Ooma Telo is a fully featured residential home telephone service offered by Ooma, Inc. The company was started in 2004 as a peer-to-peer calling service and in 2008 expanded it’s offering to a full fledged VoIP service while eliminating the peer-to-peer portion of it’s service.
The company offers at two different levels, the first being the ‘Basic‘ level which only costs users the monthly local government taxes and fees.
The Basic version of the service allows users to make calls over the Internet for FREE domestically. Just buy the VoIP adapter upfront (roughly $100) and pay the applicable monthly government taxes and fees for your city/state/region and you can make domestic calls for free, FOREVER! With the service it is also possible to make international calls at very low prepaid rates or you can get ultra-cheap 500, 1000 or unlimited minute monthly international plans. There are a number of features that you get with the free service but others that come with the second level of service.
Ooma Premier see our detailed post about it.
For a further comparison of the two levels please continue reading or jump to our comparison chart.
What Is The Ooma Telo Device?
The Telo replaced the Ooma Core system and is this company’s latest hardware device for making calls. You will find that the Telo comes equipped with Bluetooth capabilities, USB, and a number of other features that were not available with the previous model. You have the option of buying an Ooma Telo handset, which can be used with this device, though any phone will work with it.
After you purchase the Telo unit for around $100, all domestic calls you make will be free of charge forever. Although the regular price is around $100 you can often find very good Ooma deals that can sometimes reduce the price to nearly 50% off. There are of course the aforementioned mentioned charges each month that covers government regulatory compliance, 911 service fees and the federal universal service charge (usually all for $5-$8). For exact charges in your area use the tax calculator on their website. Even with these fees their VoIP service is still significantly cheaper than any landline, cellular service and nearly all other VoIP providers.
Service Plans & Cost
As stated earlier they offer two domestic service plans, a ‘basic plan’ and a ‘premier plan’. The basic plan is free for all domestic calls, you only have to buy the Telo and pay the applicable government taxes and fees for your area each month. With the basic plan you get the basic features but things are limited beyond that.
You can choose to upgrade to Ooma Premier, which will provide you with more features (see chart below), for a monthly fee of just $9.99 + applicable taxes and fees for your area. While not everyone will be enticed by these extra features, they can be a great thing for those who want the ability to block certain numbers as well as forward calls, port their landline number, etc…
The company now has plan a third plan where you don’t have to get a device and can simply download the Ooma Mobile App and pay $4.99 per month for 1,000 minutes of outgoing calls. This is a great way to save money on overages and never worry about running out of minutes from your cellular carrier. The app doesn’t allow for incoming calls with this plan however.
For international calls they have several simple options, either you can make international calls on a cheap prepaid per minute basis or if you are a regular caller to international numbers you can save even more money by getting an international plan.
International bundles are as follows:
|Plan||Basic price||Premier price|
|500-Minute Plan||Unavailable||$4.99 / month|
|*World Unlimited||$17.99 / month U.S.|
$19.99 / month Canadian
|$14.99 / month U.S.|
$17.99 / month Canadian
|**World Plus Unlimited||$25.99 / month||$25.99 / month|
*The World Unlimited plan include calls to landlines in over 60 countries and cell phones in 10 countries.
**The World Unlimited Plus plan include calls to landlines in over 70 countries and cell phones in 40 countries.
All users who live in the U.S. must pay a federally mandated tax called the Federal Universal Service Fund (FUSF) on all international calling plan. This fee is charged on a monthly basis with your Ooma bill and runs at roughly 15% of the plan cost. All international calls that are made using a pay-as-you-go account come with a 3.9 cent connection fee per call.
For countries included with each plan please see details below or visit our rates pages:
North Marianas Islands2
U.S. Virgin Islands1
1Ooma World Plan where both landlines and mobile lines included.
2Ooma World Plus Plan where both landlines and mobile lines included.
|Applicable Taxes and Fees||Varies by locale|
|Phone Customer Support||Free|
|Porting/Number Change Fee||$39.99 per number|
|Phone Number or Caller Name Change||$19.99 per change|
|Hawaii Phone Number||$29.99/year (free with Premier)|
|Directory Assistance||$0.99 per call|
|Reactivation/new service fee||$9.99|
|Extended Warranty||$39.99 per year|
|Calling Plans To Choose From|
|Ooma Premier||$9.99 per month|
|Pay-as-you-go||Varies by each country called|
|500 min International Bundle||$4.99 per month|
|World International Bundle||$17.99 per month|
|World Plus International Bundle||$25.99 per month|
|1,000 min Ooma Mobile Bundle||$4.99 per month|
|Premium Add-On Service Options|
|Enhanced Calling||$4.99 per month|
|Enhanced Voicemail||$4.99 per month|
|Standard Voicemail Transcription||$4.99 per month|
|Premium Voicemail Transcription||$9.99 per month|
|Virtual Numbers||$4.99 per month per number|
|HD2 Handset||$59.99 each|
|Wireless Adapter||$49.99 each|
|Bluetooth Adapter||$29.99 each|
|iOS Mobile App||Free|
|Android Mobile App||Free|
|Shipping and Handling||$9.99 ( can be waived )|
How Much Can Ooma Save Me?
