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I Was an Ooma White Rabbit for Ten Minutes

I was an Ooma White Rabbit – for a grand total of 10 minutes. There’s a lot of buzz today about the new VOIP service which offers free local and long distance calls. Free, after the purchase of the $399 box, which takes care of routing your calls and a lot more.

The company seems to have pulled off a PC Coup, listing Ashton Kutcher (yes, *that* one) as their Creative Director. They are in pre-release test mode, and intend to seed their network by giving away 1,500-2,000 units throughout the country. I signed up via Om Malik’s free offer, and within minutes was confirmed as a White Rabbit, i.e. “one of the chosen few who will help us change the game of phone service forever.

I started to develop suspicions during the online registration: there were several questions only a true POTS user could answer, and I haven’t used a local phone company for years. I’m on Vonage, but Ooma is being heralded as the Vonage killer (not that they need one), so I should be OK, I guess (?). Nope. After completing registration, I called customer service, and was confirmed that at this stage they need a good old traditional phone-line. Now, if you read the comments on all the blogs welcoming the new service, it becomes obvious that this new service needs early adopters, the experimental types, who are likely already VOIP customers.

Ooma says around September when they roll out the service they will no longer have the local phone company requirement. I guess that puts an end to my White Rabbit status – although if Ooma still sends me the box, I will give it a try…

Update: Perception Matters.

Related posts: TechCrunch, dslreports.com, CrunchGear, VentureBeat, MobileCrunch, IP Telephony, VoIP, Broadband , Podcasting News, VoIP & Gadgets Blog, Engadget, IP Democracy, Alec Saunders .LOG, Mark Evans, robhyndman.com and VoIP Watch

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Comments

  1. Hi Zoli;

    Same case here too. I am an abandoned SunRocket user, and a WhiteRabbit ;) I still went in and signed up, letting Support know that I DO-NOT have a landline.
    Hoping to ‘start’ using the Ooma box in September.

    Did you finish signing up at WhiteRabbit@Ooma? I can still log in though, but not sure what use the box will be once it is delivered!

    -Ravneet

  2. Michael Steverson says:

    Zoli:

    I’m like Ravneet.
    I am also a White Rabbit.

    I have been informed that the present box can be swapped out in September for a landless line box.
    Still, I’m like you. No POTS lines coming into my house.
    Presently, I’m on Brighthouse Networks digital phone.
    So, if they still send me the box, I’ll see if it works. If not, I’ll hold onto it till Sept then swap it.

    According to their Welcome e-mail, I’m supposed to be looking out for a DHL truck.
    We’ll see……..

    Michael

  3. Hey Mike!
    I think they wont ship the box until, you finish all the questions related to the POTS line in the sign-up wizard. They call it as LEC information.
    This is what I heard from the Support people in there.

    -Ravneet

  4. I wouldn’t be surprised if a large percent (most?) of the “White Rabbits” turned out to be in the same shoes. After all, who is likely to jump on this? The tech-savvy readers who likely have switched to VOIP already.

  5. Exactly! What were they thinking! GrandMa’s signing up to be WhiteRabbits!

  6. Michael Steverson says:

    Ravneet:
    I did submit the info regarding my phone line, but I listed it as a Brighthouse Networks phone. I still got the Welcome e-mail and such. So, we’ll see if someone calls me as per their e-mail.

    Zoli: I think we’re onto something here. Possibly, they did not think this completely thru before launch.
    As a former employee (Product and Systems Development)of a VoIP company, what sounds good around the conference table does not always work out in the “real world”.

    Regards

  7. Hm… GrandRabbits sounds kinda cool ROFL 10

  8. Michael Steverson says:

    Ravneet and Zoli:
    Funny you should mention that:

    http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Ooma

    Michael

  9. Wow, I had no clue…

  10. Michael Steverson says:

    You’d think they’d have looked it up first.
    Back to what I said about what sounds good around the conference table…..

    Michael

  11. Anyone know Alex’s email at Ooma? I need to make sure that someone sends me the device, eventhough I am not on landline as of now :)

  12. Michael Steverson says:

    Haven’t seen it listed on their site, but why not try all of th following?

    alex@ooma.com
    alex.g@ooma.com
    alexgueravich@ooma.com,

    Etc, etc.
    One of them is bound it hit.

    Michael

  13. Actually none of them would have hit ;)
    I got a email from him, confirming they cannot ship the unit until I provide a valid landline phone number.

  14. Hi,
    If anyone has any codes left, could ypu invite me@
    miquonranger03@gmail.com
    Thanks anyway…

  15. Ravneet, Michael,

    Have you received your Ooma boxes? I haven’t. Not that I expected it, Ooma clearly needs to seed the system with users who have landline access.

  16. Michael says:

    Zoli:
    I have confirmation that my box is on the way via DHL.
    Should be here by the 31st, they say.

    I had reaffirmed to them that I did not have a landline.
    They said that the land-less line version of the box is nothing more than a backend reconfiguration on this box.
    I had assumed as much. Being a former exec in a VoIP company, reconfiguring a client’s box was normally nothing more than some server adjustments and a TFTP software upgrade client’s box.

    I’ll let you know how the “unbox” goes.

    Michael

  17. For my case, Ooma provisioning dept. is waiting on my landline details (which I DONT HAVE!) before they ship the unit.
    Mike; How did you get yours shipped without giving the landline details?

    Ravneet

  18. Michael says:

    Ravneet:
    I’ve been having a running dialog (via e-mail) with Ryan in Provisioning.
    I re-affirmed to him thrice that I had a digital phone, not landline. Plus, reminded him of the September swap out of the boxes for land-less line models.
    After check with Alex, he was told that the box had shipped and that Alex would get in touch with me to go over the differences in functionality, but that I can use the box. My assumption is that the main difference is no 911.
    Michael

  19. Yeah I had a mail from Ryan too. Sending them one more now ;)

  20. I hate to ask again, but can anyone invite me in? I should have gotten one through InviteShare, since I was 10th on the list, but Michael Arrington’s making people promise to each give at least one didn’t work. Can anyone please invite me? My email is at miquonranger03@gmail.com. Thanks anyway…I feel really out of the loop.

  21. Michael says:

    Zoli

    Just wanted to drop you a quick note that I just received my Ooma device.

    The DHL man just dropped it off, earlier than I had been advised by Ooma.
    I have posted the “unboxing” pics on my Ooma blog.
    I’ll be testing the service and device out over the weekend and will send you my opinions, if you wish.

    http://whatisooma.blogspot.com/

    Kind regards,

    Michael Steverson

  22. Hi guys,

    Can you please forward me an Ooma invite when you have one to spare. My email addr is manjax@gmail.com

    Thanks in advance,
    -Manjax

  23. I would love an invite if anyone can provide, I have a landline
    drf5000@gmail.com
    Dale

  24. I have a landline, and would love to try Ooma. Reminds me of someone by that name I once had a crush on :-) If you have a spare invite, please send to: fox_nbilhm@trashmail.net (sorry, need to use spam-resistant email)

    Thanks,

    – Jeff

  25. Summit Roy says:

    Hi there, I have a landline and would love to try Ooma in case anyone has a spare invite. thanks, Summit

  26. Hello, Put my name in the hat for a white rabbit token if any are around. I have a landline and would like to give it a try.
    Thanks bobtermcc@earthlink.net

  27. I’m interested in getting an invite to Ooma White Rabbit and I also have a landline. Can someone send me an invite or who I need to contact to get an invite.

    Thanks

    Contact me at bws_ct@hotmail.com

  28. I would like a white rabbit token I think this looks very interesting. When compared to the TOTAL bills offered by other Voip companies this price point looks attractive. Lets not forget about all of the fees the other providers add on to their 24.95 per month.

  29. I received a white rabbit invite – and I received the box in the mail even though I hadn’t filled out all the info on the POTS thing. Well before I could get it up and running I had moved to an apartment with DSL (only thing available) so we had a normal line.

    In the process of having them change the number on the account – the person at customer support offered to make it a non landline device and it would take about 3 days. So I said sure – now it is just like a normal vonage box – without the monthly fee – and it goes out over the internet… Best of all it doesn’t answer the calls on the normal POTS line – which is fine because we have no intention of giving out that number.

    I used one of the invites – but I have 2 others – the guy at customer support suggested I sell them.

  30. APril 13th All Day without out a phone so far no help from ooma…

    To Whom it may concern,

    My service has not been working all day. I am unable to call , your customer service is completely down, I am totally alone here. At least with Comcast they answer their phones when a problem shall arise. My internet is working and I can’t even e-mail you, your e-mail is down and It won’t let me log in either. Is this the kind of support Ooma has? I would like an explanation by phone or e-mail, anything.

  31. OoMA Sucks dont buy it get a trac & Magic Jack way better …

    Ooma has the no support after you buy their box your on your own.

Trackbacks

  1. Why Ooma is a security risk…

    I think Ooma will not work, especially in the USA where people are so afraid of terrorists. Would you borrow your phone to Al Qaeda for their next announcement? No? But you might be doing it with Ooma, without even notice. Out of the same reason Jeff…..

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