MagicJack Phone Service

Category: Telephony

Is Magic Jack phone service for real? I've seen commercials for Magic Jack, a device you can plug into your computer for really cheap phone service. It sounds too good to be true... is MagicJack a scam, or does it really work?

What is Magic Jack?

MagicJack is a device that enables phone calls over the Internet. The Magic Jack voip phone service competes with Vonage, Skype, NetTalk and other VOIP (voice over internet) telephone service providers. Magic Jack has been around for more than four years as of this writing. During that time, the Magic Jack product has evolved.

The original MagicJack is a matchbox-sized device that plugs into any USB port on your Internet-enabled computer. A standard RJ-11 phone jack on the MagicJack device accepts the cord of any landline telephone. The device contains all the software and electronics necessary to let you make and receive unlimited calls for just $19.95 per year. Just plug, plug, and talk.

Magic Jack is so simple and so cheap that some people thought it was a scam when it first appeared. But MagicJack has proved to be quite real. A few years ago, after hearing a couple of my friends swear by the gadget, I did some research and found that Magic Jack really does deliver what it promises. With Magic Jack, your get own number with unlimited local and long distance (USA and Canada). You pay just $19.95 per year, and you never get a phone bill. You can even cancel your land line service with the phone company and cut them out of the loop.
MagicJack Phone Service

Over six million units have been purchased since the original MagicJack debuted. But progress requires innovation, and so we now have other Magic Jack products.

MagicJack, Plus!

The fact that your computer had to be turned on in order to make or receive calls irked some users. The new MagicJack PLUS can be plugged into a USB port and used just like the original. But it can also be plugged directly into a network router or an electrical wall socket, eliminating the need for a powered-on computer. As long as the device can get some sort of high-speed Internet connection - wired, wifi or a cellular 4G signal - it will work. So in that sense, Magic Jack is similar to other VOIP services like Vonage or Skype, which allow you to make phone calls over the Internet

You can try Magic Jack for 30 days free of charge; just go to their Web site and order a unit. If you keep it, the original Magic Jack costs $39.95 including service for the first year. The MagicJack PLUS costs $69.95. Annual service renewals are $29.95.

The free MagicJack APP for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch enables these Apple devices to place free calls over 3G, 4G, and WiFi networks. You do not need a voice service plan. Unlike the hardware devices, you don't get a permanent phone number with the MagicJack APP, so you cannot receive calls.

Another issue for many people was phone number portability, or the option to use your existing telephone number with Magic Jack. The company had been promising this feature for several years, and they finally made good in September 2011. If you want to dump your landline provider and still avoid the hassle of changing your phone number, you can bring your existing phone number to MagicJack for a small fee.

Using Magic Jack, you can make free calls to any phones in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the U. S. Virgin Islands, or to any other MagicJack user anywhere on Earth. People who want to call you can reach you at your MagicJack phone number, no matter where you happen to be.

Another benefit is international calling. If you take the Magic Jack with you when you travel, you can call any phone in the US for free. And people can reach YOU by calling a US number. Also, if you have a family member who lives outside the US, and they have a reliable Internet connection, this can be a significant savings on overseas long-distance fees.

MagicJack service also includes free directory assistance, voicemail, call-waiting, caller-ID, and voicemail. You can also forward calls to another number temporarily. MagicJack's voice quality is excellent, by most accounts. Like any VoIP service, MagicJack needs a fair amount of bandwidth; at least 128 Kbps in both directions. Cable, DSL, and other land-based broadband works well with VoIP, but satellite connections are often problematic.

Magic Jack Problems?

Some customers with the original MJ device have complained about intermittent poor sound quality. Some things that are known to cause problems are glitches in your Internet service, network-intensive file sharing services such as Bittorrent, and downloading large files during a phone call. Depending on how beefy your computer is, video, games or other tasks that require lots of memory or processor power can also be problematic, if they are taking place during a call. And of course, if the computer is infested with malware, all bets are off.

Some users have complained they had to restart their computer each morning to get their MagicJack to work. Other have found that using a powered USB hub cured the troubles they were having. The good news is that MagicJack Plus, which does not need to plugged into the computer, should be immune from all of these problems. For the vast majority of users with a solid high-speed internet connection, voice quality or dropped calls shouldn't be an issue.

