How I Save My Precious Cell Phone Minutes

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My cell phone provider is Verizon and I’m currently on the cheapest plan available for a family plan (700 minutes). The last few months we really had to crunch the minutes between two phones and one month we even went over by a few minutes. I also accepted a new paralegal position that will eventually allow me to work from home a couple times a week. With the new position, there may be times I need to be on the phone for an extended period of time. I really don’t want to have to keep checking my minutes every months. Also, if I upgrade to the next plan with more minutes, I want to say it’s an additional $20 or so a month. With all this happening at the same time I really thought it might be a good idea to get a home phone. When I say home phone, I don’t actually mean “home phone.” I could pay $20 for a basic Qwest land line that doesn’t even allow me to make free long distance calls, so I wanted to go with a cheap VOIP telephone service. When I say cheap, I mean for under $4 per month!

I use to use the MagicJack, which plugs directly into your computer. However, the phone quality would often be shady and I’d often get complaints from the end user and I’d end up having to call them back on my cell phone anyways.

With MagicJack out of the picture, I searched the Internet and came up with Ooma! I honestly don’t know how I haven’t heard of Ooma before this. I guess they don’t advertise as heavily as MagicJack. Maybe that’s their issue. Anyways, I’m happy I found it!

Here is a picture of what the 2nd version of the Ooma device looks like:








This device is superior to MagicJack and all other VOIP phone services that I’ve ever used! I honestly can’t even tell the difference in call quality from the Ooma device to a traditional land line. I might add that the box looks very sleek and professional. The Ooma Telo has a built in answering machine, but by default I’m going to continue with my land line’s basic answering machine. Main reason why is because I can check for messages directly from any handset vs. having to go upstairs and check the Ooma box. If you want the same setup, you simply have to log into your Ooma account and turn the number of rings up to 30 seconds or more. This way your regular answering machine will pickup after 4 rings. I also had to enable 10-digit dialing in my Ooma account so I don’t have to keep adding a 1 before the area code.

Ooma advises you to plug your Ooma Telo directly into your cable modem, and then your wireless router (if you have one) directly into the Ooma box. Point being, Ooma can handle the Internet traffic, so if you’re busy downloading/uploading things on the Internet, Ooma will automatically adjust the speed to have your phone call take priority over all other Internet traffic. This service is also known as QoS (Quality of Service). However, please note that most routers have a QoS options built right into their settings.

My home network is setup with 1 Gigabit connections all around. All my computers and cable modem support 1 Gigabit wired connection to ensure I can transfer files as fast as possible. Please note, that if you’re in the same situation as me, then you’re going to want to install the Ooma device BEHIND your wireless router instead of BEFORE. The point being, the Ooma box only has a 10/100 mbps ethernet connection. If you do end up doing this, check to see if your wireless router supports QoS. If so, just create a QoS rule for your Ooma device so that when your Ooma is in use, it’ll get the highest priority over all other Internet traffic. This way you can continue to ensure that your phone calls will still be superior. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, have questions, or need help, please ask! I’d be more than willing to help.

Now that I have my Ooma box, I place all phone calls through the Ooma device when I’m at home for the evening. My family knows what time I get home and they’ve gotten use to trying me on the home phone first.

With the Ooma Telo you only have to pay the necessary taxes such as 911 surcharge fees, government tax, etc. Depending on where you live, your price may be different. However, my cost is $3.47 a month to have unlimited phone calls and free long distance! I haven’t had the opportunity to work from home yet since I’ve only been with the company 3 weeks, but it’s going to come in very handy!

Also, on a side note, faxing has been working just fine for me on the Ooma Telo. You just have to dial *99, wait a couple seconds and then type in the fax number.

I was so happy with the Ooma Telo I purchased a unit for my parents who live out in South Carolina! They were using MagicJack for the past year and half. Every time I spoke with them I always heard this clicking sound and the quality was just horrible. I figured it would just be an early Christmas present :-) That is how bad they needed a better quality VOIP service.

Ooma also gives you the option to port your existing number for a fee. This is a one time fee and costs $39.99. I opted for this option when I purchased my parents the Ooma device. Ooma assured me I’d be able to port their MagicJack number over.  However, you need to be careful with this because your current phone provider (in my parents case, MagicJack) may also charge a fee to port your number away from them! This I did not know, and MagicJack charges $30. So in total, I paid $70  to port my parents number to Ooma! That I did not expect! Since I was purchasing this as a gift, I figured it was only necessary. Plus, I didn’t want to make them feel bad so I just paid for it.

Beware when transferring your number away from MagicJack to Ooma:

When I did this for my parents I ran into major problems! To be completely honest, there were problems on both sides. In order to transfer your MagicJack number to Ooma, Ooma requires the name on the MagicJack account and the account number. When you log into your MagicJack account they don’t list your account number anywhere. I just assumed this what your “MagicJack Subscription Name”. I was wrong. You actually need to log onto MagicJack live chat to obtain your account number. I finally submitted the port request and I ran into a problem. I called Ooma and they said MagicJack is requesting a PIN. I had to go back to MagicJack and request my PIN. MagicJack said that my PIN is just my password I use to get into my MagicJack account. For instance, we’ll just say my password was ‘Demo1′. I gave this information to Ooma and asked them to submit the port request again. They came back and said the PIN cannot contain letters and that it would be numbers only. I went back to MagicJack and they assured me again that my PIN is just the password I use to log into my account. I got creative, and all I did was change my MagicJack password to all numbers :-) After I did that, the port went through. The whole process took about 2 weeks with all the hiccups. I hope this will help someone in the future if they’re ever in the same boat as me. Hopefully you read this article first.

i will say this though, the Ooma Telo is not cheap the begin with. I think that’s why so many people fall into MagicJack’s trap because the price is so appealing. MagicJack starts at $39 and goes all the way up to $69 for the new MagicJack. However, the Ooma is $199 at most retailers (however, I did see a refurbished one on a couple weeks ago for only $159). The $200 I spent on the Ooma device at Best Buy was worth every penny. I haven’t had any major issues. Call quality is great and if you do need support, you can actually call a 1-800 number! MagicJack only offers support through a chat service. Half the time you get someone at MagicJack who has no idea what you’re asking and they just tell you to unplug the device, and plug it back in.


  1. Although, you’ve switched your Ooma around with your router(gig ethernet) I really doubt if you can get that kind of bandwidth from your Internet service provider (cable?). Will you still get better performance turned around like you have it? Btw, I could not fax using my Ooma even when using *99. I was dialing 11 digits after the *99 (*9913334445555). Since then I found out I didn’t have 10 digit dialing enabled and I’ve enable it. I doubt if that’s going to work though. Any ideas?

    • *99 is still working for me. Don’t put the country code in (11 digits) just do *99 555-555-5555. I’m still loving Ooma over a year of having it! No issues whatsoever.

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