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Dump your phone bill. I did with Ooma.
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Dump your phone bill. I did with Ooma.

ooma_logoAbout a year and a half ago I reviewed the Ooma Telo VOIP telephone system. I liked it and continued to use it as a backup system mainly to make long distance calls.

Finally it dawned on me that I was wasting money using the Ooma only for backup so I decided to use it as my main system..my decision was helped along by the fact I had stopped using the Internet service from my local Telco so I was no longer required to keep the phone connection. So a few weeks ago I decided  to port my home number over to Ooma. It was a simple process all done on line. The actual process took a couple of weeks to complete and Ooma kept me informed of the status by email. It went smooth as silk except the Bell Canada disconnected my phone line a day early. Fortunately Ooma was able to quickly complete the port and I was without phone service for only a few hours. The cost to port my number was a one-time fee of $39.99 or it is free if you sign up for the Ooma Premier service for $9.99 per month.

Port

Now the simplest way to hook up an Ooma system is to plug a wireless phone into the Telo. I wanted a more versatile system to cover my entire house which meant plugging the Ooma Telo into a wall jack thus connecting it to the internal phone wiring. Now before you do this it is necessary to disconnect your internal wiring from your Telco. It is not complicated if you are the least bit handy, take a look at this video.

P1050069Since this was to be my main phone system I added a few things to increase the flexibility starting with a Oome HD2  Cordless Handset. I can import Pictures and contact information  from Facebook, Google, Yahoo, LinkedIn, Outlook and Mac Contacts and will display a picture of the caller in my contact list on the two inch colour screen when the phone rings. The cordless handset offers great security and range made possible by the latest DECT technology and it won’t interfere with home Wi-Fi networks or other home electronics.

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P1050073I also added a Ooma Linx Remote Phone Jack to service a fax machine (my printer) which I still use occasionally. I was able to program a distinct ring on the second line which comes with my Ooma Premier service. The LInx wirelessly connects anything around the home or office that needs to be conected to a phone line to the Ooma Telo using the same DECT technology as the handset.

P1050077The coolest accessory I got is a Bluetooth adapter. It is a simple little gadget that plugs into the USB port on the back of the Ooma Telo. I have paired my smartphone with it and now I cal leave my mobile phone on the charger and whenever I get a call all the phones in the house ring so I can pick it up wherever I am. I can’t tell you how handy this is. You could also pair a Bluetooth headset with the adapter for hands free calling.

P1050075

The Ooma Telo and accessories are available directly from Ooma in the US and in Canada from Amazon, Best Buy, Future Shop, Canada Computes, Costco, London Drugs and Walmart. Prices vary but today at amazon it is $149.99 for the  Telo, $59.99 for the HD2 Handset, the Bluetooth adapter is $29.99 and the Linx sells for $49.83. As you can see the initial investment is minimal for a top quality phone system suitable for the home or small business.

With the Ooma Telo my monthly phone bill for a 2 line system with all the whistles and bells including unlimited long distance in North America is $13.97. I was paying Bell Canada $64.12(including $8.00 bundling discount) for the same service with fewer features. If I amortize the Ooma Telo and a UPS (strongly recommended or you will lose phone service during a power failure) over one year I will pretty much break even with savings of $1.80 in the first year. But, I will save a whopping $601.60 every year after that. It seems like a no-brainer to me.

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Bob Benedetti

Former RCAF Fighter Pilot Bob worked for CTV Montreal as a Reporter, Producer and Executive producer for 35 years retiring in 2004. Bob started reporting on personal technology in 1995 at CTV and continues today at Home Technology Montreal

6 Comments
  • Johnson

    Congrats on discovering very expensive voip. You know all you need is an app on your smartphone or computer right (called a softphone)? Even skype works fine. People, ask someone technical before following the advice of a random blogger.

    April 3, 2013 at 10:22 am Reply
    • Bob Benedetti

      Thanks for the comment even though I think you meant to be slightly insulting. We have to compare apples and oranges here. Softphones are nice..I use Skype mainly for video calls and I have a Fongo softphone on my iPhone that I use on WiFi for calling home while I am out of the country to avoid roaming fees.
      The Ooma is a full featured home/office phone system that is connected to every extension in my house and functions just as my old POTS did at a much lower cost. With the Ooma I can also connect the fax on my printer as well as linking my iPhone via Bluetooth so I can answer my mobile phone anywhere in the house. Now I suppose you could connect the softphone on your computer to the other extensions in your house (It not as simple as plugging a jack in the wall) but then you would have to leave your computer on and awake at all times to avoid missing calls. Then of course you would need a huge UPS to get a reasonable amount of time on your computer in case of a power failure.

      April 3, 2013 at 12:43 pm Reply
  • Tim

    Thanks for this review. I’m about to purchase the Ooma and was wondering about the whole home wiring aspect, as I live in a condo apartment. It looks like I can disconnect each jack one by one until I find the one that links the entire condo (I assume it’s the one that will knock out the dial tone for the rest of the jacks). Ooma looks like an excellent VoIP solution for small home offices and nice replacement for overpriced POTS. Is it still working out well for you?

    December 24, 2013 at 4:52 am Reply
    • Bob Benedetti

      You shouldn’t have to fiddle with jacks..they are all interconnected. You have to find the demarc…the box that connects your internal wiring to your telco. It could be in your unit but, in many condos it is in a special room somewhere else in the building. Once you find the demarc simply disconnect your condo wiring from the outgoing telco wire…it will be pretty obvious which is which. Once that is done you simly plug the ooma into one of the jacks and you will have service on all the others without outside interference.
      Ooma has been my prime telephone system for nearly a year now and I still love it.

      December 24, 2013 at 8:34 am Reply
      • Tim

        That’s very helpful. Thank you so much for the additional info. A very merry Christmas to you and love the blog!

        December 24, 2013 at 9:06 pm Reply

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