Ooma and Vonage are two of the most popular names in residential and now in business VoIP. Vonage was the first major VoIP provider to bring VoIP home, and Ooma was an early name as well. We're going to look at each of the providers' most popular plans and see how they compare. Vonage World is their most popular package, with no hardware costs, and low international calling prices. Ooma has a moderately hefty hardware cost, their Ooma Telo costs $149.99, and their premier service offers features that their basic plan does not. Let's take a look at how the offerings stack up.
In order to properly compare prices, we need to look at the long term costs. Vonage offers an annual prepay option, which we will use as our price comparison, and Ooma has a steep startup cost that is balanced against lower monthly prices. Accordingly, we will combine the cost of the Ooma Telo with the cost of two years of Premier service to get our final cost.
Vonage does not require paying for the Vonage Box, and with the World Plan, you get activation and shipping fees waived. The World Plan, unlike many of Vonage's other plans, allows for an annual prepay. The annual cost is $269, times two is $538.
Ooma's service requires the purchase of an Ooma Telo, which hooks up to your existing phone, or optionally connects to their own HD2 handset. The suggested retail price of the Telo is $150, and Premier service costs $100 per year, making service over two years cost $350.
Services and Features:
Both Vonage and Ooma have unlimited calls per month within the U.S. These packages offer many of the features that we have come to expect for free, including caller ID, online voicemail, simultaneously ringing another phone, and having two phone lines with only one number.
Vonage World and Ooma Premier both have features available, either included or for an extra charge, that the other do not.
Vonage offers “Extensions,” which is the ability to make calls using your Vonage plan from a non-Vonage phone by dialing into their service. One Extension is included for free. Vonage gives the option of a toll free number for $4.99/mo; Vonage gives you the option of a softphone for $9.99/mo, and Ooma does not let you make calls from your computer.
The Ooma Telo has a USB jack so you can have a Bluetooth adapter and/or a wireless adapter. With the Bluetooth adapter, you can pair up to seven mobile phones or Bluetooth headsets to either transfer mobile calls to the Telo or make hands free calls. The wireless adapter lets you move the Telo device to anywhere within Wi-Fi range rather than require you to hook directly into your router. Each of these devices cost $50. You can have either of these adapters as your free gift when you purchase a year of Ooma Premier, but if you do, you have to pay $40 to port your phone number, which would otherwise be included in Ooma Premier.
Ooma Premier has fax service included, but Vonage customers have to pay $9.99/mo to send and receive faxes. Both Ooma Premier and Vonage World include the ability to have a second number with any local area code route to your phone, called a virtual number. Ooma Premier includes a second number for free, but Vonage customers have to pay $4.99 for the second number. Ooma Premier subscribers can have up to seven virtual numbers, but Vonage World subscribers can have unlimited virtual numbers, gives the option of international virtual numbers for $9.99, a feature that Ooma does not offer. Conversely, you can have a “personal number” with Ooma, and have a second number only ring one device—an HD2 handset or the Telo—instead of all of them, up to four devices. Vonage gives you the option of adding lines, but Vonage customers can have only two discrete devices ring.
Both Vonage and Ooma offer mobile apps for iOS, and Vonage has an Android app. The Vonage app has unlimited minutes to US phone numbers, and low international rates. Vonage even allows you to have video calling and text messages to any other Vonage app user. The Ooma Premier app, on the other hand, includes 250 inbound minutes, but outbound minutes are 1.6 cents for US calls, or you can buy a thousand minutes for $4.99/mo. Vonage is definitely a winner in the mobile app department.
Where Vonage World really shines is the low price of international calls. Vonage World has free calls to landlines in 60 countries including: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, The UK, and others. Vonage also includes free landline and mobile calls to ten countries: Brunei, Macau, Singapore, Canada, Malasia, South Korea, China, Puerto Rico, Thailand, Guam, Saipan, U.S. Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, India, and San Marino.
By comparison, here is a sample of some of their rates for Premier subscribers: Canada-$0.014/min; China-$0.025/min; Mexico-$0.07/min; UK-$0.03/min. Ooma offers a separate international plan that includes calls to 61 countries, either one thousand minutes for $9.99/mo or unlimited minutes for $17.99/mo. Certain international mobile phone providers are included in the Ooma World plan, but some are not and are billed per minute.
Vonage offers a number of do-it-yourself tools to troubleshoot the most common problems. They have chat support from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm Eastern Time seven days a week and 24/7 phone support.'
Ooma chat support 24/7 and phone support from 9 am to 9 pm Eastern M-F and 12 Noon to 9 pm on weekends.
Although Vonage World is their most popular plan, Vonage offers other residential plans as well. They offer plans with 400, 800 or unlimited minutes per month to the U.S. And Canada for $12.99, $21.99, and $26.99, respectively. There are also other World plans that expand the number of countries you can call for free, which are Vonage World Plus, which adds 250 minutes to international cell phones in 250 countries for $29.99/mo, Vonage World Mexico Sin Limits which adds free international calls to Mexico and Puerto Rico for $39.99, and Vonage 4000 to Globe Philippines, a partnership with a telecommunications company, that include 3000 minutes every month to Globe subscribers.
Ooma also offers alternative plans. You can get 1000 international minutes for $9.99 per month, or unlimited international minutes for $17.99 per month. You can also get the Ooma Basic package, which only offers one phone line and cuts down on many of the features, but you still get unlimited minutes, and you only pay taxes monthly, and otherwise your cost is zero per month.
Vonage and Ooma have different approaches to how they provider their service and how they bill. Ooma emphasizes expensive hardware, like the Telo, the HD2 handset, and the Bluetooth and Wireless adapters. Once you buy the hardware, you can get more features out of them. Ooma Premier has lower ongoing costs, but fewer features without the purchase of extra hardware, and does not include international calls. Vonage may be more per month, but offers greater flexibility and extra features, whether for a premium or included in the plan. Obviously, the Vonage World has better international rates, and is well-suited for anyone that wants to stay in touch with loved ones around the world. Ooma Premier is a better fit for someone who wants to talk with friends and family in the U.S.