I’ve been using Vonage for home telephone service since October 2004. That’s 34.85 Internet Years (using a multiplier of 4.7 as justified in the first Google result for the search “internet years” ). That’s hella long.
Even though my wife and I both have cell phones (and Google Voice, and Skype, and a million other ways of communicating), we still like having a house phone. The primary reasons are:
- We can scatter cordless phones throughout the house, so one is always nearby if someone calls.
- The speaker phone quality is better on our cordless house phones than our cell phones.
- We can use them as intercoms, which has come in handy.
- VOIP quality beats cell phone quality, and the conversation-killing transmission delay is less perceptible with the VOIP phone.
Today, my $19.99/month minimalist Vonage plan, due to taxes and other random and inexplicable fees, is actually costing me $30.44/month, or $365.28/year. In my opinion, that’s too much money for a service we barely ever use. So I went shopping.
There were lots of options:
- Phone service from Comcast (too expensive)
- Running my own Asterisk PBX (too much effort)
- The “As seen on TV” Magic Jack (requires an “always on” PC and reviews are so-so)
- And many other also-rans.
I did some quick review hunting, polled some friends, and picked Ooma. Costco was running a special bundle which included the WiFi dongle for free with an Ooma Telo model. I bit.
With Ooma, you buy the device once, then just pay the telco taxes. Using Ooma’s online tax calculator, I determined my ongoing monthly bill would be $4.01.
Total cost: $212.49 delivered, plus a $39.99 charge to port my existing Vonage number to Ooma.
Montly cost: If I figure a 3-year amortization of the initial outlay, and also assume that Ooma stays in business the next three years, the monthly cost over three years is:
(($212.49 + $39.99)/36) + $4.01 = $7.01 + $4.01 = $11.02/month.
Over three years, assuming the taxes remain constant, Ooma will cost us $396.84. Vonage would cost us $1095.84. That’s a savings of $699.
I wish I’d done it sooner.