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 243 comments for this article.)

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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

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.


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.

Posted by:

Tom McElvy
02 Nov 2014

I have used MJ in various iterations since 2011. The original version was horrid; and I went with VOIPO. I later got one of the router based "PLUS" models of MJ, and tried it out as my FA line for 6 months - worked perfectly! So, I got a second one, and after I installed it, I call forwarded my number from VOIPO to the new MJ to test the waters - after 6 more months, I ported.

The product worked great; however, the port was another story. It took over 8 months for MJ to get it fixed. Calls from certain carriers or even other MJs would simply "stop - 1 ring, then dead air. Especially bad with Skype callers and Google Talk calls. They finally got it fixed, but only after an informal complaint to the FCC.

Bottom line; be careful when porting! But the newer MJ Plus/Go models work wonderfully!

Posted by:

Ed Crane
24 Dec 2014

I still use the original magic jack and it does work alright. However the price continues to go up every year despite the claim of 19.95 per year. Apparently that only meant the first year and the customer rep basically said tuff luck when questioned about it. The price does still beat a regular phone line but apparently now you can no longer move the original MJ to another computer. It seems they really want you to buy a newer version. Also despite comments to the contrary the original does work on windows 8.1 pro as that is what I am using it on.

Posted by:

james pierson
10 Jan 2015

Good article. But contrary to what you say, even if you use a MJ plus,calls will be dropped anytime there is a glitch in your internet service.

Posted by:

lee kirk
12 Jan 2015

I bought a renew card for my magic jack. How do I use it to renew? Why don't you have your phone number more assesible?

EDITOR'S NOTE: I am not Magic Jack. Please visit for support.

Posted by:

Kenneth Ridgeway
24 Jan 2015

Since Microsoft does not support Windows XP since middle of 2014 I have not been able to use my MJ.
Will MJ work on my laptop Windows 8.1 just plug & go? MJ was great we were very happy with the all aspects for our usage. I have not seen or used the MJ Plus but would consider that purchase as we are MJ fans.

Posted by:

07 Apr 2017

I've got two magic jacks but only use one very much. I'm using only the simplest preliminary service they offered so can't comment on any of the latest versions.

The one I use most is my home office. If I'm not there I get messages, although it will forward them to me if I want.

I'm not sure which system the question of "scam" is about but I certainly don't thing spending 10 or 20 bucks, whatever they are now, for 10 years of phone use is a scam in any way!

Posted by:

F Michael Schmeisser
31 May 2017

I have been with MJ since the beginning. I travel back and forth to USA and EU and being able to take or make calls is one of it's very best features. You just plug it in where ever you go and if you cannot plug into a router you can still connect to PC / Laptop.

I stay current with their new products and transfer the old to new when a new one comes out. I have saved a lot of money over the years. I used to be with Vonage as well, but cannot be the price with MJ even on that money saver from Vonage.

Posted by:

Bob Mathews
02 Aug 2017

Just learned of this phone service. I'm from Texas, so am used to scams. This sounds too good to be true, but if I receive sufficient information I might possibly try it. Depends of the feedback I get. Thanks, Bob

Posted by:

James Rowlett
18 Aug 2017

Had bought a computer based MJ thumb 8 years old. I was not impressed. I bought a network based MJ 2 months ago and am fully on board. Paid to transfer my 30 year old phone number. Has worked without a glitch. If you have a stable internet connection you can expect easy installation and excellent quality. I echo Bob's analysis. For $30 a year, MJ is a keeper.

Posted by:

22 Aug 2017

I've been a MJ user for several years and it works great. Just 2 caveats - once you have it don't move house. Incredible complications re changing your phone #, address, etc. Porting your own number can take a long time so keep your old svc till it's done.

Posted by:

H Morlan
13 Nov 2017

I have used MJ since 2009. I now have the MJ Plus and have had it several years now without any complains whatsoever. I use it with my 3 n 1 epson wf-2760 without any problems I send and receive faxes flawlessly. It also works with HP 3 n 1 and probably many others. If you have a good ISP you will have a good cheap home phone/fax service. My total yearly cost is $39.00 w/911.

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Article information: AskBobRankin -- MagicJack Phone Service (Posted: 21 Oct 2011)
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