They charge you taxes and fees every month, something like $5 or $6 depending on where you live. You have to give them a credit card number to activate the service and get a phone number assigned. They assign you a phone number immediately, but you get to pick the area code. Then for about $40 you can port an existing number, which takes a few days. If you pay them an additional $120 plus tax per year, they don’t charge the $40 porting fee, you can keep both your ported number and the original number they assigned to you, and you get a bunch of other features like deciding what calls to block and forwarding calls to other phones like your cellphone. Those features seem to give you more flexibility than phone service from the local phone company or cable company. I got one of these for my mother 2-1/2 years ago, and I pay the $120 + tax per year (plus the $5 or $6 per month). I have set the call blocking feature to send all calls from numbers that are not in her contacts to voicemail. That way she does not get calls telling her her grandson is in jail somewhere in the Caribbean and she needs to send money to get him out. We monitor her voicemail and add any numbers to contacts if she gets a call from a friend whose number is not in there. We also add any numbers from solicitation calls to a blocked number list, at which point they don’t even go to voicemail — they just hear a recording that says they have been blocked. Ooma sends an email for every voicemail, and you can just click on the attachment and listen to the voicemail right then and there. I just bought another one for our vacation house. Now I can take it back and forth so I always have that phone with me. You just have to plug it into a laptop to connect it to your local Wi-Fi (or plug it in if you are not connecting wirelessly). Also by the way, you do not have to buy their phone. You can just buy an Ooma device and plug in any phone. Bear in mind that there are two versions of it, one which needs to be plugged in to the Internet, and one which can connect wirelessly and is a little bit more expensive. If your Internet goes down, you have to unplug the Ooma (from electricity) and replug it in to recycle. It flashes blue if it is working and red if it is not working, so it’s very obvious. Also, there is an app you can put in your cell phone that tells you whether it is working and lets you add contacts, listen to voicemail and set blocking levels.