The average bill for phone, Internet and TV runs more than 150 dollars a month, according to the 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 top rated a phone service called Ooma.
Ken Lipke switched his phone service to Ooma just over a year ago.
"I think it's a no-brainer. I've saved, since I've used it, over 400 dollars," Lipke says.
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 black 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.
In a survey of more than 50 thousand Consumer Reports subscribers, Ooma was the top-rated phone service.
Rosalind Tordesillas with Consumer Reports says, "Our readers who have Ooma service rated it higher than people with any other service, and gave it a top mark for value or what they got for the money."
There is a limit of 5-thousand 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 dollars.
"As for reliability and the quality of the calls, our survey found that Ooma's ratings were on par with traditional service from big companies like AT&T or Verizon," Tordesillas explains.
Ken Lipke says he has no complaints.
"I don't lose calls, drop calls. It's very good quality," said Lipke.
And he pays just under four dollars a month.
If your phone is bundled with TV and Internet service, it's important to check with your provider before buying Ooma. Consumer Reports says dropping a phone line from a telecom bundle might only shave about five dollars a month off your bill. You can find more ways to save on telecom services
Consumer Reports' ratings of bundled services in your area: https://sites.google.com/site/consumerreportstv/.
More ways to save on telecom http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/ telecom0514
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