Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

In our recent review of MagicJack, Vonage and Skype one commenter asked why we excluded ooma from our comparison. Like those three VoIP services, ooma (yes, the company uses a lower case “o”) allows users ditch their telephone landline and make calls over the internet.

Our reason for the excluding ooma in the previous review? We didn’t have enough first hand experience of the product. Now we do. Here’s our review . . .

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?
internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

How It Works

The ooma system includes two types of hardware: Hubs and Scouts (and in this way resembles the board game Stratego).

The ooma Hub is a box about the size of a typical hardback novel. It connects your existing phone to the internet. You plug the ooma Hub into your high speed modem and your phone into the Hub. Then you register your Hub on the ooma website and voilà you have home phone service. Since ooma is hardware driven (unlike MagicJack) your computer need not be turned on for your ooma-powered phone service to work.

The ooma Scout is about half the size of a Hub and extends your internet phone service to other phone jacks in your house. As with the Hub, you plug your phone into the Scout and the Scout into the telephone jack. You can add up to five Scouts; you’ll automatically get one Scout when you buy a Hub as part of the ooma Core bundle. (While ooma does not capitalize their own company name they’ve annoyingly decided to capitalize the names of all the products they sell).

Setting up ooma is easy—we had ours up and running in about five minutes—and ooma has a helpful website that explains it all. The ooma telephone customer service, however, seems to exist only in theory. We called their technical support twice and both times hung up without speaking to someone after waiting on hold for 45 minutes!

Note that ooma is intended as a United States service only. From the U.S. you can use ooma to call any phone in the world but from outside the U.S. you can only call other ooma customers.

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?
internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?
internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

Cost & Features

Through the ooma Core is currently only $200; that’s 20% less than retail. The Core gives you a Hub and a Scout—with that you can use the ooma service on two telephones. For each additional telephone you’ll need another Scout (currently $65). If you want to transfer your current landline phone number that’s another $40.

Once you have your ooma Hub and Scout(s), and paid to transfer your phone number (optional), you should have free landline telephone service, with free U.S. domestic calling, for life!!

We say “should” because there is a catch, of sorts. Your lifetime of free phone service is dependent upon ooma staying in business (or being bought by a company that continues the service). There have been a series of articles for two years now about how ooma is on a verge of going under. That may be a sign that the company is resilient. Or a sign that, eventually, the reports of ooma’s pending demise will prove correct. If ooma were to disappear their hardware would be useless.

The ooma service includes caller ID, call waiting, 911 emergency dialing and voicemail. And not just any voicemail. The ooma voicemail service is really fantastic. You can retrieve your voicemail on you Scout and Hub. Your voice messages are also stored in online files. You can go onto the ooma website and hear your messages, organize them into folders, and even send them as email attachments.

Ooma also has a Premier service for $13/month or $100/year; it is through selling this Premier service that ooma hopes to stay in business. Ooma Premier customers get a free second phone line, three-way calling functionality, voicemail forwarding and custom ringtones among a few other extras. Unless you want the second line you are unlikely to find the Premier service worthwhile.

While domestic calls within the U.S. are free on ooma they do charge for international. Generally speaking ooma’s international rates are a bit more than Skype, a bit less than Vonage and significantly less than MagicJack. The specifics of it depend on where you are calling. Some sample rates:

Cost Per Minute Calling From the U.S.A. To . . .

Country ooma MagicJack Vonage Skype
Canada $0.014 free free $0.024
England $0.019 $0.15 to landline, $0.04 to $0.36 to a cell phone (depending on the provider) free $ 0.024 to landline, $ 0.291 to cell phone
Germany $0.022 $0.22 (yes, 10x more than ooma) $0.04 $0.021
India $0.085 $0.15 $0.15 to $0.18 $0.092
South Africa $0.09 to cell phone, $0.245 to landline $0.21 to cell phone, $.06 to landline $0.10 $0.068
internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

Pros, Cons & Recommendations

The Advantages of Ooma:

  • Totally free domestic calls (once you’ve bought the hardware)
  • Works with your existing phones and independently of your computer
  • Easy setup
  • Superb voicemail functionality
  • High quality calls—on par with Vonage, a notch above Skype and better than MagicJack

The Disadvantages of Ooma:

  • High upfront cost (though with the promise of long term savings)
  • Only for users in the United States
  • Terrible telephone customer support
  • Service dependent on the company staying in business

Should You Buy Ooma?

If you are outside the United States then no. You’ll be best off with Vonage if you live in Canada or the UK, and with Skype if you live elsewhere. See our full review for details.

If you live inside the U.S., we strongly suggest ooma over MagicJack. Yes, ooma is $200 versus $40 for MagicJack. But MagicJack also charges $20 per year (and that’s the price now—it could go up). On top of that, ooma offers higher quality calls, works without your computer on, works with multiple phones and, perhaps most of all, doesn’t have the troubling privacy and software concerns MagicJack does.

As a landline replacement, we would also select ooma over Skype. Though, as we argued in our other review, Skype is the better choice if you primarily use your cell phone to make and receive your calls. Skype also travels well internationally.

