Replace Your Landline With MagicJack?

Category: Gadgets , Telephony

A reader asks: “I've seen those commercials for Magic Jack, a gadget 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 actually work? Can it really replace my landline?” Read on for answers...

What is Magic Jack?

Yes, MagicJack is legit. In a nutshell, it's a device that enables very inexpensive VOIP calling (phone calls over the Internet). The Magic Jack phone service competes with Vonage, Skype, BasicTalk and other VOIP telephone service providers.

The MagicJack device has evolved considerably since its 2007 debut. It was the number one VoIP service choice among consumers surveyed by market researcher Frost & Sullivan in 2013 and it’s currently the best-selling consumer VoIP product on Amazon. Let's take a look at the current MagicJack products and services.

The hardware side of MagicJack is the MagicJackGO device. It's a minimalist device with a USB plug on one end and two jacks on the other, one for a phone line and the other for an Ethernet cable. Plug a standard phone into the phone jack, and connect to your computer via USB or directly to your router via Ethernet. Register your device once and that’s it; you’re up and VoIP-ing! (The MagicJack Plus and MagicJack Express, both discontinued, were essentially the same.)
MagicJack GO

Unlimited calls to landline and mobile numbers in the USA and Canada are standard, and international rates are competitive. Features include caller ID, voicemail, call waiting, call forwarding, conference calling, and 411 service. Number porting is available for US and Canadian numbers, allowing you to keep your current landline number. The phone carrier service is the same across all products; it’s provided by MagicJack’s sister company, YMAX.

What Does MagicJack Cost?

The regular price of the MagicJackGO device, plus 12 months of service is $59.99. The MJ website advertises that for $35 now, and offers the first 30 days free. Renewing costs $35/year, or you can get 5 years of service for $99.75 (About $20/year, or $1.66/month!) With the five-year plan, you also get a free MagicJack SLIM Power Bank -- a portable 4000 mAh battery that can be used to charge your smartphone or other mobile device on the go. (Compare MagicJack's pricing to Vonage, BasicTalk or Phone Company service.)

The free MagicApp for Android or iOS enables free local and long-distance calls to any numbers in the U. S. and Canada on your smartphone using WiFi or 4G service. WiFi is widely available for free, but using the 4G service you'll have to keep in mind your data caps and charges. Worldwide calling is free app-to-app or app-to-Jack device. If you have a companion MagicJack device, you can set up your MagicApp number to ring at your MagicJack home or business number and on your smartphone simultaneously.

Can I Fire the Phone Company?

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 MagicJack really does deliver what it promises. You pay a flat fee per year, and you never get a phone bill.

Using MagicJack, you can make free calls to any phones in the United States or Canada, 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.

So YES, you can even cancel your land line service with the phone company and cut them out of the loop. I've heard from many people over years who have done just that.

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. You can also call international numbers at very low per-minute rates.

Like any VoIP service, MagicJack needs a fair amount of reliable bandwidth; at least 128 Kbps in both directions. DSL, cable, fiber, and other land-based broadband works well with VoIP, but dialup and satellite connections are likely to be problematic.

Most MagicJack purchasers on Amazon give the service high ratings for call quality. Emergency 911 service is available with MJ, but with some limitations. Even faxing is possible with MagicJack, according to those who’ve tried it. Currently, it’s the easiest and certainly the cheapest way to cut the landline and switch to VoIP calling.

You can try MagicJack for up to 30 days without obligation. Just sign up with a credit card at the company’s site. If you keep the device and service after the trial period, your card will be charged $35.

Magic Jack Customer Service

I've written before about MagicJack, and had 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 get any sort of commission from the company, and 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, or call MJ Support at 561-594-9925. 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 "Replace Your Landline With MagicJack?"

(See all 65 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Egbok
19 May 2017

20 bucks! thought it was a joke, so I bought it to spoof my friends with. I've had it now since '07' and couldn't be happier. I kept my land line for 3 years just in case it was a no go and wasted about $1300 paying ATT. I ported my home phone number to another device and I did everything online and have never needed to call customer Service.


Posted by:

Gar Suitor
22 May 2017

I have two Magic Jacks. One is the original Magic Jack, and the other is a Magic Jack Plus.
One is our primary number, the other I use for an office line.
They work well. My principal complaint is that they refuse to support the Nomorobo service. Robo calls are becoming an increasing annoyance, and the government is unwilling to force the phone carriers to do something about it.


Posted by:

Valli
24 May 2017

Over the years I have had three MJs because they would die for some reason and rather than waiting for Customer Service to send a replacement, I would just go and purchase another one. As another reader mentioned, Customer Service is terrible to deal with and it's all in chat form meaning you have to type, and their reps seem to use the hunt-and-peck method when typing, so it takes a long time for any problems to be resolved. When we moved to Florida and could only get a slower Internet connection (10mbps), calls sounded garbled like being underwater and almost each call ended up dropping at some point. As long as the internet connection is a faster speed, then it it's terrific. I hate forking out $35 dollars a month for the landline but as long as I'm stuck with the slow internet connection, I will have to stay with the telephone company. As a long-time MJ user, I'd like to offer the following advice: if you think there is something wrong with your unit, it is usually MJ's electrical plug that quits working. Buy another another one into which you can plug your MJ unit. Other plugs generally survive a lot longer than MJ's plug.


