Consumer Reports: Cheap phone service
The average bill for phone, Internet and TV runs more than $150 a month, according to market research firm, the Mintel Group. One way to trim your costs is to cut the cord and switch to a phone service that delivers calls via the Internet. Consumer Reports recommends a phone service called Ooma.
Ooma is a device that connects to your Internet service on one end and your regular phone on the other. There's a one-time cost of about $150 dollars for the Ooma box and then the savings begin.
Local and domestic long distance calls are free. You pay just a few dollars per month in taxes. International calls are extra, but the rates are also very low. There is a limit of 5,000 minutes of calls per month. And if you want to keep your home phone number, you have to pay an additional one-time fee of $40.
In a survey of more than 50,000 Consumer Reports subscribers, Ooma was the
top-rated phone service. Those with Ooma rated it higher than people with any other service, and gave it top marks for value, what they got for the money. As for reliability and the quality of the calls, the survey found that Ooma was on par with traditional service from big companies like AT&T or Verizon.
If your phone is bundled with TV and Internet service, Consumer Reports says it's important to check with your provider before buying Ooma. Dropping a phone line from a telecom bundle might only shave about five dollars a month off your bill.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website. Subscribe to ConsumerReports.org.