The choice between ooma and Vonage is more difficult. The Vonage unlimited plan is $25 a month. However, with Vonage there’s no extra cost for transferring your current phone number ($40 extra with ooma). With Vonage you can use up to four telephones through your normal telephone jacks; with ooma you’d have to buy three Scouts (at $65 a piece) to do that. The Vonage plan includes free calls to Canada, Italy, Ireland, UK, France and Spain—all cost extra with ooma. Vonage also offers significantly better customer service.

Add all those factors together and your particular circumstances probably point towards one service or the other. If your primary concern is cost and you make mostly domestic calls then ooma would fit you better. If you frequently call any of the six countries included in the Vonage unlimited plan and/or place importance on choosing a more stable company with better technical support then go with Vonage. And if you still can’t decided flip a coin and be happy you have two good choices.


Related posts:
Top Skype Phones
MagicJack vs. Vonage vs. Skype
The Best Smartphone Never Built
The Skype iPhone App

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?
internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?
internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

What you get with the Core bundle: the ooma Scout (left) and Hub (right) . . .

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola? internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?


internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?

Pricing update: Through July 31st Amazon is giving away a free iPod Shuffle with every Ooma purchase!

internet phone  Is Ooma Worth Your Moola?


  1. Dave says:

    December 10th, 2012at 6:35 am(#)

    You plug the ooma Hub into your high speed modem and your phone into the Hub. Then you register your Hub on the ooma website and voilà you have home phone service.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Ruby Reply:

    My Hughes modem only has ares for plugins. All three are filled. i just upgraded to HughesGen4. Any suggestions as to how to connect using the ooma Hub

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Elizabeth says:

    July 31st, 2012at 10:48 am(#)

    I am interested in what the best speed required for performance on the Ooma. My high speed is says it is 3Mbs but test out at 2Mbs. is this enough?

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Happy with Magic Jack says:

    November 8th, 2011at 9:03 am(#)

    I have had Magic Jack for 3 ½ years now and have been very happy with it, very little trouble. I was happy to see your review of the Omma phone because I knew very little about it and how it differs with the other VoIP services. You stated that Omma may be a better deal than Magic Jack because once the hardware is purchased you have phone service free for life, as you said, that’s if it stays in business.

    After the initial price for the Hub and a Scout plus transferring your home phone number which is $200 + $65 + $40 = $305 not counting the extra Scouts for additional phone lines at $65 a pop. The $305 for the Omma is not bad considering that it cost 2 to 3 times that for a year of regular phone service. With Magic Jack it would take 13 years at its regular price and almost 19 years if you registered 5 years at a time to overtake the $300 dollar mark. You can also take Magic Jack out of country and call any phone in the US or Canada free.

    The fact that Omma connects to the modem is a slight advantage in that it is not affected by software or services running on the computer. The fact that Magic Jack connects to the computer is what allows it to be totally portable which allows it to operate anywhere there is a computer with high speed internet connection.

    Your report on Omma is very complete but I don’t see where it has has much of an advantage over Magic Jack.

    [Reply to this comment]

    OMMA AND MJ Reply:

    no not OMMA and Michael Jackson, its OMMA and Magic Jack.
    I have both in my house. I use MJ to call Canada only. Like a bat phone. I use OMMA to make regular calls in the US. in long distance calls MJ is not that great. plus MJ drops the call.
    OMMA never does.
    Will upgrade OMMA soon to premier.

    [Reply to this comment]

    tanya Reply:

    lately have found several constraints with magic jack, using magic jack on your mobile device is bizarre, in fact the software will only allow 1 piece of hardware to be registered, you cant undo the connection in the event you get or give your hardware to someone in the family

    also magic jack is now prohibiting certain free conference numbers – now forcing a route to their service to buy conference minutes, all in all as a disrupter they were relevant for a short while, mediocrity is setting in

    quality of technical customer service not very knowledgeable more like warm body readying scripts

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Robin says:

    October 29th, 2011at 5:25 pm(#)

    Aren’t there monthly taxes you have to pay for this service? This can be up to $25 for local telco service – wonder how taxes on this service are calculated. So not completely free after the hardware is purchased?

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Dan Randolph says:

    July 17th, 2011at 2:59 pm(#)

    Be aware that after I bought Ooma for about $200 and used it for six months with a second number that I can’t use the second number any more unless I buy the premium service.

    All I wanted was one number with Ooma and to connect my Ooma to the internet only, but customer support said this was not allowed any more even though I had it hooked up this way since January.

