Consumer News

Consumer Reports Puts Ooma To The Test

(Credit: KDKA)

(Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Are you tired of paying big bucks for home phone service? There are a number of options that can eliminate a monthly bill from the phone company.

Consumer Reports took a look at one little-known phone service that promises big savings.

Since Carl Ellyn switched his family’s phone service, he saves more than $700 a year on his phone bill.

“The cost savings, you can’t beat. The call quality is better than what we were getting on any of the other services,” Ellyn said.

Ellyn and his family make domestic calls free, through the Internet, using a device called Ooma.

The device was at the top of Consumer Reports latest survey of phone services.

It got high ratings for value, despite having to pay at least $200 for the hardware.

“It’s a little bit pricey, but you don’t need a computer like you do with some other, alternative phone services,” Paul Reynolds with Consumer Reports said.

Along with the free unlimited domestic calls and cheap international rates, you get call waiting and caller ID.

However, you still have to pay some taxes and government fees, which total only $3.50 a month.

Consumer Reports tester Bernie Deitrick checked out Ooma.

He had it up and running in less than 15 minutes, including the time it took to register online and connect it to the Internet.

“In Consumer Reports’ survey, Ooma’s reliability and voice quality compared well with most cable-company phone services. Its rivals, Skype and MagicJack, both scored below par on those two measures,” Deitrick said.

Ooma works with your existing phone, or you can buy an Ooma handset for $50.

The Ellyn family finds Ooma to be quite a bargain, despite the fairly steep investment in hardware to get it dialed in.

If your phone service is currently bundled with your Internet and television service, before dropping it, check with your provider to see what the bill will be.

Consumer Reports said your provider may increase what you’re paying for the remaining two services, which will limit the savings you can expect.

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