Posted by:

Becky Gray
30 May 2017

So this covers in the US long distance too?


Posted by:

Rosemary
01 Jun 2017

How many phones can I use if I buy magic jack I need to be able to use two phones three would be better but would be happy with two can magic jack be plug into commputor with one main phone and and one into output main phone upstairs and one down stairs in basement output please help me with these questions


Posted by:

Chuck
01 Jun 2017

I had a magic jack when it first came out but found I didn't travel as much as I thought I would so It didn't get much use. Now I have Vonage and right before I moved to Thailand they came out with an option that you can port it to your mobile. I can call US numbers and they can call me at a phone number in Tacoma WA. For most people that's a free long distance call. For me calling from Thailand to the US it's almost a necessity. The per minute costs would be staggering. It costs about 30 something dollars a month and is very well worth it. Oh yea, it only works when I have internet but that's not a huge problem.


Posted by:

Jan
10 Jun 2017

I have had Magic Jack for many years.. I have also had Vonage at a rental in Mexico. . I found them to work equally well. I am an avid believer in Internet phones due the excellent performance, but primarily due to the major cost savings. I believe most of the problems people are discussing are due to bad internet connections or phone problems. I have never had to call either service for a problem.


Posted by:

Joo
18 Jul 2017

In regards to a post by Jerry on,
18 May 2017 he stated
"we pay with a five year plan which averages out at 19.95 a month".
Sorry that is incorrect for if you pay for the
5 year plan that's $99.75 so divided by 5 years= $19,95 per year, then divided by 12 months=
$1.66per month!
Not $19.95per month as stated. Also there is no month to month fee's after you pay for your service plan 1 year or 5 year etc. for anyone that is just learning about MagicJacks.
Just wanted to correct the post I seen easy to do.
Take care.


Posted by:

sandra barton
02 Oct 2017

i paid 19.99 to have my old phone #back When will I GET IT?


Posted by:

Esimm
22 Oct 2017

Can i keep my current provider until i see if Magic Jack will work?Will I have to keep my modem on all the time for Magic Jack or just until I register and activate it? Thanks.


Posted by:

Richard
23 Oct 2017

If you are using your phone line for internet, you can go Dry Loop cutting off ones phone line.
Doing this will still supply internet connection plus hook up to MJ. DON'T CANCEL YOU PHONE BEFORE MJ
IS ESTABLISHED.


Posted by:

terri
24 Oct 2017

I have had MJ for about 3 years and no problems other than some static from time to time. then in September this year no more home phone line. Though MJ will work if I plug it into my computer but now I get voice messages through my email but can not call home or call out on my land line. Apparently 2 ports are now closed 5060 and 5070, and neither MJ or Comcast seem to be able to help port forward or open them for me - I have tried through my modem/router, but does not work. So I will be moving to a phone co.


Posted by:

Exie
30 Nov 2017

Garbage. The customer service is non-existent. Nobody can ever hear me when I call. Useless. I cannot even get voicemail to go to e-mail anymore since a replacement piece of garbage was sent to me in Oct. The only reason I have kept this service was for the voicemail to e-mail option, and now that isn't even available, so it's time for me to dispute the charge for this toy via my credit card company.


Posted by:

Jane
29 Dec 2017

I've had NetTalk for several years and I've been happy with it. I pay around $30/year and no add-ons.

I recently replaced my wi-fi modem and my new modem doesn't work very well with my old NetTalk; I'm reading reviews for MJ and other devices to replace it. So far, I haven't found great reviews on anything, but it's obvious consumers despise MJ's customer service.


Posted by:

C
25 Feb 2018

I read the terms and conditions and it does say you have to use it reasonably and that means in an hour's time of talk, you are cut off. Maybe you can get that call back, maybe not, have to wait about 5 minutes and retry. I don't like that at all. I rarely get to talk to my brother so we gab for a long time. I use it as a USB to my computer and it stays cool to the touch and mounted a dect 6 phone on the wall next to the computer--couldn't be happier with the clear sound on a real phone. You have to have a Dect 6 phone or you will have problems. And, the power supply, the thing with prongs, are cheap and can damage your MJ device. See youtube for that. I get 911 for free because it depends on your city. I really love it. It has a lot of pros to cons. If you need customer support, check the internet first, they are mean at this company but it is owned by an Israeli company and I tend to think their employees hate Americans.


Posted by:

Gerry Fassett
08 Apr 2018

How many hardwired phones will the magicjack device feed??


Posted by:

jen
10 Apr 2018

I have been using MagicJack since December 2009, and, regularly call all my friends in the US, and, I live in South Africa!


Posted by:

Ralph Ferguson
06 Nov 2018

i need to call forward my majic jack phone to my cell # when i travel...can you tell me how to do this ?


Posted by:

John Howard
21 Nov 2018

My concern would be electrical outages, since we live in hurricane country. No electricity, no internet. We've been fortunate over the years; the longest power outage I've seen was 24 hours, after Floyd in '99. But I have friends in other areas who have gone without for 10-14 days. I'd hate to be without my main phone for that long. Cell phone towers start to fail after that long too, but conventional land-line telephones keep right on working.


Posted by:

Toni
13 Dec 2018

I tried it out a few years ago and had to take it back. I had to keep replugging the device to get it to work.

I now use Ooma for about 3 years and I love it. Very few problems over the years.


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