    My only alternative was to cancel the service since the extra $12 for a second line (premium service + access charges) was not worth it to me. Now I’m out the $200 for the hardware plus about $200 of my time in setup and getting the second number working in the first place, and two support calls after my current configuration stopped working. “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

    [Reply to this comment]

    OMMA AND MJ Reply:

    I would file a complaint with the state where you live. Or maybe the FCC

    [Reply to this comment]

  6. Fran says:

    June 1st, 2011at 11:05 pm(#)

    Thanks for the informative articles. I will soon become a “snowbird” wintering in Arizona and returning home to Idaho for about 6 months a year. After decades of having a standard land line phone service, I’m contemplating purchasing Ooma and porting my home number. I’d like to confirm a couple of things:
    1) It sounds like I could take my Ooma device with me and use it in Arizona, the drawback being that I would have an Idaho phone number and potentially make other callers from AZ incur long distance charges calling me. Would I have to have the premier service with Ooma to do this?..there is a video on the OOma website that seems to indicate that is the case.
    2) Is it correct that I could use Ooma with my current phones (I have 5 handsets throughout the house) without purchasing a Scout for each phone?
    3) I understand I would need internet service wherever I want to use the service. Can 3g broadband card type service be utilized or does it need to be a Cable/DSL connection?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Leo Kate Reply:

    Regarding question #1 I am in the same boat, but most of my contacts are less cost conscious. They have unlimited long distance. My cost conscious friends are all considering internet phones as I am, so L.D. costs are not a concern. I would like to know the answer to your question, but it wouldn’t stop me from getting an ooma.

    #2 I read on their web page (I don’t have one yet) that you simply plug your base station phone into the ooma and it will transmit to all your cordless phones that are linked to the base.

    [Reply to this comment]

  7. Mr_Curious says:

    May 25th, 2011at 8:22 pm(#)

    # Elmer Manankil says:
    I have a question… if I take the device outside the USA and plug it in can I call the USA phone number.

    # Spot Cool Tech Stuff says:
    … answer is no — from outside the U.S. you can only call someone inside the U.S. who has an ooma hub but NOT any other phone numbers.

    ME says:
    my experience says otherwise… my brother (who is in a country somewhere in Asia) calls me (thru my AT&T mobile phone and Verizon landline) using his ooma phone (bought here in USA)… and I can also call his ooma number… hope this info helps.

    Anyway, thanks to all the helpful people who responds to this forum… this is truly very informative… and after reading through all, I think I will be shifting to ooma, as well.

    [Reply to this comment]

  8. Barbara Savoia says:

    April 13th, 2011at 4:50 pm(#)

    Why do I pay taxes each month on service that cost $0.00 ??? Barbara Savoia

    [Reply to this comment]

    Leo Kate Reply:

    You don’t directly. Govt. has a “stranglehold” on ooma, they have to pay taxes so they charge you. The article didn’t mention that most area codes are assessed $3.50 or so each month, so the phone does end up $40 or so annually.

    [Reply to this comment]

  9. Daniel Anderson says:

    May 13th, 2010at 7:29 pm(#)

    can i transfer my cell phone number to the ooma system. If so would i first cancel cell phone and then apply for my past cell phone number

    [Reply to this comment]

  10. paul says:

    May 11th, 2010at 12:49 am(#)

    Hi all,

    Thank you all, I learned a great deal from all the posting.
    I have a minimum speed of AT&T DSL, will OOMA works?
    I have been using Skype for over a year and make a lot of call during international business trips. The one thing I hate about Skype is many times it deduct my balance even though the connection was fail. The only way to contact them was through email but they never response. Looking forward to drop them.

    [Reply to this comment]

  11. Charles Krsek says:

    March 17th, 2010at 3:43 pm(#)

    I have had my ooma a for almost a year. I have the hub and one scout. About a week ago my scouts speaker went out it still gave me a dial tone but could not listen to any messages I had to go to the hub or to my e-mail , which by the way is a great feature . I Called ooma support, they must’ve improved their service because I got through with no problem (2:00 PM ) Dallas time. I explained a problem to their support team and they ask me to run a few checks, which I did. They confirmed the speaker was out and that the unit was still under warranty and they sent me a new one . Not it this morning plug it in, works fine.I plug in a four hand set base into the scout that gives me a single line in four different rooms,in my office I plugged in a two hand set base, this gives me two phones on a second line. I got the premier service for six months free as a promotion and I kept it because it’s a great deal . If ooma went out of business tomorrow, on $384.00 ahead of the game over my phone bill for one year. Voice quality is excellent and except for that little problem with the scout have had absolutely no problems. It took little time to figure out how to send and receive faxes,learning how to use it with the answering machine but now that’s not a problem. I’ve recommended it to several friends, some of which were very electronically challenged , and even they connected it themselves. I considered and studied the other options and I’m glad that I chose ooma.

    [Reply to this comment]

  12. Serge says:

    March 16th, 2010at 2:54 pm(#)

    Concerning number port, may I suggest obtaining a Google voice number as an alternative? Currently I have a Google voice number, which I use as a public number. I then forward all calls to my GV number to both my ooma and cell phone, and I can pick up from either phone. The advantage is that I only give out one phone number and I am never concerned porting my home and cell numbers. Also, you have the option of adding call filter on Google Voice.

    There are only 2 issues to consider:
    1) wait time to get a Google voice number
    2) [Not Likely], but what would I do if Google goes out of business.

