~ We dropped our landline in Nov or Dec 2009.
~ Our cell phones are not reliable in our home. Never have been no matter which provider nor which physical phone. Many friends/family have tried, too.
~ We tried out MagicJack in Sept or Oct 2009 and didn't like it. Several reasons, which I've stated in numerous threads on that topic, but basically 1) Too much static and/or older relatives could not hear us; and 2) My laptop had to become tethered to the phone and always be on (does not work well for my lifestyle). Returned it for a full refund.
~ We purchased an Ooma at Costco in Oct or Nov 2009 (less than $200 out the door). LOVE IT!
Paid once and haven't had to pay a dime since. Has already paid for itself and our landline had been down as low as possible ($22/mo) for over a year (no features at all; just the basic service). People who pay more per month for landline service recoup their costs even faster.
Benefits of Ooma for us:
~ We purposely got a new number and all of our telemarketing and charity calls have STOPPED. NONE now. ZERO!!!!
(We were already on the DO NOT CALL list and renewed every few years. Doesn't stop all unwanted calls.) Ooma doesn't participate in the phone directories anywhere. Our number doesn't show up on any websites of any kind because it isn't public record. I absolutely LOVE this!
* Minor drawback to this was we had to change our phone number with the people we DO want to call us or have the new number. I found this to be a positive, however, because we got to choose who got the new number.
~ We kept our house phone system and it works perfectly with Ooma. Ooma has free voicemail and a bunch of other features, but we like our house phone system and were happy to keep it fully functional. Our DD will be approaching phone usage age soon and this was a factor in our decision in finding a compatible system with our parenting philosophies. Babysitters and houseguests can use the phone as normal and they don't even know it isn't regular AT&T service. 911 calls work just as before (you must enter your address when starting up Ooma) and I manually added our new phone number to our county's reverse 911 call system online (fire and earthquake country here).
~ All calls are free! Local and domestic long-distance calls are completely free. No bill whatsoever any more!
(If you need international, the rates are very reasonable.) The government has decided to charge the communication taxes and such to everyone with any kind of phone, so that will go into effect our second or third year of owning the Ooma. Many other features are free, too. We have more features with our phone service now than we ever did with AT&T landline service. One *can* choose to add fee-based features, also. We haven't.
FWIW - Cordless phones (on a traditional landline) won't work in a power outage, either. The solution for anyone is to keep a basic corded phone in the house and plug it into the phone jack in an emergency (or keep it there all the time). You can still make 911 calls even if you don't have landline service.
The biggest con to Ooma is the upfront cost, which not everyone can afford to pay like that. We were also concerned about the viability and stability of the company, which is why we purchased at Costco. They have an excellent return policy and are known for doing business with reputable companies. We are past the point of recouping our upfront costs and we have had all good experiences with Ooma, even having to call for help (once) or hiccups in their system (twice and they informed US). Excellent customer service.
Just another option to consider....
and no I don't work for Ooma or anything like that....
just a happy customer for life!!!