This is an update of a deal I posted last year.
I haven't used a landline for as long as I can remember. It's probably been five or six years since I switched to voice-over-IP service, and although there have been bumps along the way (anyone remember SunRocket?), I can't complain about the thousands (!) of dollars I've saved.
If you're ready to do likewise, I highly recommend the Ooma Telo. This sexy black box plugs into your router and provides unlimited local- and long-distance calling.
It normally sells for $199.99, but for a limited time, OfficeMax has the Ooma Telo home phone system for $109.99 shipped. That's after applying coupon code BIGDEALS (case-sensitive!) at checkout.
That's the lowest price I've ever seen, but there is one small catch: you'll pay $159.99 today, then get $50 back via mail-in rebate (PDF). (That rebate comes in the form of a $50 credit on whatever card you use to set up your Ooma service.)
Update: OfficeMax is currently "temporarily out of stock," but keep checking. Hopefully they'll free up some additional inventory. if not, well, see below. You might be better off with another product anyway.
Once you buy the hardware, you're looking at practically free phone service -- forever. Your only bill will be for taxes and fees, which in my area come to around $3.50 per month.
One thing to keep in mind is that the Ooma Telo affords fairly basic phone features: caller ID, voice mail, and so on. If you want extras like a second line, three-way calling, call forwarding (in the event of an Internet outage), and greatly enhanced voice mail, you'll need Ooma Premier, which runs $9.99 per month. Also, porting your existing number costs $39.99 -- unless you prepay for a year of Premier ($119.99), in which case it's free.
So, yeah, Ooma does nickel-and-dime you a bit, but most of the extras are optional. And even without them, you can use the Telo with your existing phone system, no additional hardware required.
But how's the quality? I've been an Ooma user for nearly two years, and for the most part the service is excellent. Even with the Telo installed behind my router (rather than in between it and my cable modem, the recommended setup), call quality seemed much better than I got from Vonage. But I definitely don't recommend Ooma's Telo Handsets; they're terrible.
This Telo is new, not refurbished, so it comes with a one-year warranty.
Now, I must point out that you can get similar products for even less. The MagicJack Plus and NetTalk Duo offer similar basic-phone features, with a buy-in price of around $70 (which includes your first year of phone service). Each additional year costs $30. Cheap, yes, but Ooma is cheaper over the long haul (unless you go Premier).
Update: Once again it's been shown that I suck at math. When you consider the monthly taxes and fees assessed by Ooma, you are indeed getting a better deal from MagicJack and NetTalk.
Bonus deal: Looking for a big TV? I'm seeing some pretty impressive price drops of late, including this one: TigerDirect has the Haier L55B2181 55-inch LCD HDTV for $699 shipped. It's a 120Hz model, but with only three HDMI inputs and no LED backlighting. Plus, I couldn't find a single review of the product. On the other hand, it's half the price of other 55-inch TVs. Worth a gamble?
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