    [Reply to this comment]

  13. Crash Eddy says:

    March 12th, 2010at 6:53 pm(#)

    Sorry, omitted this from prior post. Oft mentioned is that Vonage and ooma phone service is lost during a power outage. Most of us have an Uninterruptible Power Supply serving our PCs. I have three PCs, two notebooks, USB hubs, two TV tuner addons, TV, ooma, etc., etc., that I need SIX UPSs to hold all the power plugs and power transformers. I’ve dedicated a 350 VA UPS to maintain phone service in the event, not rare here in the NC Piedmont, of a power outage. I have the transformers for cable modem, ooma, and router on that UPS. I just realized the router no longer needs to be powered. It did when I had the Vonage telemodem on my network inside the router, not outside like ooma is now. This capacity will power ooma service for quite a while, certainly until I switch to mobile phones.

    [Reply to this comment]

  14. Crash Eddy says:

    March 12th, 2010at 7:59 am(#)


    > Can I begin using the OOMA with my current number if I don’t yet want to port it?

    Yes if your current phone service has a rollover function. Vonage does and I have Vonage # rolled to ooma temp # until port is done.

    > Do I have to have the OOMA Hub connected to an active wall jack until I port over the number?

    Yes whether you port or not.

    > If so, this would mean that my internet connection, modem, router,OOMA hub and active phone jack will all need to be in proximity of each other?


    > What if I am not satisified with OOMA and want to port my number back?

    Say you use Vonage now. You’d call Vonage and ask to have number ported (back).

    [Reply to this comment]

  15. Popy says:

    March 3rd, 2010at 2:46 am(#)

    Hi All,
    If I can some comment here, I love this part. All incoming calls are free. International rate applies for international calls. There is call waiting and voice mail included with no additional fees. After activating your Ooma system you get 60 days free trial of Ooma PremierCan you imagine?? Wow!

    I have all ooma information from this website

    [Reply to this comment]

  16. Louise says:

    February 25th, 2010at 12:18 pm(#)

    I am considering purchasing Ooma using Windows 7- 64b and a HughesNet connection. Will I have serious connection problems? Has Ooma been upgraded for Windows 7 – 64b?

    [Reply to this comment]

  17. khomes says:

    February 10th, 2010at 3:24 pm(#)

    Is it possible to have call forwording from the ooma home system to my cell phone?

    Thank You, Brian

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Tech Stuff Reply:


    Yes you can, with Ooma’s premium package.

    ~ SCS

    [Reply to this comment]

  18. Marilyn says:

    January 6th, 2010at 3:40 pm(#)

    Do I understand that if I get the ooma hub it comes w/ a scout? Also, that they are NOW charging a fee for voicemail and a yearly regulatory fee for NEW customers? How much are the yearly fees for these services? I thought the system was without fees. How can they charge a regulatory fee if you are using a DSL connection?

    [Reply to this comment]

  19. Rick says:

    January 6th, 2010at 1:01 pm(#)

    Don’t know the telo/hub diff. I have the hub and it sends caller ID out to the phone(s).

    [Reply to this comment]

  20. Ron Koval says:

    December 29th, 2009at 12:34 pm(#)

    I have two questions. What is the difference between the ooma telo and the ooma hub? Like some others, I also have portable phones. There is a base phone plugged into the phone company line and then it transmits to 10 portable phones. It transmits the name and number called I.D. to all 10 phones. Will ooma’s caller I.D. send the info to all the portable phones? I did e-mail ooma and it seems par for the course that I have not recieved an answer. Thanks for the help.

    [Reply to this comment]

  21. JJ says:

    December 27th, 2009at 10:13 pm(#)

    I just purchased the OOMA. I have a 5 cordless phone system all getting connectivity through one base unit with built in answering machine. I assume I will have to connect the Base unit to the OOMA? I am uncomfortable with porting my number over until I am satisfied with the OOMA. Can I begin using the OOMA with my current number if I don’t yet want to port it? Do I have to have the OOMA Hub connected to an active wall jack until I port over the number? If so, this would mean that my internet connection, modem, router,OOMA hub and active phone jack will all need to be in proximity of each other? What if I am not satisified with OOMA and want to port my number back?

    [Reply to this comment]

  22. Rick says:

    December 3rd, 2009at 2:08 pm(#)

    There is no charge for voice mail.

    [Reply to this comment]

  23. Dick Mathews says:

    December 1st, 2009at 12:39 am(#)

    What’s the monthly charge for voice mail?

    [Reply to this comment]

  24. Tim Palmer says:

    November 20th, 2009at 1:37 pm(#)

    Am considering an ooma – My hesitation is that I”ve had my present phone number for years – am concerned about porting that number – what happens if ooma goes under – do I lose my number? – ooma would not be of much value unless I ported my old number

    [Reply to this comment]

  25. Carl says:

    October 3rd, 2009at 9:51 am(#)

    Please note that Ooma has changed it’s Terms of Service as of October 1st, 2009 and no longer has free voicemail and will charge a yearly regulatory fee for new customers. Pricing for its Premier service has also changed.