Magic Jack Customer Service

Since I posted this article, there have been quite a few people contacting me, thinking that this website is Magic Jack Customer Service. It's not... I'm a tech journalist, and this is a review. I don't have a red phone with a direct line to MJ Headquarters. But you CAN visit the Magic Jack Customer Service page online, call MJ Support (281-404-1551), or try their Main Office (561-594-2140). That's all the info I have on Magic Jack Customer Support. Really!

So there are both pros and cons to the device, but I can say that it's definitely not a scam, and works well for most people as a landline replacement. MagicJack is a very easy, highly portable, and affordable VoIP solution. It's been around a long time in "Internet years," and it will probably continue evolving. If you want to cut your phone bill, MagicJack can be a good way to do it.

Got something to say about MagicJack? Post your comment or question below...

 
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Most recent comments on "MagicJack Phone Service"

(See all 232 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Rhonda G
02 Feb 2014

This should be called Magic Junk cause that is exactly what it is. I tried the Magic Junk PLus which says u do not need a computer but truth is yes u do. I did everything step by step and still could not get it to work but what it did do is make it so I had to get my computer fixed after installing that junk on it. Customer service is a joke. When I tried talking to someone on the live chat cause there is no phone number to call for tech support I wanted to know who was gonna pay for the repair on my computer and the jerk off on the other end disconnected from me. I now have a company called Viatalk and I highly recommend them. I pay $25 a month after taxes and stuff but I rarely ever have a problem with it and if I do I can call customer service and get an american english speaking person to help me. And there are so many different features with them. But to read more reviews on Magic Junk go here http://magic-jack-reviews.measuredup.com/3309. My current voip company www.viatalk.com


Posted by:

Doug
07 Feb 2014

I've had MagicJack 2014 for several months. At the beginning I had a few issues, but tech support walked me through the issue using on-line chat. If you have to do this I recommend that you start your on-line chat session on the same computer you use to set up your MJ on. I started the chat on my laptop and had to keep going between the two machines and had to manually enter the links he gave me.
There are only two things that bug me about MJ. The first is the volume is not as high on either end as I feel it should be. The second is once the call is connected you can not use touch tones which makes using automated system impossible. Overall however it is a wonderful tool.

EDITOR'S NOTE: I saw one person say this: "I had this problem also with my new 2014 MJ+. I was lucky I guess, and after chatting with the tech support, the rep was able to fix my problem. "


Posted by:

Thomas Lang
17 Feb 2014

I bought a Magicjack Plus this past week, based on recommendations. Set it up, according to instructions, and it doesn't work in a way that makes it useful. The delay between speaking, and hearing one's voice on either end is unacceptable (the echo problem-2 seconds). Doesn't allow for actual conversation. I've tried everything FAQs and web forums suggested, yet nothing makes the slightest difference. Spent 2 1/2 hrs on tech chat w/ MJ "customer service" to no avail... eventually got "dumped". Aside from the initial product cost (free 30 day trial applies only if you bought it from their website - not from a retail outlet). I stupidly ported our phone #, so I lost the porting charge ($21) and had to pay Century-Link $35 to return the number to my landline. Expensive lesson for my foray into "cheap" VOIP. I'm snakebit. Just a warning to those considering this option.


Posted by:

gary major
21 Feb 2014

I had MagicJack since late 2009 and while it is not perfect, it bets the heck out of being bent over by the phone company every month...i have used it with a powered USB hub and just (as i have it now) straight into a USB on front of my 5 year old computer....it is a number that is used for any credit cards bills, etc etc...my cell # has changed but MJ was not changed, still have the original hardware (is that really what it is?) but after reading the article I may try plus on the USB on my wireless router and hopefully free up a USB port but at the same time, if it ain't broke, don't fix it...and with the number id working just fine i can monitor my calls


Posted by:

Barry Solotki
04 Mar 2014

I have been using MagicJack since it came out in Canada. Yes in the early years the quality of sound was not 100% and it took some time for my 911 location to be recognized. MagicJack has had program upgrades, I have an improved computer and I now cannot say enough about this product. Also the price of calls throughout North America for $19.95 per year is a great savings. Best of all, I do not miss any calls because they automatically go to email. Lastly, I can print a file of all incoming and outgoing calls at leisure.


