Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ooma, Free VOIP Phone Service: Part 2

Today I'll talk about the process of porting my existing phone number with Ooma. It took just about 5 weeks for my port to complete from the time I initiated the request. That was longer than I had expected. And I expect it would have taken longer if I had not contacted customer service. Here's my story:

Porting My Existing Phone Number With Ooma

In theory, porting your phone number should be a rather simple process, and for many it is. Check Amazon.com for reviews. For some reason, I had some issues. I couldn't get any customer rep to explain why either. I suspect this was because of the language barrier.

Porting can be done online, once you sign on to your "My Ooma" account. You simply fill in some information about you phone company that you currently have and make sure Ooma has your correct address. Because a customer rep had inputted my address incorrectly during the setup process, I had to stop here and try to change my address via "My Ooma." For some reason, each time I made the change, it didn't show up on my account. So, I called customer service. They manually changed my address so I could proceed with the port request.

At one point in the request, I was asked to check a box saying that my DSL internet was not associated with my phone line. This is something Ooma requires, I think, so that they are not held responsible for complications that could arise from this. Well, my DSL and my phone number are on the same line. So, I chatted with a Qwest customer service rep and asked them how porting works from their end. I asked them if I would need to separate my lines and get "dry loop" internet before the port. The rep told me I did not need to separate the lines, and that Qwest would separate the lines on the day of the port. So, I went ahead and checked the box that said my DSL and phone line were not associated... even though they were.

After submitting my online request for a port, I received an email (same day) from Ooma with LOA (letter of agreement) attached which I was instructed to fill out and sign and either fax or scan and email back along with a copy of a recent phone bill from my current phone company. No problem. I was just giddy that they didn't require that everything be faxed. Talk about 21 century! I sent back the necessary documentation right away. I received an automated email confirming that they had received my information.

The next morning I received another email from Ooma the same as the first, asking for the LOA and copy of a phone bill. Even though I had already done this, I sent it again, writing that I had already sent this information... and received confirmation. Minutes later I received another automatic confirmation of receipt.

At this point, I got to wait for emails telling me of the status of my port. After one month of not receiving anything, I called customer service. I asked the rep of my status and why I had not heard anything from them. He put me on hold for a while. Once off hold, the rep told me that my port was in process and I should be receiving an email soon. I was skeptical since I had read this before a month ago in one of the confirmation emails. How soon should I expect it? He said within five days.

Later that same day, I received an email from Ooma informing me of the scheduled port date. Coincidence? I doubt it. My port was to happen in two weeks.

Got to say, at this point I wasn't sure how smooth the actual port would go since I'd had all these issues leading up to it. I continued to monitor the status of my port online via "My Ooma" account. As my port date came closer, it was pushed back one day. No biggie.

On the day of the port, I was expecting to have internet issues and phone issues. In the morning, I received phone calls via Qwest with no problem. Early in the day I had to go out of the house for about an hour. I called home with my cell while I was out just to see if I could get though. I could... My Ooma voice mail greeting picked up. That was fast!

So, in the end, I was pleasantly suprised with how well the port went. I experienced no down time to my knowledge (since I wasn't home during the port). But even if it were just an hour, that would have been fine by me. My DSL was working fine too.

Next Post: Distributing the Ooma Dial tone through out my house.

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