Ooma and magicJack are two of the biggest names in the residential calling and Voice over Internet (VoIP) industries. Both Ooma and magicJack have become prominent in the residential VoIP market and are frequently being compared to each other because of their ease of use, availability, and affordability. Read on and find out how these two leading VoIP service providers stack up when compared head to head.
Should I Choose Ooma or magicJack?
Both Ooma and magicJack offer VoIP services that are convenient and cost-efficient. But is there an advantage of one service over the other?
magicJack is a USB device that uses your phone, itself, and software on a computer. Ooma, on the other hand, is a VoIP gateway device that connects the router and/or modem and a regular telephone. To help users learn more about magicJack and Ooma, we've created a company overview for each of the service provider:
Headquartered in Florida, magicJack owns one of the biggest US wireline-based telecom company in terms of home phone numbers available and certifications. What started as a humble PC add-on (which requires the computer to be “ON” at all times for uninterrupted operations) has now become a leading telecom company that provides its customer base with comprehensive communications solutions, such as MagicJack Plus, MagicApp, MagicJackGo, and magicJack EXPRESS. magicJack also has their own softswitch, session border controller (SBC), softphone, app server, and chip businesses.
Headquartered in California, Ooma is a publicly traded telecommunications company that offers VoIP phones for homes and small businesses. Established in 2004, the company aims to transform the business communication landscape and home phone service through its innovative cloud-based platform that delivers advanced features and connected services that transforms an ordinary phone into a smartphone for the home. Ooma was also one of the pioneers in providing virtual receptionist, business telephony, and official fax support. Aside from cloud-based telephony, Ooma also delivers home security, internet security, and other connected services at a fraction of the cost.
How do these services work?
Both services utilize the power of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) technology in order to route their calls. The required equipment, however, varies slightly between the two services:
After signing up for a magicJack subscription, a required USB device is mailed to your home. Users have two options: (a) connecting via a high-speed modem or (b) connecting via your computer. Option A means you simply plug your Ethernet cord (from your router) into one port, and plug your phone into the other port on the magicJack device, then plug in the power adapter to get started. With Option B, users connect their phone to the magicJack device, then connect the magicJack device to their computer via a USB extension. Installation is simple, and you can start making calls in only a few minutes
Signing up for an Ooma service requires you to purchase an Ooma Telo, the equipment that helps to route your calls via your existing network. Ooma Telo works similarly to an analog adapter in the sense that it plugs directly into your network and analog phone. It further prioritizes voice data and helps to direct broadband traffic to ensure quality calls. It also supports Wi-Fi and Bluetooth accessories.
How much does each of these services cost?
Both Ooma and magicJack insist that they do not charge service fees like other phone service providers. But that is not to say that Ooma or magicJack are services. Both services charge for the hardware.
Ooma charges $99.99 for the device or an upfront payment of $149.98 for their Ooma Telo with WiFi and Bluetooth adapter. In terms of equipment costs and when compared to other services, it is a relatively expensive upfront cost. However, the only other thing that you will pay are taxes and regulatory fees (which costs about $3.98 a month).
Magicjack, on the other hand, costs $59.95 for the Home and “On-the-Go” device that includes a 12-month free service. After the first year of service ends, you can enjoy high quality calls for less than $3 per month if you avail yourself of the auto-renew plan. These prices go for the newer magicJack Plus, too.
What features are included?
Ooma and magicJack features are very similar to those offered by VoIP service providers. Other special features only come with magicJack PLUS or Ooma Premier.
Notably, Ooma becomes more complex with its extra adapters and add-ons to the Ooma Telo. Ooma Premier costs $9.99 per month or $119.99 per year. Ooma Premier has features including enhanced voicemail, a 2nd line, 3-way calling, and the mobile iPhone app.
In general, Ooma has more features than magicJack, but not all of Ooma’s features are free of charge.
How do these services handle international calling?
Like most VoIP service, calling local and long-distance within the country is free. International rates vary, and it still costs money to call other countries with Ooma and magicJack. Rates are usually cheap, however.
For Ooma, international calling rate starts at 1.4 cents per minute. But if you choose the Ooma World Plan, you can make calls over 60 countries for only $17.99 a month plus applicable fees and taxes. You can also avail yourself of the Ooma World Plus that allows international calls in over 70 countries and to mobile phones in over 40 countries for only $25.99 per month.
For magicJack, you have the option to search for the country or region you want to place a call and then buy pre-paid calling credits to make the international call with you magicJack, either from your home or with the magicApp when you are on the go. To learn more about the low-cost international calling credits for magicJack, click here.
Are there any drawbacks?
Reviewers have noted problems with voice quality, especially with magicJack. Ooma uses “HD” voice quality, but some people have an echoing issue. But these could be connection-quality issues; you can check your Internet connection speed with our VoIP Speed Test.
Reviewers have also complained, profusely, about customer service with both magicJack and Ooma. Both service providers have chat support, but apparently, it is very difficult to get problems solved.MagicJack’s big promotion is its free 30-day trial. However, reviewers have complained that the promised “money-back guarantee” is hard to get. It is difficult to find the correct mailing address to return the unit because the magicJack arrives with no packaging information, for example.
magicJack’s big promotion is its free 30-day trial. However, reviewers have complained that the promised “money-back guarantee” is hard to get. It is difficult to find the correct mailing address to return the unit because the magicJack arrives with no packaging information, for example. Both Ooma and magicJack also have reportedly bad issues with porting over numbers.
Ooma, for example, may send an email to let you know you should get another email soon to start the process of porting over your old phone number—and then Ooma will never send the email.
Other reviewers have stated that their Ooma Telo stops working after one year when the warranty expires. Customer service informs them that they can buy a new one at a discount.
Ooma has also had some problems in past years with outages, effectively cutting off all of its users from phone service.
Overall, the claim to cheap service from magicJack is true. You get what you pay for.
Service is cheap from Ooma once you make up the cost of the unit (or any other adapters you decide to purchase).
Straight to the point: Ooma has more features, but the service is several times more expensive. That's why magicJack is the victor in this comparison. Still, it’s worth comparing to other residential VoIP providers.