Posted by:

Ron Dickerson
13 Mar 2014

Warning: Do not purchase the Magic Jack Plus until you first determine if your router is compatible with their system. I discovered this after spending over 6 hours in chat sessions over a period of 3 days trying to make this devise work properly. Their customer service, at all levels, in not competent. There is no voice to voice contact (only chat) which only makes things more complex and extends the time it takes to solve problems. I had one CR rep tell me I was at the highest level tech support and when he could not solve my problem he told me he was "handing me off" to a higher level Tech. When he also failed to fix the problem, I finally gave up and canceled. Magic Jack has to be aware of this router problem, but they will not admit it. My experience was not pleasant and ended ugly when I could not get a full refund. I then was forced to "rehire" AT&T. Please beware.


Posted by:

kent
10 Apr 2014

I had the old magic and for most part liked as it I only had occasional issues with it (no dial tone, not receiving calls, dialing a number and nothing happens. I started having issues with not being able to hear callers and I know this made worst when I had to hook up to a windows 8 computer(I had the old magic jack which is not supported by windows 8). I purchased the new magicjack plus and it works excellent except I had one call where I could not hear the person good.


Posted by:

John
14 Apr 2014

Have been a Vonage customer for many years. Value-wise it beats land-line phones by far and even provides printed text emails of message calls. Vonage is 100% reliable, the Cadillac of VOIP phone service. However, it is getting expensive. About 3 months ago I purchased MagicJack Plus at Walmart for $50 and 5 years service for $99. (It needs no PC plugs as into router.) I did not expect much but am now using the MJ line more than Vonage. MJ does have one annoying problem, though slight. After a power outage (even 1 second) it does not reset automatically like Vonage. Must unplug MJ and replug after 20 seconds. For the almost free price, I can live with that. As I don't need 2 phones ringing, will cancel one, being the comparatively expensive Vonage, though completely satisfied with it. After 3 month testing, I think MJ will serve me adequately. Naturally I take it back and forth Florida to Canada thus eliminating phone bills at both places. (BTW, this is not a MJ ad :)


Posted by:

Tom Savage
18 Apr 2014

I've been using the MJ Plus for a couple of years now. Great voice quality and overall very good reliability. Had a glitch with the billing a couple of months ago. Got on the customer service chat and it was taken care of immediately. Very professional. I am very satisfied with this product.


Posted by:

Linda in Texas
26 Apr 2014

Dumb question, but how do you get high speed internet for your computer to run MJ, if you don't have a phone line? If I could get internet w/o a phone, it would be GONE!

EDITOR'S NOTE: You can get an Internet connection from most cable companies. And if you live in a metro area, a wireless connection may be possible.


Posted by:

Myrle
30 May 2014

My MJ works well on my Laptop!
However, te MJ on my Mobile phone does not work well! It drops the calls, brakes up and often shows network connection failure (Erro 6)
What can i do to resolve this problem? Your assitance is greatly appreciated.

Thanks


Posted by:

L. Bergeron
14 Jun 2014

Been using Mj forever. There were some glitches at firt but nearly perfect now. For the value you receive there should never be a complaint.There is nothing to compare with it and is not voip but standalone in type of service. As internet speed and computers have steadily improved so has the MJ. It can travel anywhere you can get wifi on your pc and can be used even without a handset phone if ur laptop has a webcam. An email comes for every missed called and it has a wav attached message u can file away. On screen call id and phone book to store all your callers info. So many pluses I cannot say enough. Then comes the MJ Plus! No more on screen popup caller ID as you can just look at the phone for that and yes the unit gets very warm like a pc charger does. The unit and a yr of service for less than what most pay for a month, how can anyone complain?My whole family cut the landline service off to pay for great high speed int. and now Netflix and Hulu Rule. It is so simple a child can install and use it and no pc is needed after setup. Just try it and start putting the savings away to retire or fulfill a dream. It has free apps that go with it so trust me and check it out. You can't go wrong. Simple, easy, affordable, portable and amazing in my book! Lastly for people with overseas relatives, get one set it up locally and send to them and they pop it in their pc and presto they can call you likr a local call and vice versa! 6/2014


Posted by:

ed martin
13 Jul 2014

I look forward to this in Europe.
The history of state involvement has left both government and private providers used to levying extortionate charges.
Skype hasn't revolutionised things so the more innovation the better.


