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Customer Review

1,087 of 1,129 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent design, service and value, October 15, 2009
This review is from: Ooma Telo Free Home Phone Service (Personal Computers)
We purchased an Ooma Hub & Scout in April 2009 to replace a Vonage VoIP connection. We are very satisfied with the hub, and therefore purchased an Ooma Telo for a second location. This review describes our Ooma Telo experience so far, and compares it to the Hub/Scout.

The Telo is well designed and sleek. The controls are touch controls and very sensitive. There is a USB port in the back - presumably for future expansion. Like the hub, there are two RJ45 ethernet jacks - one to connect to the "internet", and the second to connect to one's home network. There are also two RJ11 phone jacks. One to connect to your existing landline, should you have one, and decide to integrate the landline and Telo. The other is to connect to your phone.

The setup instructions are simple. While it is recommended that the Telo be connected directly to your cable/dsl/wimax modem (i.e. before your router), it works equally well after the router. We chose to connect the Telo to the router rather than the modem.

We were treated to a red & blue patriotic light show for about 20 minutes when the Telo was first plugged in, while it apparently downloaded firmware/software updates. I was a little puzzled by this, but presumably there have been updates from the release date (October 1) to our purchase date (October 3), or the first set of units were shipped without the latest firmware/software on them. In either event, there has been a second firmware/software update since then, so clearly Ooma are keen to improve Telo as feedback/complaints from early adopters rolls in.

Unlike the Hub, the Telo doesn't support the Scout. But this doesn't mean the Telo cannot provide a dial tone at other phone jacks in your house. For this, simply connect a splitter to the phone jack in the Telo, plug one line into the telephone adjacent to the Telo, and the second into the nearest wall jack. If the phone wiring in your house is intact, you should be able to connect a standard wired phone to any other phone jack. The Ooma Hub also supports this feature, which isn't readily documented in Ooma's product literature.

The Telo and Hub are indistinguishable in every aspect of call quality. Off course the Telo supports up to four DECT 6.0 handsets, and Telo to Telo calls will offer HD voice. The Telo will also support Bluetooth, and cell-phone integration. Although these features will be available in future firmware/software updates.

There are differences in the level and cost of service that I have described below.

For current Ooma Hub owners:

Ooma Core includes 5000 minutes a month, voicemail and caller-id and is free of regulatory fees for the life of the hub.
Ooma Premiere includes a range of additional features, including a second line, 3-way calling, multi-ring, call fowarding and many others. This costs $9.99 a month or $99 a year.

For future Ooma Hub owners:

Ooma Core will include 5000 minutes a month and voicemail. From the second year, it will cost $12/yr to recover regulatory fees.
Ooma Premiere will include enhanced voicemail, and the other premiere features. Ooma Premiere will cost $9.99 a month or $120 a year.

For Ooma Telo:

Ooma core includes 5000 mins/month & voicemail, and $12/yr from the second year on to recover regulatory fees.
Ooma Premiere will include enhanced voicemail, and the other premiere features at $9.99 a month or $120 a year.

For both the Hub and Telo, the cost of Premiere includes either a free handset a year (a $49 value), or a free number port (a $39 value).

This change in pricing strategy has made some claim that Ooma is no longer "free".

Well, it never was, although current Hub owners will not have to spend another dime for the life of their unit.

New Hub & Telo users receive 5000 mins/month and voicemail for the cost of the unit, and have to pay $12/year from the second year onwards to cover regulatory fees.
In my opinion Ooma continues to remain a good value when compared to other VoIP providers, although clearly early Hub adopters received a better deal than Telo users.

I want to note two other things that are common to the Hub and Telo. Our number ports were quick and efficient. And, while customer service can be difficult to reach, there is excellent support available from the Ooma community on Ooma's website forums. The Ooma employees who moderate the forums also provide support in a very timely manner.

