Will MagicJack Replace Your Landline?
Here’s a common question: “I've seen those commercials for Magic Jack, a gadget you can plug into your computer to eliminate your phone bill. 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, Ooma, Skype, and other VOIP telephone service providers.
The MagicJack device has evolved considerably since its 2007 debut. It is currently the best-selling consumer VoIP product on Amazon, with over 2,300 customer reviews, an average 4-star rating, and 880 answered product questions. 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.)
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 price of the MagicJackGO device, plus 12 months of service is $35. The MJ website offers the first 30 days free. Renewing costs $39/year, or you can get 3 years of service for $89 (about $30/year, or $2.50/month!) You can compare MagicJack's pricing to Vonage, Ooma Basic or Phone Company service. Ooma Basic costs about $148/year, Vonage service is $230/year, and the average phone/cable company phone service is $420/year.
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 with 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 Really 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 monthly 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. Call to the UK for 2.2 cents/minute, Mexico for 4.0 cents/minute, or China for 3.3 cents/minute.
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 had quite a few people contacting me, thinking that my website is Magic Jack Customer Service. It's not... I'm a tech journalist. 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.
Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 12 Apr 2019
|For Fun: Buy Bob a Snickers.|
SSD Drives: How Long Will They Last?
The Top Twenty
Five-Point Tuneup For Hacker Defenses
There's more reader feedback... See all 42 comments for this article.
Post your Comments, Questions or Suggestions
Free Tech Support -- Ask Bob Rankin
Subscribe to AskBobRankin Updates: Free Newsletter
Copyright © 2005
- Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved
Article information: AskBobRankin -- Will MagicJack Replace Your Landline? (Posted: 12 Apr 2019)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved