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Comparing VoIP services: Ooma vs. magicJack

It’s a fast-paced world, and though technology has made great strides in keeping us connected, this digital interconnectedness sometimes comes at a cost. For example, it is increasingly challenging to keep personal and professional lives separate, and you’re often expected to answer your work phone while attending your kid’s soccer game on a Saturday afternoon. On the other hand, technology also allows for better balancing of personal and professional responsibilities — you can host a work conference call from your home office and then immediately spend time with your children without ever having to commute back and forth from the office.

While life can get hectic, there is no shortage of products that promise to not only make your life easier but also bolster your productivity by seamlessly keeping you in touch with colleagues and your family no matter where you are.

One of the most popular, effective, affordable and flexible tools that can help keep you on the same page with all your most important contacts is VoIP phone service.

personal and work keep in touch VoIP

An Overview of VoIP

VoIP stands for voice over Internet protocol (also referred to as voice over IP, IP telephony or Internet telephony). To explain it simply, VoIP is an Internet-based phone service. This means that instead of having your phone calls delivered through landlines or cell towers, VoIP technology works behind the scenes to deliver the phone call audio via the Internet.

In many ways, the experience of using a VoIP telephone system is the same as using a landline or a cell phone. When you’re using VoIP technology, you can set up a home phone that’s just like using a landline, and you can put a VoIP app on your cell phone so the calls are routed over Wi-Fi or a data connection, saving you from using minutes on your phone plan.

Like traditional phone services, VoIP services have a variety of features, ranging from voicemail to fax, caller ID and call waiting. Additionally, VoIP technology offers more than just phone service. Many VoIP services also come equipped with instant messaging, web and video conferencing, and the ability to transfer calls from desk phones to smartphones.

When selecting a VoIP service, you typically have three choices: computer to computer, ATA or IP phone. It’s best to first assess your needs and compare each choice, because they all have their advantages and disadvantages. It ultimately comes down to your budget and the features that best suit your specific needs.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, you probably want to know which is the best VoIP service out there.

Ooma and magicJack are two popular solutions for residential and business VoIP communications. While magicJack’s low costs often catch people’s attention, Ooma’s high-quality and affordable service has revolutionized the industry.

How Ooma Compares to the Competition

To help make your decision easier, let’s compare the pricing, features, contract terms, service reliability and customer service provided by each of these VoIP services.

Ooma vs. magicJack – Plans and Costs

Regardless of whether you need VoIP for work or to keep in touch with family, or both, the cost likely plays a large role in your decision making. While MagicJack may entice customers with cheaper costs, Ooma is an affordable solution with options for free phone calls after purchasing the equipment.

With magicJack, your costs could be up to $60 per year. Using Ooma’s standard service is completely free for all calls to U.S.-based phone numbers. Ooma also offers an option to upgrade to Premier Service for $9.99 per month to get access to additional services.

The biggest up-front cost you’ll need with Ooma is the purchase of hardware like the Ooma Telo, which retails for $100 and can sometimes be found for even less. This device works with your existing phones — up to four, to be precise — and also connects to the Ooma HD2 handset that allows you to make crystal-clear calls hands-free.

Both Ooma and magicJack have free activation and international dialing rates that are significantly cheaper than the rates available through traditional phone service providers.

Ooma vs. magicJack – Features

After reviewing the pricing differences, you also want to go over the features that each VoIP service provides. Ooma’s basics, such as voicemail, caller ID and its reliable 911 services, are free. Ooma also allows you to have a virtual second line so two different people in your home or office can make calls at the exact same time. The Premier plan comes with additional features like three-way calling, voicemail forwarding and transferring your existing number. Ooma also has a mobile app for Apple and Android users so you can receive calls and messages when you’re on the go.

Unlike its competitors, Ooma has additional features, like the power to block telemarketers and robocalls or connect to many smart-home products and services. These integrations provide customers added security and convenience, and they make the Ooma Telo a hub of the smart home. In fact, with Ooma you can initiate phone calls through Amazon’s Alexa, receive notifications on your mobile phone when your Nest Protect smoke alarm is triggered and be able to dial your local 911 dispatcher even if you’re not at home. In addition, you can customize incoming calls with colored visual alerts, such as green for known callers and red for unknown callers, by syncing Ooma Telo with LIFX light bulbs.

Furthermore, Ooma offers an advanced voice compression algorithm that reduces bandwidth consumption by 60% over standard VoIP technology. For business owners, Ooma provides a virtual receptionist, extension dialing, conferencing, music on hold, virtual fax and the ability to support up to 20 users.

No wonder Ooma has been ranked the #1 phone service for five years in a row and was selected as the top VoIP service for small business owners by the readers of PC Mag.

magicJack also comes equipped with a number of popular features, like being able to receive home calls on your smartphone, voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding and the ability to make conference calls. But overall, magicJack is more of a bare-bones solution.

Ooma vs. magicJack – Service and Quality

magicJack’s low service cost and low up-front costs are certainly noteworthy, but there have been many complaints about the service on Consumer Affairs, where the company ranks less than two stars from more than 800 reviews. PCMag only gave magicJack two stars and specifically cited the poor customer support, ugly application interface and excessive up-selling. It said: “Other [VoIP] products do it much better and provide better technical support and documentation.”

For business VoIP services, PCMag ranked Ooma the top service provider and ranked MagicJack fifth. Again, magicJack’s poor tech support with a chat-only interface and no phone support was a big drawback to the service.

Reviewers have been nothing but impressed with Ooma’s quality, cost and customer service. In fact, PCMag.com named it, along with the Ooma Telo interface, an Editors’ Choice. PCMag’s Michael Muchmore went on to say, “Ooma is distinguished by super-easy setup, a spiffy tabletop adapter with a speaker, a user-friendly Web interface, clear voice quality and low cost — just about everything you’d want from an Internet-based landline replacement service.”

G.E. Miller of 20SomethingFinance.com, who has been using Ooma for seven years, boasts, “I have not had to call Ooma customer service for anything. Ever. The setup is easy, the hardware has worked beautifully and the acoustics are incredibly clear. There was one time over the last year that service was down (for an hour or so), and Ooma was very respondent and transparent about what caused the problem and how they were going to fix it. I have zero complaints.”

If there are any questions or concerns, Ooma is one of the select few that provide 24/7 chat support and phone support from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from noon to 9 p.m. on weekends.

Additionally, customers who have reviewed Ooma have found the customer service to be helpful and typically efficient at resolving any issues quickly and painlessly. Personnel also keep customers informed when there are any disruptions.


While both Ooma and magicJack provide low-cost VoIP phone service, MagicJack’s service is both low-cost and low-quality. As CNET stated, the service is a “trade-off between price and reliability.” Comparatively, Ooma may require you to purchase hardware up-front, such as the Telo, the HD2 handset and Bluetooth or wireless adapters, but Ooma provides high-quality service that is consistent, reliable and flexible. In the end, Ooma is a better value for its VoIP services.


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Ken Narita

Ken Narita’s marketing career spans two decades helping businesses large and small grow. Whether it’s been advising emerging startups, guiding clients from the agency side, or currently, leading SMB marketing at Ooma, Ken has always taken an empathetic approach to addressing goals, gaps, and opportunities. Previously at TriNet, from 2011 to 2017, he grew and led the revenue marketing team through a period of rapid change and growth where net service revenue consistently grew in a range of 15-20% per year and reached $650 million at the end of his tenure. Ken has led demand generation, field marketing, customer marketing, and marketing operations teams and enjoys the ability to integrate campaigns across all functions to drive results.


  1. November 21, 2017    


  2. Jeff
    December 19, 2017    

    presently a MJ customer what about porting the phone Number over?
    You buy the ooma hardware no monthly fee what about a fee for porting and keeping my existing phone number?

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