The latest VoIP start-up is ooma, and its launch comes at a very interesting time. With the high profile demise of SunRocket, you would think the last thing a VoIP start-up wants to do is make a splash now. That is, unless you are ooma. They do have a slightly different approach, including a one time fee of $399 for unlimited domestic long distance calling, with no additional monthly fees.
Perhaps ooma’s greatest departure from traditional VoIP competitors is that they don’t necessarily suggest they are a replacement for traditional landline service. Ooma’s peer-to-peer networking technology actually relies on traditional landlines to connect local calls. There service also integrates and augments a traditional landline. For example, 911 calls placed over the ooma device automatically route over the traditional landline. Customers also don’t need a new telephone number for ooma – they can use their existing number. Will these new twists on VoIP provide sustainability for ooma? Who knows. Companies like ooma say they want to revolutionize phone service. Ooma says they want to do to phone service what TiVo did to television viewing. Interesting analogy, especially since TiVo founder Mike Ramsay sits on their board. The real question is, do everyday consumers think traditional landline phone service needs to be revolutionized? Maybe. Or maybe they think wireless service already did that.