Posted by:

Bill
04 Aug 2014

Thanks for a great explanation. It needs to be said and said again. Until folks try it the do not believe it. Even at 30 bucks a year they are making a profit. You have to realize just how much the good old Telco's are ripping folks off for. Just a word of warning. When paying 30 bucks a year please don't bitch and complain if there is a minor problem and you do not get Platinum level service. It is seldom the device that is the problem. Your total risk to try it out is about one month of the old fashioned Telco charges and most folks simply port their number and never look back. NO I don't work for MJ either but I will admit I did invest after trying for a few months.


Posted by:

Mike
07 Aug 2014

I have had Majic Plus for over three years and have had very little problems with it. Use to pay 80.00 + a month and my rates kept going up. I pay 30.00 a year and I am very happy with Majic Jack Plus.


Posted by:

Rick
22 Aug 2014

I have had Magic Jack. It is like using a cell phone with a bad connection. It is a piece of junk!!!


Posted by:

Ivan
31 Aug 2014

I had magic jack for a while, it screws up your computer royally and infiltrates it badly or at least it did at that time. Calling tech support was absolutely of no use at all, in fact they were rude and inconsiderate.

Needless to say, I shall never use Majic Jack again as I now consider them con artists in the first degree and outright liars. There phone service was not all that good in my area either, at times it did not work at all, and tech support did not want to hear it.

Do not waste your time with them, that is unless they have had a change in heart and have upgraded their services so that is does not ruin your computer etc. But it if you want, but beware, I can tell you I am totally done with them!


Posted by:

Dan
17 Sep 2014

I've had Magic Jack plus on now for almost a year. I've had to restart it twice and other than that it works perfectly. Maybe they have crappy support but what do you expect for $20 a year? I'm saving over $400 a year from my old landline phone (and their support really sucked). I've now got two Magic Jacks and have installed them for a friend and a relative. It's a great device. The only problem is I have one non-technical friend who insists on using an answering machine. We had to buy a new one to make it work as some older ones aren't compatible. His new Panasonic cordless phone/answering machine cost $45 and works like a champ. It's good. Real good.


Posted by:

Bob Greene
04 Oct 2014

* I forgot about the paragraph limit, so here is the revision.
------------------------

From its beginning, MagicJack quickly acquired a reputation for concealing limitations and "gotchas", and terrible customer service-- too often indifferent and quite haphazard.

RIPOFF REPORT-- www.ripoffreport.com/directory/magic-jack.aspx
CONSUMER AFFAIRS- http://www.consumeraffairs.com/cell_phones/magicjack.html
COMPLAINTS LIST-- http://www.complaintslist.com/phone-accessories/magic-jack/

Founder Dan Borislow was investigated by the Florida AG for charging customers for their "30-day trial" earlier than 30 days, which Borislow defended as "not illegal". MagicJack paid a settlement for $125,000, and promised to treat consumers better.

As always, the watchphrase is "caveat emptor"-- if you invest in MagicJack, make sure you understand how to find your way out of the arrangement with minimal damage. The company is well prepared for all your issues, rest assured. MagicJack has no fear of legal action because subscribers must sign a corporate-friendly arbitration agreement. In view of the host of complaints, consider yourself warned.


Posted by:

Anthony Fremont
21 Oct 2014

MagicJack is great. It works as good as the $45/month VOIP that uVerse was bending me over for. $35/year is worth any minor outages or inconveniences. If you need hand holding to get techy stuff working, then pay the $45/month. If you want to save a small fortune and gain some cool benefits like having your home phone also ring on your smart phone or tablet, then get MagicJack.


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