of course–“for as long as we’re in business.”)

It got good reviews, but four hundred bucks turned out to be a lot to ask people to ante up. And so the company knocked the price of entry down to $250 for the main Ooma box and one “Scout” (a remote box you can place is another room to serve as an extension). At the samee time, it broke some service features out into a new level of service called Premier which goes for $13 a month or $100 a year. Today, the company announced that it’s beefing up the Premier service with a bunch of new features.

These new features include up to nine virtual phone numbers that can be associated with one Ooma setup; each custom number can have its own ring tone, and each one can ring all the Ooma boxes in your house or only certain ones. Ooma has also added several features that remind me of GrandCentral, including the ability to have your Ooma phone number ring both your home number and cell at the same time, so calls reach you no matter where you are. You can now opt to receive voicemail via e-mail or SMS messages, and can blacklist phone numbers so they can’t call you.

When Ooma launched, it required you to have at least basic landline service for 911 calls. It’ll still integrate with a landline if you have one, but no longer requires it.

Oooma is pretty slick; it’s an intriguing option if you’re willing to pay up-front for the hardware in return for long-term savings–even the Premier service costs a lot less than a more standard approach to VoIP service such as Vonage. Look for a hands-on review of the service here soon…


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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Todd Says:

    The service looks great and the quality is supposed to be better then other VOIP offerings. My only concern is the longevity of the company.

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