    [Reply to this comment]

  26. Wayne says:

    September 30th, 2009at 5:20 pm(#)

    Dear Spot Cool Stuff,

    I am thinking about purchasing the ooma system and currently have 3 land lines plugged into a small phone system….. No, I’m not a bookie joint. My wife has a home business, I have a home business and the remaining line is our home line. As previously mentioned, I have a small KSU telephone system in my home ( 3 CO lines in with 8 extensions out ). Obviously all extensions are home runs to the phone system KSU.
    If I get an ooma hub and 2 scouts. Could I plug the ooma hub into CO 1 and the first Scout into CO 2 and the third Scout into CO 3 of the KSU phone system and have it operate as if my 3 numbers are lane lines as I have now…. I realize the extra cost of the scout and ooma porting my other 2 numbers.

    Thanks a lot,
    Mr. Wanting to Save Money in Mandeville, Louisiana

    [Reply to this comment]

  27. Jordan says:

    July 28th, 2009at 10:06 pm(#)

    You can turn all your phone jacks into ooma jacks if you disconnect your landline at the box outside and then plug the PHONE (not wall) jack of your ooma hub into an phone jack in your house. This will turn your house phone wiring into a giant splitted with connections to all the other jacks in your house. I did it and I have three phones hooked up with out using the scout.

    [Reply to this comment]

  28. Donna N says:

    April 26th, 2009at 9:33 am(#)

    Excuse me but I don’t think you are being fair to those that do not need or want the two line capability. You are making it sound like you must have a Scout on other phones. That is only true IF you want second line availability or any of the other premium add-ons.

    For example: In my case, I want phone service on one line and I want to listen to the messages via my own cordless phone system that has answering machine built in. Ergo, I only need to use the hub and not the Scout anywhere in my home. I plug the Ooma into the wall jack and set the number of rings on my base answering machine lower than the Ooma number of rings to answer.

    It is so simple, my cordless phones all work, they all ring and my base answering machine picks up the calls first so I do not have to physically walk to the Ooma hub for anything. Any of my phones will play the messages to me and I do NOT have a Scout connected anywhere. Only the hub to the router and wall phone jack. I have no need for a second line and the other premier features. I just wanted my cordless base system to work as it always has and I have that.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Tech Stuff Reply:


    These are all great points and I’m glad you shared them.

    The main point we were making is that using a Scout is an either/or proposition. Either all of your additional phones (ie. all the phones not plugged into the hub) have to be plugged in via a Scout or none of them can be. For some people this limits the ooma system (or, at least makes it more expensive) and for others (like yourself) it doesn’t.


    [Reply to this comment]

  29. Todd Becker says:

    April 18th, 2009at 9:50 am(#)

    To clarify a key component of what RCH said. By connecting both the ‘wall’ and ‘phone’ outputs from the Hub to your home’s wiring system via a splitter, you can connect either a Scout or a phone (including satellite receivers) to any outlet in your home. This setup allows you to utilize any combination of normal phones and Scouts on the home wiring network.

    [Reply to this comment]

  30. RCH says:

    April 14th, 2009at 10:45 am(#)

    Just some info to other comments here. I purchased ooma about 2 to 3 months ago and have been very satisfied. For comments on how to hook up with home wiring, this is what I did. About a year ago, I got rid of my home landline and had the number ported to my family plan cell phone. I now have a cell phone that has my home number. I also use an Xlink box, that connects my bluetooth home cell phone to my cordless home phones. (Home cell phone connects to Xlink by bluetooth, Xlink connects to home cordless base.) I got the ooma system and installed it next to my home router in my basement office since it needs a connection to the internet. I also install it to my router not the suggested way by using their base as the router. In my router I can set Qos for voice type calls, so I don’t loose any quality and it was much easier for me to set it up this way. I also got a new number that they gave me. I run the PHONE out connector on the ooma base to a nearby phone jack. That puts ooma on my home wiring system. Upstairs I connect the an Xlink box to the an upstairs jack and that gives the Xlink box the connection to ooma which then gives the ooma dial tone to my cordless home phone system base. I made sure there was no signal on the internal wiring of my house by disconnecting the home wiring from the DMARC box that is attached to the house. This is real easy to do, just unplug your house wiring from the DMARC. Now all my phones will ring when I get a call to the ooma number or the Xlink box will also ring all my phones when a call comes into the cell phone.
    Now this kind of setup will not let you plug the ooma scout into any of the wall jacks to be able to use the second number in that particular room, UNLESS you use a phone splitter plug (since you only need two wires) that will allow you to plug the ooma PHONE connection to wall jack using the center two wires and then you can plug a line in from the ooma WALL connector to the splitter that uses the two outer wires in the jack. Then in the room that you want to use the scout, use a splitter that gives you the two outer wires from the room jack to the scout. Then you should be able to use the scout in that room and all the benifits that come with it. This will also work in other rooms with additional scouts if you use a splitter that uses the outer two wires of the wall jack.
    Other than the downtime yesterday with the major internet outage that occured I haven’t had any problems with the system. The outage was caused by an internet problem that was not directly connected to ooma, but still put them down. On their web site, they accknowlede the problem and spoke of ramping up their plan on adding another network center in another part of the country to help emiminate this kind of issue.
    In a few more months I will have completely recouped the hardware costs and then all will be 100% savings each month.
    A happy customer so far…. RCH

