Basic Talk vs Vonage vs Ooma: Home Phone Services Compared

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Basic Talk is the cheapest overall since it has no equipment cost and no extra fees. Vonage is ideal for those who need to make a lot of calls overseas with many countries covered in their International Plan. Ooma has a high initial equipment cost, but a

Due to the advent of smart phones, getting a home phone service is now cheaper than ever, not to mention full of an increasing number of extra features. It’s all to try to convince people to still get a home phone line and not just go smart phone only. Here are a few different home phone services, as well as how they compare when looked at side by side.

Basic Talk

This service lets you use something called a BasicTalk Box which uses your Internet connection to make phone calls. The Box is free if you order online. There’s also no contract required.

You can call them at 1-877-831-8761.

Features

  • “Unlimited” Calling Nationwide-The basic plan lets you make unlimited calls anywhere in the country, though this is based on normal residential use, and not for businesses. So this means it’s not actually unlimited technically.
  • Refer a Friend Program-This gives you a free $10 gift card if you get someone else to sign up for the service.
  • Easy Activation on Main Page-You don’t have to hunt around the main page to activate the account once you have the box, since there’s an “Activate Now” button right on the main page that will get you up and running quickly.
  • Live Chat-The chat option is also prominently displayed on the main which is nice if you have questions. All you have to do is add in your name and whether you have the service already and you can then click to start a chat right away.
  • Free Phone Number Porting-You can use the phone number you already have and Basic Talk will move it over for you.
  • Free and Easy Initial Setup-Order online and the conversion box comes in the mail to you for free. Most customers say that the set up process is pretty easy as long as the box works.
  • No Contracts and No Bait and Switch-You don’t have to commit to a year or two years, and the rate stays the same throughout instead of randomly changing halfway through like with other companies.

Vonage

This service also requires you to already have high speed Internet in order to work, but Vonage gives you a wider number of countries for coverage under an unlimited plan. You can call them for orders at 1-800-975-0570.

Features

  • Call U.S. and Canada-The basic plan lets you call the U.S. and Canada as well as Puerto Rico at the “unlimited” amount which again means an amount the company deems reasonable for personal use.
  • Free Shipping-You can get the equipment shipped for free if you take the 1 year contract plan.
  • Local Stores-Vonage has brick and mortar stores where you can go to get support if you need it or if you want to buy the equipment locally so you don’t need to get it shipped.
  • Call U.S. and 60 Countries-The Unlimited World plan lets you call 60 countries over landlines, and 10 over mobile.
  • Live Chat-Vonage also has a Live chat option available right from their main page.
  • Toll Free Plan-One interesting feature Vonage has is the ability to pay $5 per month to make it free for other people to call you under an 877 toll-free area code even as a personal line.

Ooma

Ooma has a high initial equipment fee, but the rates are fairly low after that.

Features

  • Audio Demonstrations-One unique feature is that you can play a sound clip demonstration of what Ooma sounds like compared to competitors, though this is likely biased.
  • Speed Test-You can test your Internet speed right on the site to tell you whether you have enough speed for Ooma to work out for you.
  • 30 Day Return Policy-You can return the equipment up to 30 days for any reason you want.
  • Government Level Encryption-According to the site, Ooma uses encryption that makes it more secure than an old standard landline phone. The encryption is supposedly at a level governments use.
  • HD Voice-One common criticism of phone service that uses the Internet is that voice quality can suffer. But Ooma claims that the HD voice feature they have gives twice the speech information when compared to traditional phone calls in order to keep the sound quality high, though this does require the use of Ooma headsets.
  • Instant Second Line-You can actually make or receive a second call at the same time with the Premiere service.

Head to Head

Price

Basic Talk costs around $10 a month, not counting taxes. If you buy the BasicTalk Box online, there’s no extra charge for it.

Vonage has an initial $10 a month plan for calling 60 countries as well as the U.S., but it only lasts for 12 months. Or, you can get $24.99 per month for the basic plan without a contract. There are a number of other plans like the 800 minutes plan for $22 per month and the 400 minutes plan for $13 per month. The world plan costs $28 per month. The box for Vonage is going to cost around $40.

Ooma requires you to purchase a converter box. They offer several systems to purchase that range in price from $49.99 to $149.98. Porting your old number over is also going to cost you a few dozen dollars as well.

After making the one time purchase on Ooma, the basic service for calling is free besides taxes and other fees. The rate for premiere service is $10 per month. This means that if you don’t mind the huge one-time fee, you can get better service for cheaper through Ooma.

Features

Some customers complain a bit about customer service on Basic Talk, but most also say the setup is extremely easy if you do it all yourself.

Vonage is known for having good customer service in particular. They also have the live chat option. One downside is that they have the extra fee for activation, though some plans waive this.

The live chat option on Ooma is a bit tricky to find since you either have to wait for it to pop up, or you need to look through the Support section of the site. You also have the option to have an Ooma salesperson call you if that’s what you want.

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