What is it?
A basic VoIP phone system for small businesses.
How popular is it?
Ooma is a medium sized company with around 100 employees. They’re primarily known for their retail product, but they also have a business product.
What does it do well?
Give you a low cost business phone system with unlimited minutes.
What does it not do well?
There’s no call recording, reporting or software integrations. Internet fax, call conferencing and the mobile app also cost an additional fee. Also, if you want more than 5 users to use a handset, you’ll have to buy additional equipment.
Who does it work well for?
Small businesses who need a basic, stripped down phone system without features like call recording, online fax or call conferencing.
Who does it not work well for?
Businesses who want a more comprehensive phone system.
Free calls to US and Canada?
Can you use your current phone number(s)?
Does it support toll free?
Cost Compared to Competitors?
Cloud or Hosted?
Does it require special phones?
No, you can use any normal non-digital phone. Phones are plugged into a wireless adapter that communicates with your Ooma Office Base Station to provide service. Two Ooma Linx adapters are included free when you start a plan. Additional adapters are $50 each. You cannot use a VoIP phone.
Of all the VoIP providers we reviewed, Ooma scored the lowest for reliability of service, with poor voice quality being a key issue, in particular. Of the 50 most recent user reviews on Amazon, 12 users noted technical issues: 1 noted service outages, 2 noted dropped calls, 6 noted poor sound quality and 5 noted other technical issues.
Ooma Pricing is flexible, determined by the number of extensions and phone numbers you need. Every user needs an extension but not every user has to have their own number. Each extension is $10/month and phone numbers are $10/month as well. The lowest you could pay is $19.98 for 1 phone number and 1 extension.
Along with the recurring monthly fees, there’s a one-time $250 charge for Ooma Office equipment (though it’s often discounted to $200). You get 1 Ooma Office Base Station and 2 Ooma Linx wireless adapters, which you can plug into any non-digital phone for service. Each Base Station can provide service to 5 handset phones and 15 virtual extensions, such as forwarding calls to a cell phone. If you want additional phones or virtual extensions, you’ll need to purchase another Base Station.
While Ooma Office can be on the cheaper end, the costs can also add up quickly with additional features and extensions. Faxing and Call Conferencing require additional extensions, so to add both to your account would actually cost at least $40/month.
Here are some examples of Ooma Office actual costs:
$24.81 / month
(+$250 one time fee)
$64.77 / month
($12.95 / user)
(+$250 one time fee)
$264.57 / month
($10.39 / user)
(+$500 one time fee)
One Time Hardware Cost:
$500 (Requires 2 Base Stations)
*Taxes & Surcharges
$4.83 (per phone number)
$4.83 (per phone number)
$4.83 (per phone number)
Optional Add Ons
Additional Phone Numbers - Add $10 / month each
Call Conferencing - Add $10 / month
Internet Fax - Add $10 / month
Ooma Linx adapter to wirelessly connect phones - Add $50 / line (one-time fee)
*Note: The exact amount you pay in taxes and fees will vary depending on location. Some states, counties and cities will charge more than others. The prices in this example reflect the taxes in New York City. You can calculate fees in your area here.
You can make international calls for an additional charge per minute. Rates are on the lower end compared to other providers, ranging between 2 cents to about 60 cents per minute, depending on the country. You can look up international rates here. Ooma does not offer international phone numbers.
Ease of use
- Setup – Moderate. Setting up the hardware and logging in to add extensions and create the auto receptionist is all fairly simple. You can call the 24/7 overseas support line for help, but there’s no dedicated account manager to help you get started. Check out the video below for an overview of the setup process:
- End User – Easy. Because Ooma Office is a more basic VoIP, I found it to be easy on the end user. Checking voicemail, placing callers on hold, transferring calls or setting up call forwarding is all done with basic keystrokes on the keypad.
- Support – Moderate. Ooma Office has a help center with a fair number of resources. There’s also 24/7 phone and chat support, although many users have cited negative experiences with the overseas staff.
