Ooma Intros Bizarre Phone-Sharing Service

Jul 19th, 2007 | By | Category: Podcasting Hardware, Podcasting Software, Strange


A new voice-over-IP (VoIP) startup, Ooma, has launched that hopes to stir up the phone industry by combining Internet phone calls with peer-to-peer phone line sharing. It connects to your local phone line and to your broadband Internet, routing your long-distance calls over the Internet.

The service also uses your phone line and the phone lines of other Ooma users to route calls out from the Internet to the plain old telephone system. By turning your phone line into an access point that anybody can use, Ooma saves the cost of building out a large network.

“An ambitious and long awaited new consumer VOIP startup – Ooma – launches on Thursday morning,” writes Mike Arrington in a gushy take on the new gear at TechCrunch: “Much like Vonage and the ill-fated SunRocket, Ooma allows consumers to use their normal phones to make and receive telephone calls, but at drastically reduced prices.”

VoIP is an important technology to follow for podcasters, because it offers a cheap or free way to do interviews with people anywhere in the world. However, at $400, Ooma looks more like an expensive way to share your phone line with strangers than a useful tool.

Update: Uncov has an interesting angle on the TechCrunch/GigaOm/VentureBeat CrunchJuice lovefest for Ooma.

6 Responses to “Ooma Intros Bizarre Phone-Sharing Service”

  1. Jamelia says:

    If you’re sharing your phone line with strangers, what’s to keep them from recording your phone calls…or you from recording their phone calls?

    The whole thing seems like a spectacularly bad idea. Why are so many tech sites drooling over Ooma?

  2. n8well says:

    there’s no monthly charge. you buy the box and you get free calling for life. that’s what the P2P architecture gets you.

  3. Why Ooma is a security risk…

    I think Ooma will not work, especially in the USA where people are so afraid of terrorists. Would you borrow your phone to Al Qaeda for their next announcement? No? But you might be doing it with Ooma, without even notice. Out of the same reason Jeff…..

  4. Kush says:

    $400 is not expensive if the service works.
    Remember, this is only a one time fee. And then lifetime (of the device and the company 😉 of free service!

  5. Study Guide says:

    Thinking outside of the box. Very interesting, they better have a good marketing campaign though. I don’t think the idea is easy to melt…

  6. Mike P says:

    Jamelia asks: “Why are so many tech sites drooling over Ooma?” I believe that any site that drolls over this, is technically unqualified to be publishing opinions. OOMA has so many obvious technical (and operational) problems that I would pass it off as an April Fool’s joke, if only it were April.

    n8well notes that “there‚Äôs no monthly charge. you buy the box and you get free calling for life”. Sorry, but the OOMA web site itself says that “free” is only promised for 3 years. I think “life” really means the life of OOMA, which I predict is less than 3 years.

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