Ooma Launches Telo VoIP Hardware

Dave Zatz —  October 1, 2009 — 10 Comments

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Ooma’s refreshed home VoIP hardware has started trickling into Best Buy brick & mortar outlets nationwide. And it’s safe to say that their full complement of retail partners will shortly have Telo ($250) inventory. I first caught sight of the product update last November and, like it’s predecessor (the Hub), Telo effectively offers unlimited US calling. (Currently capped at 5,000 minutes, presumably to prevent abuse by small businesses on tight budgets.) Unlike a Skype or magicJack, you can use Ooma products with your existing phone(s). Or pair Telo with new Ooma-centric handsets due next month ($50?). Additionally and optionally, Ooma offers a Premiere tier of service ($120/yr) and/or allows you to port a number ($40).

In the Spring of 2008, I worked out a trade (at the San Mateo Mogolian Hot Pot) with a former colleague who had relocated to Ooma – a Dash Express for a VoIP Hub. Having previously dumped Vonage due to poor, unreliable service, I was somewhat skeptical. But as a telecommuter and given the nature of my job at the time, I found myself in need of many minutes from a dependable service. And Ooma delivered. Up to several hours per weekday over many months, not once did I experience any sort of interference, a dropped call, or down time. Something I can’t say of Skype or magicJack (or Vonage, obviously).

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Given my current work and living situation, I no longer find myself in need of a home phone. Yet, as you can see from the pics, I managed to get my hands on the new gear anyway. Telo hardware is sleeker than the original Hub, with beveled edges and a touchable surface versus physical buttons. However, there’s something about the original Hub’s industrial silver metal look that I prefer. I wanted to run a Kill A Watt test on the refreshed device, versus my Hub results, but seemed to have misplaced the meter. I’ll just assume it’s more energy efficient. And will continue wondering what that USB port foreshadows. In addition to new hardware, Ooma has also refreshed their web portal – home to call logs, voicemail, and customizable blacklists.

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10 responses to Ooma Launches Telo VoIP Hardware

  1. 5000 minutes per month cap? That’s less than 4 hours per weekday. That’s not a lot of time. A couple of hour long conf calls and regular calling will go over 4 hours easily.

  2. I’d consider an ooma, but I’d have to use it for 25 months for it to break even. Ugh. (t-mobile @home line instead for now — best voip ever).

  3. Charles, the Hub and Telo are intended to be personal/home devices. A one time $250 fee for 5,000 minutes a month seems like a good deal to me. Looks like they have a small business offering slated on tap next year.

    Scott, we haven’t had the most amazing experience with T-Mobile’s UMA service. However, Melissa got in in the long term customer promotion of unlimited cell minutes for just $50/mo. One of the reasons we’re in less need of a home phone.

  4. I’ve used the regular ooma now since the beta, and didn’t like the shared bandwidth and POTS lines use – which is now gone – but would recommend it now to a new user since it basically acts as a regular VOIP applicance (better to get the older hub at this point since the T&C’s are better for previous customers) I ALSO don’t want the Telo, maybe the Hub, but I really HATE DECT 6.0 phones and their constant RF/EMF bombardment. Why did they DO THIS?

    My future prediction (remember where you heard it) ooma just took in another 15MM$ in VC capital to manage the launch and grow their base. I think the expectation is to get them to the N-1 slide on their presentation deck. “STG”

  5. Can someone riddle me this? Why does the premium service cost $119.99 per year when month-to-month for the same thing costs $119.88?

    Not being a troll; I just find it curious.

  6. @Charles,
    Do you really have 4+ hour-long conference calls *every* weekday of the month? (If you do, my condolences.)

    But including weekends, 5000 minutes/month is about 2.78 hours/day. I do think that’s bordering the low side for a family with multiple teenaged kids.

  7. Please read the Ooma documents.
    Ooma clearly states that it is intended for Residental use and not Business use.

    If someone needs to be on their home phone for 4 hours a day. Then that person needs to get a life.

  8. I just got the Telo yesterday. I bought it from Buy.com using Bing Cashback and saved a little on total cost. I should have created a new account to get the $10 off any order over $200 but I wasn’t thinking about that at the time but I still come out with the initial cost at $242 an getting another $9.70 back from Bing. Even with the budget shipping (free) it arrived in only 1 day! This thing is great and will replace our Vonage line which we’ve had for 6 years!
    Anyway, the Kill-a-Watt test was done by a couple of posters in the Ooma forums. They say that the Telo uses 5 watts with the lights on and 4 if you kill them. In comparison, one poster says the hub uses 7 watts and add another 1 for each scout.

  9. Ooma Hub with no scout is on sale at FRY’s Electronics for $149 at the store here in L.A. It is advertised for $169, but $20 less at the stores. I just bought one, installed it and it works great.

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