Features It Has
Features It Does Not Have
Receptionist (Auto Attendant)
Integrate w/ CRM
Find Me / Follow Me
Music on Hold
*Available with a Virtual Office Pro account ($5/user/month upgrade)
You can create a virtual receptionist from the online user portal. You can type greeting text for an automated voice to read callers (and choose between 3 preset voice tones) or you can upload your own audio file (.wav or .mp3) of the greeting. The “after hours” page lets you create a unique greeting to be played when your business is closed. You can input the hours, days and special holidays your business is not open.
On the same page you can set up the menu button options (i.e. “press 1 for customer service,” “2 for sales.”) You can set it up to forward callers to an individual or department, play a pre-recorded message, such as store hours, or let callers search a dial-by-name directory.
Read more about Ooma’s Virtual Receptionist here.
You can set up ‘ring groups,’ which are extensions that ring multiple phones. You’ll likely set up a ring group for each department of your business (i.e. sales, customer service.) For ring groups, there’s two call routing options: You can have all numbers simultaneously, or in a sequence where each phone rings a few times before moving onto the next.
There’s no preset music on hold, but you upload a custom audio file that users will hear when they are placed on hold. This can be music, a recording of business information, or whatever you’d like to play for callers. (read more here)
Each extension can have their own unique voicemail box. Users can record their own greeting and configure messages to be forwarded to an email address.
Read more about Ooma Voicemail here.
Virtual faxing is available as an add on for $10/month. You can set up an Ooma number or extension to act as a fax line (which means an additional $10/month) When you you do this, you’ll be asked to enter a single name and email address. Faxes will be sent to that email address as an attachment. You can also upload documents and send them as faxes via the online Ooma user menu. There’s no digital signature capabilities like you get with RingCentral.
You can also set up Ooma to work with a physical fax machine (read more here).
Call conferencing is available as an add on for $10/month. You can have up to 10 conference calls going on at once – each with up to 10 participants.
How it works is you first must set your “conference server” to an extension (i.e. 110) or Ooma phone number, which participants can dial to join a conference. Then, callers will enter the unique conference room ID number to join the correct call. You can have up to 10 “conference rooms,” which means you can have up to 10 calls going on at once.
Note: Because conferencing requires an additional extension, you’ll need to pay $10/month on top of the $10/month fee for conferencing. Read more about Call Conferencing here.
Employees can choose to forward calls to another number if, for example, they’re heading out of the office for lunch. This can be done from the online portal, although it takes several steps to turn on and off. You can choose to have both your regular number and forwarding number ring simultaneously, or just the forwarding number. (read more here)
There’s also a quick way to set up a forwarding number from your keypad, which is great if you’re already out the door and don’t have time to log in. (explained here)
There’s no call recording in Ooma Office.
Ooma Office does not currently have a mobile app.
I did not find any 3rd party integrations for Ooma Office.
Besides basic call logs, I did not see any reporting tools included with Ooma Office.
US Based or Not?
What’s The Method of Delivery?
Ooma has 24/7 phone and chat support, although many users cited negative experiences with their overseas staff.
Ooma has a searchable support center with articles and guides. While there’s a support page for Ooma Office, searching support will bring up articles for all products (including home VoIP), so it can be a little difficult to find the right resource.
The Bottom Line
At $9.99 per extension, Ooma makes a very promising pitch to small business. For a service that provides unlimited calling to the US and Canada, it sounds too good to be true. The reality is, however, that the price can rack up quickly with additional features and users. Add internet fax, call conferencing and 2 phone numbers and now you’re looking at $70/month for a single user. This is not to mention the one time hardware cost of $250.
If you can keep things simple, then Ooma might be the way to go. In theory, you could add 5 employees with unlimited minutes for under $65/month. If you want more features and flexibility, however, then you’re better off choosing another service like Phone.com, Nextiva or RingCentral.