    [Reply to this comment]

  31. Suzy Stephens says:

    April 13th, 2009at 4:09 pm(#)

    We purchased Ooma in March, and finally gave up our landline last Friday when we found out our business phone number has been ported. Now, on Monday, the Ooma service stopped working and we don’t have a business phone. We don’t have a way to fix it, either, since the troubleshooting guide suggests we call Ooma customer service, and that number has been busy all day. We’ve called it about 20 times. Also, for a couple of hours, we couldn’t access the Ooma lounge (it didn’t recognize our user name and password for some reason), so we coudn’t even find out who was trying to call us. We missed a lot of calls, and that has cost us money. Very frustrating!

    [Reply to this comment]

  32. Mike G says:

    April 11th, 2009at 12:35 pm(#)

    Another question for you guys.

    I’m not getting rid of my land line just yet, until I am comfortable with the ooma service. For now, should I set up the ooma with the landline and the new ooma number or should I set up the ooma without the land line.

    How will the ooma service behave if set up with the landline? will outgoing calls go through voip and incoming calls to my landline just get routed through to the ooma?

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Tech Stuff Reply:


    You can definitely use the ooma service along side your landline. Phones that are plugged into a Hub or Scout will be on ooma–they will ring when some one calls your ooma number and you’ll be calling via VoIP when you call out. Your other phones will work on your normal landline, exactly as they do now. In generally, trying out the service being ditching your landline is a good idea. However, if you want to transfer your landline number to your ooma service that can take two weeks.

    Hope that helps.

    [Reply to this comment]

  33. Spot Cool Tech Stuff says:

    April 11th, 2009at 10:20 am(#)


    I agree with Richard’s answer to your first question but not to your second.

    Some home alarms do NOT work with Ooma (ADT, for example) and some work only if the phone line is plugged directly into the Hub (eg. not a Scout or wall jack). has a good return policy so you can always buy an Ooma there and try it out for yourself.

    Keep in mind, though, that the Ooma requires electricity to work. Your home alarm probably has some sort of battery backup. But the Ooma does not. So a potential thief would, in essence, be able to undo your alarm system simply by shutting off the power.

    [Reply to this comment]

  34. Richard in Cincinnati says:

    April 11th, 2009at 8:03 am(#)

    Yes. Yes.

    You will need to disconnect the incoming land line if you currently have one from your in-the-house phone wiring.

    No reason why the alarm system won’t continue continue to work as normal. Remember though that if your internet/cable goes down you won’t be able to call out and your alarm won’t be able to call out either.

    [Reply to this comment]

  35. Mike G says:

    April 10th, 2009at 7:32 pm(#)

    Just for clarification…

    If I had the ooma hub set up near my cable modem and then plugged the hub into the closest home phone jack, I should then get a dial tone to my other home phone jacks?

    What about my monitored alarm system? Will ooma provide a dial tone to the alarm out jack?

    [Reply to this comment]

  36. Mike in VA. says:

    April 8th, 2009at 5:10 pm(#)

    I purchased the Ooma setup a little over a month ago and it has worked perfectly from day one. Other than the musical dial tone I would have never of known I was using Voip. I just called Ooma and I got right through, I was speaking to an actual person within 3 minutes. He was very professional and knowledgable. I hope this is the case every time I need to call even though I really dont think I will need to as well as it seems to work. As far as the wiring issue being discussed with all the phones in the house wired straight to the hub if you wanted to use the scout and its extra features you could always run another line from the hub to the scout maybe for a more private number to give out to only a few select friends or relatives, sort of your own little hotline. I dont see the need for anyone to purchase additional scouts unless everyone in the house would like their own special number and in that case I would think $65 would be a cheap price to pay for another line.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Tech Stuff Reply:

    Mike: Thanks for sharing your experience of ooma. Excellent it was/is such a positive one.

    [Reply to this comment]

  37. Elmer Manankil says:

    April 2nd, 2009at 10:33 am(#)

    I have a question I just purchased this device. If I activated my device and set up a phone number. can I take my device to another state and use my set up phone number and start using it to call USA phone number. or if I take the device outside the USA and plug it in can I call the USA phone number. Thank You

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Tech Stuff Reply:


    The answer to your first question is yes — your number travels with you inside the US.

    To your second question your answer is no — from outside the U.S. you can only call someone inside the U.S. who has an ooma hub but NOT any other phone numbers. If you are looking for a VoIP service that travels well internationally then Skype is (by far) your best option.

    [Reply to this comment]

  38. Spot Cool Tech Stuff says:

    March 24th, 2009at 2:37 pm(#)


    You can use fax machines with ooma. We didn’t test ooma’s fax capabilities but from what we know about it we would absolutely NOT trust the service if you have to absolutely count on your faxes to coming through.

