Ooma vs Vonage

UPDATE: To clarify this issue, my problem was resolved by getting connected with some really good techs at Charter.com (my Cable/ISP Provider). The problem was on THEIR system. Something called “Jitter” that does not seem to affect the Internet but DOES affect VOIP and Streaming. See the article here: http://www.dslreports.com/faq/13070 to better understand what it is.

Bottom Line: Ooma was NOT at fault and the system has been working great for over a year now.

Although my previous reviews of Ooma have all been positive, I must admit that I am now having some issues.

Ooma vs Vonage

Recently, I started experiencing a rather unusual problem with my phone. All incoming calls appear to work properly. However, SOME outgoing calls would not present my voice to the called party. I could hear them fine but they could not hear me. At first, it appeared to be on ALL of my outgoing calls but recently, some outgoing calls work fine.

I called Ooma last Wednesday about it and went through the normal trouble shooting steps with their agent. After about 20 minutes, the agent agreed that the problem would have to be “escalated to the next level.” He informed me that someone would be calling me within the “next 24 to 48 hours” to resolve my problem. The call NEVER CAME.

I had minor surgery on Thursday and was not up to calling on Friday but I saw no missed called from Ooma on my cell or home phone numbers. Then, it was the weekend and I figured that the “next level” support staff probably worked a regular work week so I waited until Monday of this week to call. After going through a LONG queue, I was finally connected to a first level technician who was again unable to resolve the issue and repeated the comments of the previous tech that the issue would have to be escalated and “someone will call you within the next 24-48 hours.”

After an extended DEMAND on my part that I wanted to speak with the “next level” now – not 24-48 hours later, I was connected to someone else (not sure if they were on the “next level” or not). They were not able to resolve the issue either and, after a couple hours of bickering between us, the last I heard was… “someone will call you within the next 24-48 hours.”

It has now been close to 48 hours and the call has not yet come and I do not expect it to come. However, Ooma did send me an email today asking me to respond to a survey of my level of satisfaction with their service. I answered it appropriately (grin).

So… Although there is still much to love about the Ooma, their technical “service” DEFINITELY could use some improvement.

Update (approximately 50 hours after the previous call): Carol (from Ooma) called today. (She is the first person who appeared to have English as their first language.) Much more conciliatory tone. She really seems to want to fix my issue. No clear answers but Carol is sending a new Ooma device to determine if that is the problem. More to come….

Considering that Vonage has reduced their prices (for the first six months) and offers free world calling in their bundle, you might want to consider them. The price of Ooma “Premier” service is now $120 per year and you buy the equipment ($250 for the Telo or $220 for the Hub). Total price for two years is just over $2o per month. Vonage offers MORE services for a total two year price of around $450 – or just under $20 per month.

After Ooma exchanged my Hub (for free – under warranty), the problem is still present. The issue then somehow a “network” problem. A secondary issue involves the fact that I recently changed ISP from AT&T DSL to Charter (cable) Internet Service.

After contacting Charter about the issue, they have begun some tests on my line. I will report my impressions about Charter in a separate review.


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28 Responses to Ooma vs Vonage

  1. hel says:

    Ray: Need to connect business phone, fax machine, and house phone. Can both Ooma and Vonage do this?

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Since I never used Vonage, I can not say. And since I don’t use fax (why?), I am not positive. But Ooma does offer two lines and two separate numbers with the hub/scout and their premier service. I believe I read that it will do fax but I am not certain.

  2. scott guinta says:

    ray,i recently moved,and connected ooma as my phone service.for the first 3 weeks,i experienced dropped calls of varying lengths.for the past 2 weeks,along with the dropped calls,the ooma will stay working fine,then start blinking red(with busy signal if i pick up the phone).i’ll unplug the ooma from the electrical source,it will be fine for a half hour,and then the blinking red.if i leave it alone,it will blink red all day….with no phone service,obviously.i’m about ready to get regular phone service….at any cost.to make matters worse,the area around my house is a dead zone for cell service.oh yea…my internet provider is charter.i’m not sure if what i am experiencing is jitter,or not.where do i turn next?


  3. Linda says:

    I don’t know anything about your tech talking here, but I’ve had Vonage for many years now.
    In that amount of time anyone would have a few problems but nothing like your service with Ooma.
    Vonage has always been very helpful and had the answer right away. I love paying by the year and
    the price is very reasonable for me at $22.49 a month total.
    So here’s one for Vonage.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Thanks Linda! I agree that my initial problem was a bad thing that a non-tech would suffer with. But the bottom line is that the problem was with my Cable (ISP) Provider – not Ooma. I would have had the same issues with Vonage (since they both use basically the same technology.
      I understand your joy at a reduced phone bill. But I like NOT paying at all! Although I do pay (annually) $10 per month to Ooma for the Premier Service (some extras that are not really important), I can stop that at any time and continue to have FULL Telephone service (local and LD) at no charge! That is a really good value!
      Actually, I just did a review of the NEW Magic Jack Plus. I have to admit that all three (MJ+, Vonage, & Ooma) are on a pretty level field. All have advantages and (a few) disadvantages but all are now EXTREMELY good values.
      I would endorse the use of any of the three!

