I recently wrote a review of the Ooma Telo I bought. I love it. It is incredibly easy to set up and use, and based on my initial calculations, it should save me around $785 for the first two years I have it. That is some serious savings!
As you can imagine, I received a few questions from people who were intrigued with this little box, including the sound quality, restrictions, and how easy it is to set up. I’m not the most technically inclined person in the world, and I found the setup and installation a breeze. In fact, their product is so good and the setup was so fast and easy, I think they should change their slogan to “15 minutes can save you hundreds!” OK, I think that one is taken… but it still applies! Here is a little more information on how to set up the device, and how you can keep your current telephone number.
Step 1 and 2: Activate Your Ooma & Choose a Phone Number:
You will need to activate your Ooma before you can use it. This is done with an activation code found on the bottom of the device. After you enter your activation code, you are required to choose a phone number. Here is the cool thing: you can choose a new phone number in any US area code, regardless of where you live. There is no additional charge for choosing any available number in those area codes, and what is even better is that you can keep this number as long as you own your Ooma. I like this feature, because it means that I can keep a number indefinitely, regardless of where I live. I am not planning on moving any time soon, but it is nice to know that I won’t have to deal with getting a new phone number wherever I end up, and I won’t have to deal with contacting everyone and giving them my new information.
What if you want to keep your old number? You can do that to. Ooma makes it easy to port your old number, which is what I will be doing. There is an associated cost, which is approximately $40 at the time of writing. however, it is free when you buy the premium service for the first year, which is approximately $120/yr.
The only downside is that it can take up to three or four weeks for the transfer to occur. From what I understand, much of the time delay is associated with how quickly your former phone provider takes to make the transfer. You would think it could be done overnight, but I guess some things take longer. It is important that you do not cancel your current phone service until you receive a notice from Ooma that your number has been ported and the process is complete. Canceling your phone service early could release your old number back into your former provider’s pool of numbers and you may not be able to get it back.
Note: you must choose a number during step 2, even if you plan on porting your number later. This is necessary to set up your account.
When you choose your number, you are required to select an area code, then a city in that area code. My town wasn’t available, so I chose a nearby town, and was given about 25 numbers to choose from. Since I am planning on porting my number, I chose one at random.
Step 3. Enter your Contact Information
Filling out your contact info is pretty standard stuff, but there were a couple interesting notes: it is required that you have another phone number on file. I have a cell phone, so that is no big deal. The other note is that you need to maintain your current physical address in your account because that is the address that is used for 911 purposes (911 calls from a traditional landline are traced, but since this is from an Internet connection, the process is different).
Step 4. Billing Information
You need to keep a credit card on file so they can charge your account. The only payment options they accept are Visa, MasterCard, and American Express. I was disappointed with this because I wanted to use my Discover Card. Thankfully I have more than one credit card, otherwise I would have been very disappointed since they don’t accept automatic bill pay from banks, PayPal, or other forms of payment.
Step 5. Account Registration
Your user name is the new phone number you just created, so be sure to write that down or memorize it. This is also where you create your password, enter your security questions, and agree to the terms and conditions.
Install device. From here you are ready to install your Ooma. You may need to reboot your device if you already plugged it in prior to registration. Some devices may also need to download and install the latest version of the software or firmware, which will take place automatically in the background, and you may not be able to use the device until this has completed. It can take up to 30 minutes, so plan accordingly. It’s not a huge deal for me since I am porting my number and my main phone service is still running.
Port number if you wish. I am porting my number, so I started this process. The first part only take s a few minutes, then you are stuck in a waiting game until the process has completed. I don’t know why it takes a couple weeks when cell phone companies can do it in minutes over the phone when you are moving to a new provider. My guess is that it has more to do with the traditional phone service providers dragging their feet because they are losing business. Cell phone providers have more incentive to play nice since it is a two way street. Here is more info on porting your number.
Set up Ooma Premier features. New customers get 60 days of Ooma Premier for free. There are a few nice to have features, such as caller blacklists, voicemail forwarding, the ability to make and receive two calls at once, virtual numbers, multi-ring, voicemail to email, and more. It’s worth it for many people, so make your own call there.
Thoughts on the Ooma Telo
Set up and installation were top-notch. Set-up, including the writing and screenshots of this article, took 45 minutes. (I wrote this in a text file as I was setting up my Ooma). Had I not been going back and forth between screens and typing on the side, the setup would have taken around 20 minutes. That’s not bad at all.
I didn’t notice a difference in the call quality between my regular landline and the Ooma, and the quality was much better than the cell phone reception I get in my home. Overall, I give Ooma two thumbs up, and recommend it to anyone looking for a no-hassle, low cost, landline solution. For more information, check out our review, or their website.