Friday, November 5, 2010

Original Core/Scout Still Working

I have an original ooma Core (plus non-working Scout) - and, other than a few dropped calls here and there and a few system outages, it has worked very well over several years now.

I have certainly gotten my money's worth, making about 500-1000 minutes of calls per month. Hopefully it will just keep on working because I don't intend to buy a telo or another ooma product, since they now charge monthly fees. To me, that violates the vision the company originally made to us early adopters: phone service that you buy once and own for life, like a product - "be your own phone company," they said. Probably if I was never part of the first wave, I would be able to look at the current ooma product line in a different light, but as it is, the new ooma looks just like every other telephone service now. All innovation is gone. I don't think ooma should be allowed to say "Free Home Phone Service" on their website and in their marketing anymore.

I'm waiting to see what Google Voice does with Gizmo5 - or I'll just use my cell phone, which I have to pay for anyway.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ooma is now charging monthly fees?

This post on Amazon says:

Ooma have removed all references to "no monthly charges" from their website and replaced with "You pay only applicable taxes and fees". Which are the following:

1) Regulatory Compliance Fee
2) 911 Service Fee
3) Federal Universal Service Charge
4) State and local taxes, fees and surcharges

Can anyone confirm? I haven't received any notice from ooma saying that they are going to start charging me.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Ooma DECT 6.0 Handset plus International Calling Plan

Ooma finally announced that its Telo Handset is now available and that it has added an International Calling bundle.

The Handset is a DECT 6.0 cordless handset for use with the Ooma Telo base station. It includes a speakerphone and LCD display providing access to caller ID, phone book and call log features. It retails for $49.99.

The Telo is very sweet looking, and is tempting, but my original Ooma hub is still working fine, so I don't see Telo in my future at this point.

Probably in response to the new "Vonage World" and "Skype Unlimited World" plans, Omma also introduced a new International Calling Bundle to Ooma Premier customers ($9.99/month or $119.99/year). The plan includes up to 500 minutes of calls to over 70 countries for an extra $4.99 per month. I don't make enough international calls to make this plan a good choice for me, but since it includes India, I would expect it to be popular.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

One year and still kicking

A while back, when reports of several executives leaving the company were floating around, many people were writing Ooma off.

So far, it hasn't happened. The company appears to have many happy users. Looking around the net, it looks like there are a lot of people that hate the company and/or business model, but none of them actually seem to have the product. Among people that actually have Ooma, they seem overwhelmingly happy with it.

In my case, there have been a few outages, and I've never been able to get the Scout to work on my phone wiring, but otherwise the Ooma system has worked as advertised. The call quality has been good to excellent and it works more often than not. There have been a few quirks with local calling and I swear the ooma box sent a few long-distance calls that were placed by some other Ooma user somewhere through my landline, but I have not made a big fuss about it since it has only happened a few times (it does make me nervous though).

Even with the price reduced to $250, the biggest concern of potential buyers is still whether the company will exist long enough to recover the cost. There were rumors a few weeks ago that Ooma fired all their web developers and maybe a few support people but I have not seen news reports confirming it.

Personally, I hope they survive because that's how I'm making most my long-distance calls these days (those made from the house anyway). Unfortunately, I don't know how much I'm saving or how many minutes I'm actually using because these calls don't appear on my bill anymore and Ooma doesn't have on-line call logs or provide usage statements.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A softphone for your ooma service

How would you like free US calls from anywhere you have your PC and an Internet connection? Want to access your home ooma service from a hotal, at work, or from Starbucks?

Here's how.

1. Purchase PhoneGnome box. $99.95

2. Connect the PhoneGnome to your ooma hub. PhoneGnome LINE port connects to ooma hub PHONE port.

3. Get SIP credentials and SIP Softphone software from site. Sign in and navigate to Features / SoftGnome Remote Access / Edit / View SIP Credentials

You can use the free ExpressTalk software (shown above) provided by PhoneGnome or the SIP softphone of your choice (X-lite works well on the Mac). If you have a Wi-fi SIP phone (or a dual-mode phone, such as Nokia E series, N80, or N95), you can even use that. Dial any US number and the call will be placed over the Internet to your ooma hub through the PhoneGnome box.

You can also use the new Mobile Web feature to make ooma calls from your ordinary cell phone.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

ooma - so what's not to like?

Given all the good things I've said about ooma, there must be some things not to like. Here are a few:

1. After putting in your initial settings, there is not much reason to visit the ooma Lounge, aside from listening to your voicemails, which you can do on the phone.

2. Ooma basically takes over your phone service and cancels what you already have in place with your carrier (you still pay the bill though). You might lose archived messages if you use the phone company's voicemail service. Not everyone will be comfortable with this.

3. There is no way to bypass the ooma hub and force a call to use your landline. This is a minor nit, but there are times when I'd like to do this and I can't with ooma.

4. Caller ID. This is probably the biggest hassle. When you call someone, they may not see that it is you calling on their caller ID. They won't know it's you and so they might not pick up. This can be really annoying, as it's somewhat random. You can avoid this by dialing *82 before each call, but who wants to do that every time you pick up the phone to make a call. I think this single limitation pretty much excludes ooma as a business or professional option (in many states it's illegal for businesses to block caller ID on calls they make).

Of course there's also the price, but I'll assume you've already done the math on that and decided the rather high one-time cost is worth it for unlimited US long-distance calls and free voicemail. In reality, many people will probably never break even, but it's nice never having to think about how much you're spending on long-distance calls (you still have to pay extra for international calls).

Saturday, November 10, 2007

ooma stopped working today

Bad news today.

The blue light is on (which is supposed to mean it's working) and I get the ooma dial tone, but when I dial a number, I get an immediate busy signal, no matter what number I dial.

Since this is the first time I that I've needed technical support, I'm also just now discovering that it isn't great. I realize it is a Saturday, but nobody answers at Chat or phone. I'll see how long it takes to get an answer back to my email.

The Chat system appears somewhat broken too. It says "Next in queue, Estimated wait time 0 minutes, 37 seconds" but nobody ever actually picks up.

I also found nothing helpful in the knowledgebase/FAQs and there is no forum that I can find.

UPDATE 11/12/2007: Calls are working again. Apparently this was my first experience with an ooma system outage. I'm not sure exactly how long it lasted, but I know there was a window of about four hours where I couldn't make calls but I didn't try again until the next day and by then it was working again, so I'm not sure when they fixed it. It could be worse. Hopefully this will be a rare occurrence. They might save themselves some trouble by putting some kind "system status" page on their support website.