Ooma Telo

Ever heard of Ooma? I hadn’t until I read about it in the May 2011 issue of Consumer Reports. So here’s a money-saving tip for seniors. You simply buy a base (adapter) like shown on the left and on one side you connect it to your router or modem and on the other side you connect it to the base station of your landline phone. Your calls will be going over the Internet so you do need Internet service and you do need to register with Ooma online, but once you do that, you do not need to keep your computer on like you do with similar services such as Magic Jack or Skype. I’ve not tried Ooma, but I am a fan of Magic Jack and Skype.

The downside is that the base costs about $200 at amazon.com. That’s the lowest price I found in checking prices at cnet.com. You do have to pay for taxes and fees each month, but after testing several zip codes, it was only $3.47. The Ooma Web site provides a tax calculator for you to input your zip code. According to a review at PC World, the pros of Ooma are the free local and long-distance domestic calls and excellent sound quality, but the cons are that the advanced calling features cost extra and the long-distance calling does not include Canada. But according to their Web site, you can call 70 countries for less than a penny per minute.

Personally, Magic Jack has worked very well for me. You simply insert it into a USB port on your computer and plug your phone into the jack on the Magic Jack adapter. Unlike Ooma, your computer needs to be on in order to talk on the phone. However, what I really like is that even though your Magic Jack is not plugged into your computer, people can still call you and leave a message. You will then be notified by e-mail if there’s a message and you can listen to the message via your e-mail. Once again, Amazon had the lowest price of $36.70. The first year is free and thereafter, it’s $20 a year for calls in the United States and Canada (Canada is a long distance call with Ooma).

If you are considering either of these services or any other service, be sure to do your due diligence before making a decision. But the services that use the Internet like Ooma and Magic Jack are definitely worth considering.

 

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