So long Vonage, hello Ooma

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)
  • NetTalk
  • Ooma
  • 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.