Another VoIP Company Makes A 'Free Calls For Life' Offer

from the don't-forget-the-asterisk dept

The buzz of the day is about new VoIP company Ooma, which promises free phone calls forever if users shell out $399 for its piece of hardware. The technology sounds interesting, as it handles some of the switching of calls in the boxes themselves, rather than in the network, but outside the hype, there’s plenty to be skeptical about. On the tech side, Ooma needs users with local phone service, since that’s what it uses to terminate calls. Essentially what happens when an Ooma user makes a long-distance call to a non-Ooma user is that the call is routed to an Ooma box in the corresponding area code that’s connected to a standard landline, which is then used for the call to the standard phone network. While this lets the company avoid setting up some network infrastructure, it seems counterintuitive to rely on people buying Ooma for long-distance calls, but keeping their local phone service — particularly when many VoIP services offer unlimited local and long distance for little premium, if any, over the cost of traditional local service. Ooma’s timing isn’t great either. It’s asking people to make a considerable upfront investment for lifetime service, just a few days after the collapse of SunRocket, which had lots of users on $200 per year prepaid plans, and whose money (and phone numbers) are in limbo. Other companies have made similar lifetime calling offers as Ooma’s, but given the upheaval in the VoIP space caused by falling call costs, consumers will be hesitant to shell out large upfront fees for service, lest the provider disappear.

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Companies: ooma, sunrocket

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Comments on “Another VoIP Company Makes A 'Free Calls For Life' Offer”

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just another random surfer says:


This company won’t take off, period. Ashton Kutcher is on their board as “artistic” consultant, supposedly he came up with the flower design and the “secret” white rabbit invites (Matrix anyone?).

Their concept is about 3-4 years too late and really is ass backwards as this article has already outlined: Pay $400 for free calls for life (or however long ooma lasts), in a day and age when cell phones come with plenty of long distance minutes, VoIP providers offer the same/better service for a lot less and on a monthly fee basis and standard landline phones can be usied in conjunction with online prepaid services (ie onesuite) at less than $0.03/minute.

Sorry, but anybody who invested in this company, no matter how successfull outside of ooma (Tivo cofounder, etc), has just sunk a bundle of cash in a sinking ship.

spencermatthewp says:

Collapse of sunrocket

I am a current Sunrocket subscriber.
Yesterday I recieved an e-mail from Sunrocket Customer Service about their closure. They have made aggreements for continued service for the short term and have also made some good deals with Packet 8 and Teleband. So atleast for the near tearm our numbers are secure. Unfortunately it said nothing about the money (I have about 3 months left on my year and then I was supposed to get my 3 free.) I wonder how that’s all going to go down now.

Dosquatch says:

not so different

The basic premise has been used for ages, after a fashion. Businesses with multiple sites often have their PBX systems interconnected by T1 lines, or similar, such that extension dialling is possible regardless of distance between offices. The bonus is that all calls into an area local to any office are local to ALL offices by the LCR routines in place at all offices.

Craig Ferrante (user link) says:

Collapse of one and introduction of another...

With the company i work for using vonage i tend to monitor any posts reguarding fate of such viop companies I dont see it worth putting a large amount of money into free calls for life with the rate of voip companies coming and going. Vonage isnt a safe bet with the ongoings of verizon but if the outcome goes verizons way im sure someone else will step in and offer vonage service under a new name and new products.

MEoip says:


It’s a matter of time before this is part of a standard computer setup. Not Ooma but some piece of VOIP phone switching equipment. Cellphones don’t have a lock on the market. They have limited minutes and can’t (cheaply) be used out of the country. But if I had key chain version of this I could plug into a phone line / internet jack and make a long lasting call to anywhere.
That being said the device can’t be proprietary or expensive.

Mike says:

OOMA is doomed

OOMA is doomed because it is based on serious technical errors. It claims to do things on a regular phone line that are impossible, for example:

1. Getting the right Calling Line ID delivered to the destination
2. Preventing the OOMA subscriber whose line it is using from listening in.
3. Allowing the user to receive other calls on that line while it is in use (or use it themsleves).
4. The Hub to Scout communications certainly can’t work on the same line that is being used for DSL.

Not to mention the legal or administrative issue that kills it all by itself:

5. The phone company won’t let you use your “cheap” phone line for this purpose and OOMA can’t survive without it.

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