      • Rick DeNeffe says:

        My new MagicJackPlus is priced right but I’m out-of-luck when I want 3-way calling or to access conference
        calls like FreeConferenceCall.com. MagicJack is programmed to automatically drop conference calls
        after 5 minutes. Or, present a fast-busy, or, deliver an “all circuits are busy” messaage, or, 3 tones followed
        by silence. The Ooma folks assure me that their premium service includes 3-way and 5000 minutes
        monthly. So much for the thrill of unlimited service.

        • Ray Waldo says:

          Good points Rick.
          Since I don’t do conference calls very much, it is not an issue for me but it could be a deal breaker for some.
          As to the limited minutes on Ooma, it was explained to me as a way to assure that the service was not abused by a commercial service – like a call center, etc. They would be online almost continually. I don’t believe that you will be penalized for your home use.

  4. Bobbi says:

    Correction to above. Att issue was IMpossible to fix (after hrs and hrs on phone). And the garbled sound is from low fidelity in ooma call. And further context… I’ve had ooma for about a year.

  5. Bobbi says:

    I am pulling the plug on ooma today after hours and hours of problem solving (solving isn’t right word). The dance around English as a
    Second language is challenging and their lack of replies as u indicated draw out this process. Garbled, and unintelligible bouts on almost every conversation re my current problem. Was fairly uncommon at first. Not now. Ooma said it was my jitter rate. Horizon is my ISP- their person said “what is jitter”. Very frustrating ordeal. I am on my third ooma device – they comped me a handset. The 1st one wouldn’t take a charge. Second one was no better and matter if fact perhaps a little less quality. My ISP paid a house visit and found a wire down, but after repairing, ran tests and said it was fine. I do live in a rural area, and am wondering if any service would be acceptable. I dropped AT&T with glee after the static in that line seemed possible to fix. Was thinking about going with vonage. Perhaps a cell phone is only way to go.

    I’m surprised u sing ooma’s praises after poor service.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      The key to your problem is when the Horizon rep asked “What is jitter?” Check out the article here: http://www.dslreports.com/faq/13070 where they tell you that it is the most likely issue with VOIP.
      The reason that I praise Ooma is because they did not complain – even though the problem was NOT with their device. They sent me another one (as they evidently did for you also) but I continued to have problems. That is the first indication that the Ooma is not the problem.
      Customer “Service” on my ISP (Charter) was little better. They knew nothing about VOIP and said that since the computers were connecting to the Internet, the problem had to be with Ooma.
      But Charter has some super engineers that you can reach via http://www.charter.com/Umatter2Charter and on Twitter (@charterdylan & others). They were the solution finders. They asked about the service ports and requirements that Ooma has (http://www.ooma.com/support/knowledgebase/advanced-connections-and-service-ports) and when I presented that site to them, they had my up and running within a couple of days. That was over a year ago and I continue to have EXCELLENT phone (and ISP) service now!

  6. Jeff Benjamin says:

    The title of your article is Ooma vs Vonage. The article discusses the problems you’ve had with Ooma, but I don’t see any comparisons with Vonage. Is one better than the other? If so, WHY?

  7. Dpetenbrink says:

    Just wanted to let you know that the Ooma Hub, albeit the refurbished version, is now on sale at Buy.com for $120. Not a bad deal. I have included the link for those that are looking to purchase Ooma at this time.

  8. michelle says:

    I have 2 lines with Vonage and am looking to eliminate phone bills completely and am wondering if Google Voice will work with Ooma and eliminate the need for the Premier service for the extra features.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Thanks for the comment Michelle…
      Google Voice will work with ANY phone. It has features that are very similar to the Premier service on Ooma.

      First, get the GV service and check out all the features/benefits using your existing phone(s) – Almost everything works without converting a number to GV. You can even convert one of your existing number before buying any additional hardware.

      Be aware that the Ooma Telo REQUIRES that you pay an annual fee but the Ooma HUB does not. If you buy the Hub (was on sale for $220 recently), you can use it for your entire wired home (see this site for how to do it). And, with GV, you can have similar features to the Premier service. However, I have both and I still prefer to pay the $10/mo for the premier service but YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

      • Hamburger1 says:

        Hi, I have a device called “netTALK” which I paid about $70 to get rid of my cable phone service. People tell me I sound like a robot!!!!! I am deciding between Ooma and Vonage. I saw nothing here about Vonage overall performance. Does anyone know Ooma vs Vonage/ Also, Ray, you mentione: “you can use it for your entire wired home (see this site for how to do it).” How does it work? You wrote: see this site. What site are you talking about?
        Please explain.

