Winston Lawrence

Project Manager & Occasional developer

Goodbye AT&T landline phone - hello OOMA

Woodcut Image of an old style wall phone

Drop AT&T landline - save $70.00 per month

I just dropped the (mostly) useless AT&T landline - between cell phones and internet phones paying AT&T $70.00 per month for a phone line made no sense - there wasn't even a good way to reduce the charges since living on Long Island AT&T did not classify New York (Queens, Manhattan etc) as long distance nor local it becomes 'regional' and regional service in AT&T's eyes is much more expensive than either long distance or local service -or so AT&T would have you believe as they raise your otherwise discounted phone bill by $30.00 a month or more.

Drop Cablevision VOIP - not such a bargain after all

Having just dropped the Cablevision VOIP business line (along with their internet service) I was in the market for something better and after some research, the OOMA pitch to 'own' your dial tone and banish phone bills forever, was too good to pass up.

Magic Jack works - just not well enough to replace my landline

I am not a VOIP newbie having installed and configured AVAYA systems on a corporate network and on the home-front having used at various times Vonage, Cablevision and even 'Magic Jack' I was reasonably confident of what I was getting into. Most of the VOIP services are cheap compared to traditional carrier costs but cheap is not free and you are still looking at $25.00 to $40.00 per month.

I have used the 'Magic Jack' system for more than a year - it does work and at $20.00 per year is close to free.  The main drawbacks are:
  • You have to leave your PC on to make and receive calls.
  • When you are talking, it uses a lot of resources on the PC.
  • Voice quality is okay not quite as good as skype.
  • CPU intensive PC apps will kill the service.
I'm keeping Magic Jack because it's great for traveling instead of using expensive hotel service or roaming cell phone minutes as long as you have an internet connection.

The OOMA voip free Internet phone service replaces the landline

OOMA charges Approximately $250.00 for the hardware and the basic service is free. I chose the addon $99.00 per year premiere service which 'ported over' my old AT&T number for free and gave me a second phone number for business.
OOMA Pro's: Good Voice Quality, Sturdy, good looking equipment.
Basic service, which includes voicemail, email access, blocklists, web management is free.
Premier service which includes Basic plus a second phone number, conferencing services etc is $99.00 per year
OOMA Cons.
International and 411 calls are pre-paid (open an OOMA account)
It's VOIP - you need decent internet service - bandwidth requirements are low compared to most other VOIP systems.

The installation, setup and activation of the unit was impressively simple. The OOMA web-site ordering (for the premiere service) did not work and my order ultimately had to be taken through OOMA support. OOMA support is quite good the support folks seem to be based in the Phillipines.

So far I am enjoying both the OOMA and NO LONGER paying AT&T $70.00 every month.

Winston Lawrence

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