As with all services your savings is totally dependent on what you are currently paying. There are a lot of factors that go into this including whether you currently make expensive long distance or international calls. Long distance calls are free with this service and international calls can be purchased with cheap monthly international bundles. What we can tell you is that the device is around $100 and government taxes and fees usually amount to around $5-$8 per month or less, so you do the math. You can also get the Premier plan with extra features for $9.99 per month. We have seen reports of people save $40 at the lowest and as much as $250 per month. The larger saving was obviously from heavy international/long distance calling users that were paying expensive rates.
Ooma Telo Basic vs. Premier
*Summarizes the features included with the Basic and Premier service tiers.
|Standard Phone Features||Basic||Premier|
|Free in-network calling||X||X|
|Online call logs||X||X|
|Call return (*69)||X||X|
|Online account management with My Ooma||X||X|
|One-touch voicemail access||X||X|
|Remote voicemail retrieval||X||X|
|Do not Disturb||X|
|Send to Voicemail||X|
|Voicemail forwarding (e-mail audio attachments)||X|
|Anonymous Call Blocking||X|
|Ooma Mobile HD app||X||X|
|Ooma Mobile calling||X|
|Bluetooth Adapter ($29.99, Telo only)||X||X|
|Wireless Adapter ($49.99, Telo only)||X||X|
|Contact List (Telo only)||X||X|
|Ooma HD Voice calling||X||X|
|Custom Ring Patterns||X|
|Enhanced Call Waiting||X|
|Instant Second Line™||X|
|Three-way conference calling||X|
|Google Voice Extensions (Telo only)||X|
|Nest Alerts (Telo only)||X|
The Ooma Telo Mobile App
The Ooma Mobile App allows non-users to get the residential service and pay just $4.99 per month for 1,000 minutes of outgoing calls. This doesn’t include incoming calls unless you have the service at home. For home users, they can download the app and use it for free for both incoming and outgoing calls. They can have all calls forwarded to their mobile device via the multi-ring feature. With this feature they can send and receive calls from both their home and mobile phone. Having both ring simultaneously. The app works for both iOS and Android devices but not with blackberry or windows phones yet, though there is a hack to get the App on your blackberry.
The service has very good call quality made possible by its relentless pursuit of excellence in this area. Some of the technologies it employs include Advanced Voice Compression, Wire-speed QoS, Adaptive Redundancy and HD Voice. These are features help to dramatically improve voice quality and eliminate dropped calls, lagging, echos and static. With that being said, in the end the voice quality of any VoIP service is at the mercy of your Internet connections speed. If it’s slow, you will experience call quality problems, if it’s fast you will get crystal clear sound with Uma.
Ooma Customer Service
There is a customer service phone number that you can call if you ever experience any difficulties with your hardware or service, and the agents on the other end of the line tend to be extremely helpful in resolving any issues you may have. Ooma support has received numerous positive reviews, which is a definite indication that they are doing something right. Whether your unit doesn’t seem to be working or you are having a problem with your service, you can count on the company’s customer service representatives to help you with whatever you need.
You can call Ooma’s troubleshooting number anytime from 5am-5pm PST on weekday and 8am-5pm PST on the weekends. For the U.S. call 1-888-711-6662 and for Canada call 1-866-929-6662. You also have the option of initiating a live chat with a customer service representative online, which is available 24/7. Another option for help is the Ooma forum on their website that you can go to for certain problems. Often times you will be able to quickly find solutions to basic issues on this forum, as other people have had similar issues in the past and got answers there.
How To Setup Ooma Telo Home
As long as you have a modem and high-speed internet connection, you should be able to set up Ooma Telo without any problems. The setup process for this particular VoIP service is quick and easy, so it shouldn’t take you very long to complete.
The first step in the setup process is to plug the device into your high speed internet’s modem and then plug the phone you are going to use for placing calls into the Uma unit (port is located in the middle) . You can select the number you want and activate it online by going through a few simple steps.
The Telo unit that you purchase should come with a Quick Start Guide that will help you through the process of getting everything set up. The first time that your system connects to the service, you may be required to download a software update. This process usually takes less than 5 minutes. After your initial update is complete, your Ooma system will update occasionally to ensure that you have the latest software. All updates will be sent directly to your system when it is idle. This process is automatic so you will never be required to do anything.
After you have your system up and running, you will want to setup your voicemail. You will be able to access the initial setup for your voicemail by pressing the arrow button on your device. This process is very straightforward and simple, so you shouldn’t experience any problems with doing it.