        • Ray Waldo says:

          I don’t know anything about “netTALK” but all VOIP services suffer from a lack of support from your ISP (unless they provide the VOIP service as well.) You might want to check with the Cable Co’s Tech Support about the “jitter” on your line. If you don’t know what it is, you need to google it and learn – otherwise, you will have problems with all VOIP services.
          That said, I would tell anyone that my Ooma is FIRST QUALITY in all aspects! It took some work (with Charter, Inc) to get the jitter issues fixed on my line but after that, the call quality has been OUTSTANDING – both on my end and what my callers tell me about what they hear. Even from far away, they tell me that it is like I am in the same room.
          I suspect that Vonage service will be similar to Ooma. Short term, Vonage will be cheaper. Long term, Ooma will be cheaper. And, I like the fact that if I wanted to drop the EXTRA services, my Ooma phone service would be completely FREE!
          For the whole house wiring, check THIS site (bishoptec.com). In particular, look at the “Ooma Whole House Wiring – Update” link at the end of this article (in the box between the article and these comments.)

  9. Dan says:

    We’ve had an Ooma Telo since last January and really appreciate the monthly savings. That said, we too have had recurrent “network” problems. About half the time outgoing calls will connect but there is no audio on either end of the line. Also, we get a loud screech whenever another call interrupts an in-process call. This normally disconnects the first call. A few months ago I tried customer service and was given the same 24-48 hour run around. I never got a return phone call, and eventually gave up after several attempts at speaking with advanced technical support.

    I would rate their support as poor and their product as “rough”. Still, it has long ago paid for itself. I’ve only recommended it to other tech-savvy friends that don’t mind hobbyist-type products. Our cell phones are now our primary phone lines, and the Ooma allows the kids a way to communicate with friends.

    • Ray Waldo says:

      Thanks for the update Dan! Actually, I have not had ANY problems over the past several months. I have the Ooma Hub (vice the Telo) and I have it set up to feed my entire home phone line.
      I never really described the results of my problems.
      As to Ooma’s support, they sent me another Hub (free) under their 1 year warranty program. But I continued to have trouble even with the new device.
      I contacted my ISP (Charter) and they put some technical expertise into it. I am not certain what they did but they fixed the problem – completely!
      So, I recommend that you contact the tech people at your ISP and see if they can help.

      • Jeffery says:

        Interesting post Ray. I’m a long time user of Vonage and the technical issue you have with Ooma is the exact problem I’m having with Vonage. This issue is the reason I am considering switching to Ooma. My ISP happens to be a cable provider as well. I had contacted them but they couldn’t provide any solutions.

        How did you explain the problem to your ISP? When I contacted mine’s, they were fairly clueless. Do you know the type of tests they performed?

        I missed whether you were using the Hub from the beginning or changed from Telo to Hub when the problems began.

        • Ray Waldo says:

          Thanks for the comment Jeffery.
          I have Charter as my ISP. I could not get any help from customer service. I posted a negative report on twitter #charter. Their super-techs replied QUICKLY and stayed in contact until they had resolved my problem. No more “duh?” from a dumb cs Rep!
          I may be able to find the tweet and tell you what they did – later. I am working from my GTab now.

        • Ray Waldo says:

          BTW – I have the hub. Never got a telo.

  10. Brandon says:

    I have been using Ooma’s free service for about 2 years now. I have never said that I was happy with a phone company before but I think today is the day that will change. After reading your article, I couldn’t help but take a look at my budget.. (Landline – $0 isn’t on there but I think I’m going to put it there now since just reading that makes me smile). I used to pay over $50 a month for a phone that I NEVER used. Although this is a great article, I don’t think any amount of words can put Ooma into the correct positive perspective.

  11. Ray Waldo says:

    Thanks for stopping by. This site ranks pretty high on Google for Ooma vs Vonage.
    Actually, I had already posted a review of how the matter turned out but I failed to add it to this series (DUH)!
    You can check it out on the series/ooma menu or just click here: https://bishoptec.com/2010/05/voip-ooma-still-on-top/.
    Bottom line: I am still a VERY STRONG Supporter of Ooma! I am trying to eliminate all “subscriptions” from my bank account. It is difficult to do. I do purchase Ooma’s “Premier” service at $10/mo but it is not required. I could cut the cord today and my phone would work fine – for FREE! All local and continental US calls are included.

  12. jbbenni says:

    Thanks for this update. I’m in the same boat, intending to replace my ATT phone service with VOIP — either OOMA or a more traditional service. And I’m currently in the process of replacing ATT DSL with Charter cable modem.

    So I read your report of feeble support from OOMA with great interest. How’s it working out for you now?

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