    Our recommendation: get a VoIP service (ooma, Vonage, etc.) and then get a fax number through eFax:

    eFax (which we use at the SCS office) is actually better than an at-home fax machine because the fax number always works (no busy signals). And because the faxes are emailed to you, which means you can receive faxes on your BlackBerry or iPhone.

    Richard & Serge:

    We agree with everything you wrote. Thanks for your comments! Technically, you can have a second line without using a Scout insofar as you can have a second phone number. But for most people a “second line” means being able to make two different outgoing calls at once. Without a Scout you can’t do that with ooma. For people with special circumstances, Richard’s idea of downloading the user manual is an excellent one. Here’s the link; note that the file is a 2.MB PDF:

    [Reply to this comment]

  39. Richard in Cincinnati says:

    March 24th, 2009at 12:29 pm(#)

    Yes, you can call in from outside and hit * when the answerer starts. Or from within your house you can pick up the phone and dial your own number. This will get you to the messages immediately.

    [Reply to this comment]

  40. Serge says:

    March 24th, 2009at 12:20 pm(#)

    thanks for the clarification.

    my only issue is that the hub will in some inconvenient location in the basement.

    can i access voice mail from any handset or do i have to it through the hub.

    I’ll definitely download the manual.


    [Reply to this comment]

  41. Richard in Cincinnati says:

    March 24th, 2009at 12:11 pm(#)

    You said “Basically, am I just losing a second line without the scout?”

    It’s a little more complicated than that. If you are not using a scout you have all of the normal features of ooma at the hub. – Voice mail, etc..

    If you get a call while you are on a call, you get call waiting features just like a normal land line. (switching back and fourth between calls etc..).

    If you use a scout then you can have two outgoing and incoming lines at once.

    You should download the manual available at It has lots of info but leaves out what they don’t want you to know like using ooma hub without scouts on your existing multiple phones.

    [Reply to this comment]

  42. Serge says:

    March 24th, 2009at 10:07 am(#)

    Thanks for the follow-up. I did not think that my home wiring was that unusual, at least not for homes built in the last 15 years or so. I was not sure the purpose of the scout if I connect the hub to my home wiring system, and if I had access to my voice mail without the scout and not having to go to the ooma lounge every time.
    Basically, am I just losing a second line without the scout?

    btw, I tried contacting, AGAIN, it seems that, unless you are a customer, the voice message directs you to the ooma website. I also tried to post a message on their forum, again, only existing customers can do so.

    One final question for everyone out there. Is anyone using Google voice with ooma?


    [Reply to this comment]

  43. Richard in Cincinnati says:

    March 24th, 2009at 8:14 am(#)

    By ‘cordless bundle’ I assume you mean one cordless base station and 5 remotes with charging cradles.

    Yes. If you plug the base into the “Phone” jack on the hub all 6 remotes will work through ooma.

    [Reply to this comment]

  44. Mitchell says:

    March 22nd, 2009at 9:42 pm(#)

    If I have a 6 phone cordless bundle and I connect the base into the ooma hub, will the rest of the phones get ooma service?

    [Reply to this comment]

  45. Richard in Cincinnati says:

    March 22nd, 2009at 10:38 am(#)

    I installed ooma 3 days ago in my home. I installed only the ooma hub (at this time) and I wanted to correct something you stated in your original entry that you had to use a Scout on each telephone in your house if you use ooma. This is certainly not the case.

    There are two jacks on the hub for phone conncetions “phone” and “wall”. Normally you would connect the “phone” to a nearby phone handset and the “wall” to an existing wall phone outlet.

    When you connect the “wall” jack to an outlet it changes your home phone wiring into a little ooma network. If you want another phone on the network you have to use a Scout on that outlet and connect the phone to the Scout.

    HOWEVER… If you connect the “phone” jack of the hub to an outlet (and leave the “wall” jack unconnected) it allows you to use all of your phones together as they worked before. You will not be able to use a Scout at all in this arrangement (because it is expecting a connection to the little network).

    The wiring that Serge described for his home system is the same as everyone’s home phone wiring. All the phone outlets are in ‘parallel’. Nothing special there.

    [Reply to this comment]

  46. Janet G says:

    March 21st, 2009at 10:04 pm(#)

    Question re: ooma. The only reason I still have a landline is because of my job. I have “on-call” duties on the weekend and when necessary must receive and send faxes. The maximum length of received faxes are two pages. The maximum sent faxes are only one page. I have read comments from others that there have been no problems with faxes or that there are problems with faxes. Can you enlighten me about this?


    [Reply to this comment]

  47. Serge says:

    March 20th, 2009at 12:25 pm(#)

    That sounds more promising, however, the hub would be setup in the basement. I am still hopeful that ooma would have a solution for this.

    I agree that my configuration is not the norm, but anyone with home automation wiring would run into the same issue.

    I will try to contact ooma, if i get through, i will certainly report back.

    thanks for the help and the service you are providing to people on this technology.

