Ooma provides free phone calls over broadband
by Jan Harris
July 19, 2007
Ooma Inc has developed a device which provides free, unlimited phone calls over a broadband connection, using a standard home phone.
Ooma also provides a free second line, conference calling, voice mail service and an online area when voice mails can be received in an e-mail format.
The company is selling the devices in the US on an invitation-only basis at the moment.
With the help of $27m venture capital funding, Ooma hopes to market the device to the home and small business sector. The company is currently developing a system which forwards calls to mobile phones.
The only cost involved for consumers is the initial purchase of the equipment.
The Hub, a compact device which plugs into a broadband connection and primary phone costs $399, while ‘Ooma Scouts’, which connect to active phone extensions, cost $39 each. There are no further charges by Ooma.
A user simply places a call in the normal way and can access voice mail by pushing a button on the hub. Domestic calls are free and the fee for international calls can be paid with a credit card online.
The technology use a call-routing algorithm called “distributed termination”. While traditional phone switches connect calls through the public switched telephone network, Ooma uses the Internet and P2P technology to connect calls for free.
The system is designed to bypass fees that most telephone providers pay to connect calls to landlines and cell phones.
Ooma customers who maintain their landlines help enlarge the network by contributing their connections to a local calling area. This means that another Ooma customer can use it to complete a call.
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