Bottom-line, if you have Vonage or Packet8, or have phone bundled in with your cable, strongly consider getting a Telo. You will save money for service that is as good or better. With the Hub, we saw savings with the first six months. With the Telo it will be about 14 months before we start seeing savings.

Quick summary - highly recommended!
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Comments

Tracked by 16 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 55 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 27, 2009 9:19:44 AM PST
Kid Rico says:
Can I use a regular phone with the Ooma Telo, or do I need to buy the phone specifically made for it?

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 29, 2009 2:19:15 PM PST
Ashok Aiyar says:
You can use a regular phone - I actually recommend this. As impressed as I am with the Telo hardware, I am not impressed with the Telo handset. We use DECT 6.0 cordless phones from VTech. Also, it is possible to connect the Telo to your home's telephone wiring (just disconnect from the telco first). If you do this, you will have a Telo dial tone at every phone jack in your house (assuming your wiring is intact). We do this.

Posted on Dec 1, 2009 1:07:49 PM PST
Excellent, informative article. You should do this for a living.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 1, 2009 1:33:44 PM PST
Kid Rico says:
Another question about the use of OOMA:

The internet cable modem at my house is currently directly connected to a firewalled hub (for use with a VPN). When the IT group set-up this VPN they found that the connection
would not work with the wireless router between the cable modem and the hub, as I originally tried to connect it, so now the wireless router is plugged into this VPN hub...

Because of this, I wonder whether there might be compatibility issues between the OOMA hardware and the VPN that we currently use?
Has anyone come across this type of problem and if so how was it resolved? How easy or difficult might this be?

Posted on Dec 4, 2009 11:44:58 AM PST
Brian Xee says:
I have a question about the Telo and hardwiring. I have the old one and it has a scout that is connected to the old school phone wiring, so you can select line 1 or 2 to dial out (let's say from another location in the house). WIth the Telo, and say if there are jacks in the other rooms, how can I tell it to dial out on the unused line if someone is on the 1st line? Does it do this automatically search for a line? Thanks!!!

Posted on Dec 12, 2009 3:35:14 PM PST
Eddie Ma says:
Why was the saving only realized after 6 month for Hub or 14 months for Telo? Are you comparing with other VoIP vendors or compare with cable/landline providers? I am currently paying $33 per month for cable phone, it seems a clear saving from day-1 for me. Can you help to clarify?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2009 7:45:57 AM PST
Kid Rico says:
Hi Eddie Ma,

If you pay $33/month, it will take you approximately 7-8 months to 'earn' back the $200+ dollars you spend on the Ooma hardware.
ie $33 x 7 months = $231 that you will save with Ooma after 7 months vs whatever you spend to buy the hardware. If Ooma for some reason goes out of business in 3 months after you purchase the equipment, you would have saved $99 in total off your monthly bills while spending over $200 on the hardware. The basic calculation for your breakeven time is how much you pay upfront for whatever hardware you purchase divided by the amount you are saving off yor normal monthly bill... Does this make sense?

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 13, 2009 9:17:41 AM PST
Eddie Ma says:
Yes, That makes sense. The one I was confused is the comment about 14month for Telo.

Posted on Dec 14, 2009 1:05:12 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2009 3:26:41 PM PST
ggang says:
For future owners, does Ooma core include caller-id? - I think I've found the answer and it's "Yes" for the numbers only.

Ashok, you mentioned that "For future Ooma Hub owners: Ooma Core will include 5000 minutes a month and voicemail. From the second year, it will cost $12/yr to recover regulatory fees..." I am still unable to find official Ooma statement in this regard. From different forums, it seems like $12/yr will apply only for Telo owners.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 19, 2009 8:27:47 PM PST
E.T. says:
I would love to get the Ooma dial tone on each phone in my house. I am not sure how to do this. Are you saying that I can do this by simply plugging the Ooma Telo's phone cable into any house jack, rather than into a single phone? This would look like: Router to Ooma Telo to wall telephone jack. Then any phone in my house would have the Ooma service? Is it really this simple?
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