    [Reply to this comment]

  48. Spot Cool Tech Stuff says:

    March 20th, 2009at 12:04 pm(#)


    Yes, the premier service would still be available to you. And no, you won’t have to go to the internet for your voicemail. You can still access your vm through your Hub. But, sadly, in your case you will NOT be able to get voicemail through a Scout. (You also can’t call ooma with questions if you aren’t a customer — you’ll get a message directing you to their website).

    If you do get ooma, could you return with a report with out it worked out for you. We’d love to know.

    ——– // ————

    I don’t want other people reading these comments to get confused. Serge’s house has an unusual telephone wiring system. For the majority of people out there the key thing to know is that the ooma Core package is good for two telephone. For every additional phone you’ll need to purchase an additional Scout.

    [Reply to this comment]

  49. Serge says:

    March 20th, 2009at 11:48 am(#)

    If the scout functionality is available through the ooma lounge and the premier service is still available, then I might consider it. I probably will not mind having a second line, but the idea of having to go the lounge on the internet every time I need to access my voice mail will quickly become an issue for me.

    Maybe I’ll contact tech support for more answers, but wait, no one picks up the phone. Maybe I’ll wait until ooma addresses this issue.

    thanks for your help.

    [Reply to this comment]

  50. Spot Cool Tech Stuff says:

    March 19th, 2009at 11:17 pm(#)


    Ah, then in your case I think you are in luck.

    The Hub has only one phone jack. What you are doing, if I understand you correctly, is in essence splitting the jack to multiple phones. Yes, you can do that. Your phones would behave exactly as if you had one line from the phone company. (Eg. if you were talking on one phone and some one in your house picked up another phone they’d hear your conversation and wouldn’t be able to make an outgoing call).

    There is a catch, however, which might or might not matter to you: Doing this you wouldn’t be able to use the Scout on *ANY* of your phones (because it doesn’t work to plug a phone into a Scout that’s in turn plugged into a Hub, if you follow). So you couldn’t get a second phone line or take advantage of any of the other Scout functionality.

    [Reply to this comment]

  51. Serge says:

    March 19th, 2009at 10:30 pm(#)

    Thanks for the response,
    If that is the case, Ooma is not for me. That will require me to purchase a scout for each phone, which in effect will at least double my entry cost into this system. I guess I will stay with Vonage. RATS!!!!
    However, I am not sure if my inquiry was clear. My house is wired so that the phone line connects in one central location and gets distributed throughout the house via the jacks.
    If I install the Ooma hub in that one central location, technically, it is like plugging directly into the hub, instead of one phone connection to the hub, multiple phones are connected to the hub. If that is not possible, then the system has a flaw which limits it to people with just 1 or 2 phones. I am not inclined to spend $65.00 per scout.
    Currently my Vonage box is connected in one central location and all my phone jacks in the house have a dial tone.

    thanks for your help thoufh.

    [Reply to this comment]

  52. Serge says:

    March 19th, 2009at 2:36 pm(#)

    Thanks for the review.

    The one thing that makes me hesitant about Ooma is there lack of customer service. I sent an email, but never got a response.

    I cannot seem to get a definitive answer about this, hopefully, you’ll shed some light.

    If I connect the Ooma hub to a home phone wiring system with 1 to x number of jacks, My guess is that I should have a dial tone in any of the phone jacks in the house. Do I need a scout for each of the phone jacks?

    If not, is the purpose of the scout simply to do the things you could do in the Ooma lounge? In that case, one scout should be sufficient or not even use it if i do not mind going to the Ooma lounge.

    Thanks and I look forward to your response.

    [Reply to this comment]

    Spot Cool Tech Stuff Reply:

    Hi Serge,

    Yeah, as we noted in the review ooma’s customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Fortunately it is a rather reliable system so typically people don’t need customer service.

    To answer your question: With Ooma you *never* plug a phone directly into a phone jack. Every phone has to be plugged into either a Hub or Scout first and then that is connected to the phone jack. The Core package comes with one Hub and one Scout, so that’s enough for two phones. For a third phone you’d have to buy a separate Scout.

    This is one of the key differences between Ooma and Vonage. With Vonage you plug one of your phones into a Vonage box. Your other phones can all then be plugged into your phone jacks exactly as they would be if you were using your local phone company.

    Hope that helps.

    [Reply to this comment]

Leave a Response

CommentLuv badge

SPOTCOOLSTUFF Tech reviews digital cameras, iPod accessories, cutting edge cars, home audio equipment and a whole host of gadgets with a WOW! factor. Because technology can be wonderful! Sign up for our latest tech posts by email . . .

    Creative D100 Wireless Bluetooth Speaker
    Cool-looking. Highly portable. And, for the moment, 44% off!

Cost: $44.99 Time left:
Buy Now
Offer Closed!


Hot CategoriesMore Cool StuffShop Tech
Photo & VideoiPod AccessoriesTravelCell Phones
Personal RobotsPortable MediaMediaDigital Cameras
ComputersSpeakersDesignAudio & Video