Saturday, September 8, 2012

Not the one in Kill Bill...

I'm always amazed that despite our society becoming more and more technology dependent, internet and phone service seem to cost more than ever.  Smartphone bills are almost all near or over $100 a month, cable is the same and internet keeps getting pricier! We're saving over $100 each month by getting rid of our cable service and downgrading our internet bandwidth, which is another thing that bugs me.  We were on a 12Mbps service and cut it down to the basic 6Mbps and yet, there has been no discernible change.  I can still stream netflix in HD to the TV, skype works the same as ever, and i'm still managing to kick butt on Call of Duty online (don't tell Mandy!).  I wonder if there are programs out there that actually test the limits of your broadband connection so you know you're getting your money worth.... hmmm...

Anyways, I digress.  After cutting the cable, I started looking into alternative services for Mandy's mom's telephone line.  For a basic land line, she's paying nearly $60 a month for nothing but an occasional call to Hong Kong.  So I have been looking into VOIP programs and Costco is promoting one called Ooma. I had thought about Skype, but Mandy's mom does not use computers so that was pretty much not an option.
 
The biggest difference I found between other VOIPS and Ooma is that Ooma is a one time equipment fee of $129.99 with no additional monthly charges (except for state-regulated taxes).  I was rather skeptical so checked them out online, and if there FAQ sheet is true, her phone service with Ooma will soon cost only $4.00 per month.
 
There is a number transfer fee of $40 dollars, a one time charge, but all domestic local and long-distance calls are free.  Mandy worried about rates to Hong Kong which is what her mother primarily uses this line for, but it's only $0.029 per minute!  Makes me think of those old Sprint(?) adds where the taxi driver counted out change in dimes, "one minute, two minute, three minute" except I guess it's "three minute, six minute, nine minute".
 
 
So I'm going to set it up tonight at her house in LA and we shall see.  And if the many reviews online are to be believed, it should be pretty effortless.

4 comments:

Xaparro said...

Let us know how this turns out. Our telecommunications bills are more than our food bills...

Juan Chaparro said...

Well so far, so good. A few hiccups, but nothing major. Took about twenty minutes to set up the Ooma on Saturday night, but realized that because it runs through the cable modem, one cannot simply plug in other phones to telephone wall jacks. You can do that if you physically disconnect your landline connection or have a second line, but that would require the phone company coming out. The easier solution was to get her mom a new set of DECT 6.0 phones which can all work off one phone jack! We picked those up Sunday morning at Costco and soon after we were calling everyone. We even tried Hong Kong (also found out the international calling is prepaid through your Ooma account). But the call was very clear without a delay or echo!

My biggest concerns thus far are:
1. If Mandy's mom somehow accidentally disrupts the modem or the Ooma, fixing it would probably require me going up there. She does have a cell phone but would still be a hassle.
2. 911 calls. They have this e911, and you do input your street address when you activate Ooma, but they still have a disclaimer that your call could be routed to the wrong precinct.

That being said, I'm very tempted to get the telephone handsets we got her because you can tether your cell phones (plural) to it and then I won't miss nearly so many calls because I left my phone on silent and took it out of my pocket.

Juan Chaparro said...

Oh, and if the power goes out, no telephone. But again, that's what a cell phone is for.

Penny said...

Not only is it expensive, but the various packages are very confusing and riddled with contracts, special offers that don't renew, and all sorts of additional charges. It's really alienating, and I have no idea what would happen if I broke my contract. Would I be sent to Siberia, my pension garnished?