Ooma is a VoIP service that allows users to make telephone calls anywhere within the United States or Canada using an Internet connection. There are some similarities between Ooma and other VoIP service providers, but there are significant differences between them as well.
How Does Ooma Work?
Unlike a regular Home Phone service, users of Ooma can make calls anywhere within the United States, or anywhere within Canada, without a monthly charge for a service plan. To do this, subscribers purchase special equipment up front that allows the user to use the traditional handset from a telephone, but the call is placed over their Internet connection rather than a traditional phone line.
The user simply connects the device to their traditional telephone and their Internet connection, and then they are usually ready to place their phone calls.
Unlike traditional Home Phone service, users of the Ooma equipment and the basic service are not charged a monthly fee to make local or long distance calls either within the United States or within Canada. After the user purchases the necessary equipment, their only reoccurring monthly charge is for the mandatory fees such as the Federal universal service charge, their state and local taxes, or any other regulatory and compliance fees and surcharges. These fees are subject to change.
Differences between Ooma Basic and Ooma Premier
In addition to allowing users to make local and long distance calls without a service plan, contract or monthly charge, users of the basic service receive many of the same services associated with traditional home service, such as call waiting, caller ID and standard voice mail.
For just a $9.99 a month service charge, Ooma users can subscribe to Ooma Premier and make local and long distance calls anywhere in the United States plus Canada, and receive all the same services as the basic service. They also receive added benefits and services by subscribing to Ooma Premier, such as Do Not Disturb, Call Forwarding, Enhanced Caller ID and more. The $9.99 monthly charge is in addition to the other mandatory regulatory fees, taxes and surcharges.
Using Ooma to Make International Calls
Ooma offers two plans for users that make international calls. The first is called Everyday Rates, which allows users to make international calls at predetermined low rates without a commitment to an extra monthly fee or subscription. These rates are usually just a few pennies per minute.
For users that make frequent international calls, Ooma also offers users additional savings through Ooma World Plan Rates. With this plan users can receive unlimited calls with unlimited minutes in up to 61 countries for just $17.99 a month, or users can choose to receive up to 1,000 minutes each month for international calls within 61 countries for just $9.99 a month.
As with Ooma premier, monthly charges for these plans are in addition to the mandatory regulatory fees, taxes and surcharges that users are required to pay for telephone service.
Ooma also has a monthly plan for businesses that allows companies to make unlimited calls across multiple lines for a low monthly fee. Subscribers can host up to 10 lines with unlimited calling within the United States and Canada. This service also allows users to have up to five physical extensions and 10 virtual extensions. Rates for this service start at $19.99 a month, plus applicable taxes, surcharges and regulatory fees.
Other VoIP Service Providers
The main difference between Ooma and other VoIP service providers is that after making the initial purchase for the equipment, Ooma allows users to call anywhere within the United states without an additional charge outside of the required taxes and regulatory fees.
There are many VoIP service providers on the market. Skype, for example, is another popular VoIP provider.
With Skype, users can make free Telephone calls, instant messages and video calls over the Internet with a computer or other internet enabled device, such as an iPad, to other users of Skype, regardless of where they are in the world. To use Skype, individuals just need to download the free software to a compatible Internet enabled platform, such as their computer, laptop, iPad, smartphone, or similar device.
In order to call regular telephone numbers that do not have a Skype account, Skype users need to subscribe to a monthly service, as well as pay for a telephone number. Skype also requires, at a minimum, the use of the computer’s speakers and microphone to make the calls, as well as a keyboard to send instant messages.
Most individuals choose to purchase a headset with microphone in order to clearly hear the calls that they make with VoIP service providers like Skype. While there are wireless headsets on the market, some users prefer the comfort and familiarity of using a traditional telephone handset.
Skype’s basic, free service also does not feature call forwarding and other services associated with a traditional Home Phone, but it does have one clear advantage over Ooma. Skype users can “take” their service “with” them. Skype allows users to make calls from anywhere in the world as long as they have a platform, such as a laptop or iPad, that they have downloaded the Skype software too, as well as any internet connection, such as a WiFi connection. This really doesn’t work for Ooma, as carrying around the special unit and telephone handset would be a bet bulky, and users would still need a physical Internet connection to plug into the Ooma device.
There are other VoIP service providers in addition to Skype, but most operate in a similar manner, with added services and prices being the main difference between these VoIP providers and Ooma.
This service allows users to escape the expense and hassle of committing to a contract or service plan with a traditional Home Phone provider as well as to escape a reoccurring monthly charge for basic Home Phone service.