Ooma – An alternative to monthly phone bills

((This post is  about my second upgrade to our home phone service.  You may rightfully ask, Why did you decide to change phone service again? It all started last June when I received a letter from my Cable TV/ Internet/ Phone Company.  The letter offered a free, faster phone modem, so I decided to request the new replacement.  The older modem could then be returned or re-cycled.

Unfortunately two wireless routers don’t work well together.   The new phone modem arrived with a built-in wireless router that couldn’t be disabled.  I decided to stick with the Wi-Fi network I already had in place so I returned the new phone modem to my local cable store.  All was well until September’s cable bill arrived including an $8 rental fee for the old, re-cycled phone modem.  A phone call helped remove the charge until November when it reappeared.  It was time for another trip to the local cable store.

Who really wants to be charged for something they were told could be recycled?  That comment caught the attention of the supervisor who was soon telling me they couldn’t resolve billing problems in person.  Billing could not be resolved?  I was hearing “Go home and make a phone call”.  Which might be part of a How Not to Do Business with customers list.

I mention this because as I was standing there, I had a eureka moment!  Yes, I took out a pen and started figuring out how much money I’d spent renting the cable company’s phone modem.  Wow! I discovered I’d already paid over $300 for that old recycled modem!  And besides that, my cable company was continuing to charging me $8/month for rental.  Then something amazing happened.  The supervisor said the rental charge was going up to $10/month next month.  I doubt she had this in mind but soon she was selling me on the idea of getting rid of their modem!

Now before I talk about Ooma, which is a viable alternative to a cable company’s phone modem, I need to explain package pricing.  Your cable company is probably just like mine in having a triple-play package price.  Before considering dumping their phone service and modem, please note their triple-play packages have bigger discounts than just having two services (double-play) ie. TV and Internet only.  In fact, when I removed phone service, my adjusted bill sent by e-mail was actually $100 Higher than my original triple-play (TV, Internet, Phone).  After talking to Customer Service removing phone service would only save me between $5-$10 per month.  Add in a $10 rental fee and one might save about $20/month.  If you are willing to threaten to quit cable altogether, you might be able to negotiate a better deal depending upon who you talk to.

If you are still willing to go through with this for the future savings… here is what you can do.  Ooma is a telephone modem which works over your Internet connection.  You must keep your ISP which might still be your cable company.  It can be purchased at a store like Best Buy or online.  After you pay the initial cost (around $130) and the optional extra cost (around $80) if you want to keep your existing phone number you will start saving money.  Ooma’s real advantage is it eliminates your regular monthly phone bill.  All you end up paying is the monthly tax for phone service–that’s it.  For business owners, Ooma offers an upgraded plan which costs extra but includes many handy, mobile features.

The sound quality of phone service through Ooma is excellent.  Once a specific date for switching is established, it was easy to set up the new service.  You can talk to someone if there are any problems.  The basic plan includes the same features all of us rely on: caller I.D., call waiting, even voice-mail.  It’s been working well for us and it is saving us money.







  • Susan Rivera

    Reply Reply March 26, 2015

    I love having more options for phone service. Back in the olden days it was just take it or leave it with Pac Bell. Have never heard of Ooma but might be worth checking out. Right now I have MagicJack which is great on cost but sometimes not so magical. I also had eureka moment regarding modem rental. Wow, sure adds up. Thanks for adding new alternative.

    • Admin14

      Reply Reply March 26, 2015

      Thank you for your comment Susan. I agree that having options is helpful for consumers. Maybe someday we’ll have a variety of choices for Internet providers. We can only hope.

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