What I Like
There are a number of positive things that can be said about Ooma VoIP service, including:
- Allows those who purchase its hardware to make free domestic calls.
- International calling rates are very low and you can even purchase monthly bundles
- The device itself has a built-in speaker and is built to last
- The quality of the calls that are made with this VoIP service are generally very good with little chance of experiencing dropped calls or static-filled connections.
- You can either pick the number you want or port your landline number for a one-time fee
- The mobile app for this service is great because it lets you take your home phone with you when you are out and about, which means you will never miss a call
What I Don’t Like
While there aren’t a lot of negative things about this telephone service there are a few:
- A lot of the features, such as call blocking and forwarding, are only available with a Premier account. (The reality is that it’s hard to complain when you are getting the service for free)
- The initial hardware costs are not huge, but you will need to spend around $100 to get the equipment you need to place phone calls through their service
- EXPENSIVE one-time fee to port your number (39.99)
- No PC softphone for making call via a computer
- Confusing government taxes and fees without a straight forward monthly price
Ooma Telo FAQs
Where Can I Buy The Ooma Telo?
Units are available through a number of different retailers as well as on the company’s official website, though you can most likely get the best deal on Amazon. The Telo handset (optional) that you can get goes for just under $60 on Amazon and around the same price with other retailers. The Ooma wireless adapter, which allows you to place calls for free whenever you are using Wi-Fi, can also be purchased on the company’s official website. The company sometimes provides customers with special referral coupons that they can use to save money on whatever they may happen to need.
What More Do I Need To Know About International Calling?
If you use the service to make international calls, you will save quite a bit of money when compared to cellular or land line services. You can to view their most recent international rates before placing any calls so you will know exactly how much you are paying. These rates change over time, so it is important that you take the time to look at what they are before placing any international calls through this VoIP service.
When you are ready to start making international calls with the service, you can add funds to your pay-as-you-go account to gain immediate access to their low international rates. You can also subscribe to a bundled international calling plan, which will allow you to call over 70 different countries for one flat monthly rate. If you are going to be doing a lot of international calling, it is highly recommended that you look into a bundled minute plan or an unlimited international calling plan, as doing so is the best way to save money with this provider.
What Is Their Return Policy?
They have a 30-day return policy for all purchases that are made through their website, so you will be able to get your money back for any equipment or accessories you purchased from them within thirty days. You will be able to initiate the return process by simply contacting a member of the company’s Customer Care team. If you bought any hardware through a third party retailer, such as Amazon, you will have to check to see what their return policy is.
How Do I Login To My ‘My Ooma’ Account?
In order to access your ‘My Ooma’ account visit the Ooma Login page and sign-in by following our How-To Guide For Ooma Login. Once signed in to your account you can do all sort of things like setup call forwarding, change your number, reset your voicemail and much more.
What Is The Ooma Hub?
The Ooma Hub is a now defunct device that came in the early years of the company. It worked in a similar fashion as the Telo but is much older and has less features and functionality.
What Is Ooma Office?
Ooma Office sometimes called Ooma Business is another version of the service specifically for businesses. For more details please see our review of Ooma Office.
Can I Fax With Ooma?
Yes, unlike magicJack these guys do provide faxing as an official feature. You will need a ‘phone splitter’ to use the line for both calling and fax at once due to the Telo having only 1 port. You can also get two phone lines and use one as a dedicated fax line. For more details please see our post on how to fax with Ooma.
Are Minutes Actually Unlimited?
The company advertises as unlimited minutes but in order to maintain ‘Ooma Telo’ as a HOME service the company has put a cap on the number of minutes used simply to ensure that it’s not being used and abused by businesses. This is done by limiting users to ‘non-commercial’ use, which they define as under 5,000 minutes of outgoing calls per month. There are exceptions made on a case-by-case basis so it is not always so black and white.
Are There Any Hidden Fees?
No, there are not any hidden fees, though it’s important to note that the basic service isn’t truly free. The company has to charge government taxes and fees that they charged per customer. All other services are provided for free. For most these taxes and government fees come in at $5-$8 per month.
Does Ooma Work With A Home Security System?
We get asked the question about Ooma working with a Home Security System more often than you would think and through research have found that it does work. If you are skeptical after getting Ooma installed we suggest you call your Home Security System company and ask them to put your alarm in test mode or whatever testing options they offer. This test should give you the piece of mind that it is indeed working properly.
Final Thoughts On Ooma Telo Phone Service
Overall, it is a great VoIP service that has a lot to offer for those who are tired of overpaying each month to place domestic and international calls to friends and family. While it may be true that you will need to shell out some money upfront to pay for the hardware, it will most likely be money well spent because of the many benefits that come with having this service. If you tend to make international calls on a regular or even semi-regular basis, the cheap rates that come with using Ooma’s Home service alone could be worth spending the money on their hardware. There are several plans to choose from, which can be especially beneficial for those who do a lot of international calling and want to save as much money as possible.
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