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A Gift for Loquacious Entrepreneurs

Got the gift of gab? In love with your landline? Not a problem for this VoIP superstar.

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This story appears in the November 2007 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's sort of a calling card filled with unlimited minutes--but it won't fit in your pocket. Ooma is a very different take on VoIP: Instead of paying monthly, you buy a deskset/answering machine for $399 ($599 starting January 1), which gives you unlimited U.S. phone minutes free for life (at least, the life of the hardware). Like most VoIP systems, Ooma doesn't come with a handset; you use the wireline or non-cellular wireless phones you already own. It helps if you keep your landline service, too, because Ooma has a peer-to-peer architecture that avoids phone tolls by routing calls over the internet from your landline to another landline near the party you're calling. Price and call quality will stay the same if you choose to drop your landline provider, says Ooma co-founder Dennis Peng, but you won't keep your phone number, and 911 calls may be delayed during a power outage.

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