Will MagicJack Replace Your Landline?

Category: Telephony

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.

Magicjack GO - cheap phone service

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...

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Most recent comments on "Will MagicJack Replace Your Landline?"

(See all 46 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

Catherine A Smith
13 Apr 2019

I use to have Magic Jack & NetTalk all my calls were dropped and they did nothing to solve the problem. There were times that you could barely hear the other person. I was very disappointed and I decided to try Ooma and I got the telephone adapter on sale on Amazon.ca and 30 days free to try Premier features. I decided to go with basic with I just pay $4.85 a month which covers for tax and other fees. All calls are crystal clear, no dropped calls it is the best voip service I have ever used! I didn't need the premier features but I will get it at in the future which is just additional $9.99 a month. The features are quite good for the low cost. Customer service is very friendly,helpful and I am very happy with Ooma Canada! Ooma premier also has android app, there is US, Mexico, Canada long distance included, second number enhanced voicemail,call waiting,enhanced call block and so much more. I have been using Ooma over a year, best decision ever!

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

Land line? What land line?! Ported my land line to my cell years ago.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

NO, I have VOIP but it is with my internet provider, I will never use MajicJack again. Their tech support is rude, not educated, idiots and their services at least is my area are useless and it does harm to your computer and screws things up. I have NO use for them at all. It is a scam and a big one. Do not get caught up in it.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

to the poster who has DSL on their landline. In many cases you can switch to "dry DSL" which uses the same wires but does not include phone service. this may be easier to do if your DSL is provided by a third party rather then your Local Phone company.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

bought MJ when it first came out for my home office, 19 bucks,(thought it was a joke), had problems,limited talk time, 49-59 min. I now have MJ+ on my home and home office (ported my home#). It's been over ten years with only one problem (I reformatted my hard drive, ended up with terrible static. Needed to re install MJ, (Cust. Serv. was on it, used chat) problem solved. Don't know how much I saved at $36/mo/X 10 years X2 for landline.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

I have used the Original Magicjack service for 9 years and the only problem has been the internet here in the Philippines,when internet is working it works great and that is why after 9 years I still have it and will be renewing it this Month!

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

We've had Magic Jack for a few years also. Porting our number was easy. I will never go back to a land line. We weren't ready to give up our home phone, even though we all have cell phones.

I can even block phone numbers on MJ. And the few times I've had to call them, they have been wonderful. MJ and Consumer Cellular get a five star rating for phone service!

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

We've had Magic Jack for quite a few years. Had one unit burn out, they replaced it quickly at no cost. We do have a significant amount of voice quality problems. Often there is echoing on the line. Reconnecting often fixes the problem. Like one poster said, dumping AT&T was priceless.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

I bought a Majic Jack within probably a couple of months of it coming out. I originally bought it to use while traveling for work, but I always forgot to bring it with me. I have been with Vonage since probably around 2003 and have no trouble using it in Thailand while I'm there. The biggest problem I had has been solved now if it rings on the cell phone, like Vonage's app. On the other hand, my cell phone is GSM and with Ting, it is very inexpensive to use overseas too, so I'm still not sure if I need the "landline" number. I have not had a true landline since 2003 and I've never looked back.

Posted by:

Coco the Cat
13 Apr 2019

Ivan, can you please describe how MJ did harm to your computer? Just wondering!!

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

$148 per year for Ooma??? Where did you get THAT number, Bob? I've had Ooma for a number of years at less than $5 per month (for local taxes and fees)with no issues ever! The caller ID, call blocking, call waiting and other features all work for free on my Panasonic cordless phones.

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

In this discussion I'm surprised there has not yet been a mention of the OBi/Google Voice devices. I currently see the OBi200 at $65 (I paid much less on sale). That is a ONE TIME cost. It has been working perfectly. 911 is an issue, but I believe no more so than with cell service

Posted by:

13 Apr 2019

In regards to 911 calls, many cities have regular 10 digit emergency numbers. I put the number for the local in my cell phone contact list. This is the same number out of state alarm companies use to report local alarms for your home. Of course if you are out of your area you have to call 911, but if you are calling from your home you would not be out of your area.

I initially set this up, because when making a 911 call, in the smaller community I lived in, would be routed through Oklahoma City dispatch resulting in a delayed response.

Posted by:

14 Apr 2019

William, I was wondering the same thing as I read through the responses. Why is no one discussing the obi voip devices. I bought my OBI200 4 years ago for $48 (yes it's now $65) but beyond that initial buy in I haven't spent a dime on home telephone service since. (I connect through google voice, a free service) It works well with no apparent lag and virtually always clear connections. It's great and as close to free as it gets.

Posted by:

14 Apr 2019

I've been using Magic Jack for at least 10+ years now. I was an early subscriber. I started using it when I lived in New Mexico and have since been using it in Indonesia. I had another VOIP when I first got here that I thought was better but the cost difference and the improved quality of Magic Jack have made that unnecessary now for several years. I always went with the 5-year plan, but if Bob is correct that isn't being offered anymore. On a cost-benefit analysis, there is nothing better. I get all the all my back and forth call from the US & Canada for free with no time limits. It's just unbeatable and the phone app lets me get text messages from the US as well.

Posted by:

Janet Cook
24 Apr 2019

I've used Magic Jack for years. In the beginning, customer service was sketchy, but now it's great. I've live in Germany and Korea with it and it makes it so much easier to be an ex-pat with a US phone number, especially for US websites that don't know most phone numbers have 10 digits.
I like that I can answer the calls and receive texts on my handy, same as my local number. Great service!

Posted by:

28 May 2019

I replaced my land line with MJ about five years ago. I had a couple of devices fail (probably due to our frequent power outages and surges), but I've kept it because it does the thing I bought it for really well. I have it hooked up to a five station cordless phone. Don't have to carry a cell phone everywhere.

Only problem now is, if I dial home from my cell phone, the MagicApp rings on the phone I'm dialing from. I have an iPhone now. This didn't happen on my android phone.

Posted by:

kathy ellis
20 Jun 2019

I have had magic jack the customer servive is not only ajoke but abad joke at that!!!

Posted by:

K.A. Albury
23 Jun 2019

Magic Jack has saved me thousands. I took it to the Bahamas so I could make stateside phone calls without that country's local service which was expensive; I brought it back to the States with me when I came back. I have been using MJ for over TEN years now (got on board when it first came out). Not much complaint, except ocasionally the reception is not perfect, but that is linked to my internet provider.

Posted by:

R. W. Brock
24 Jun 2019

1st failure:
My Amarillo TEX city, had, and has, no phone numbers available to inform called parties of my location. Whereas even small towns, not far from me, do have such identity. Several times I've attempted to have them correct this, to no avail.
I have always been identified as Lubbock, Tex.

2nd problem:
Noise and poor reception and clarity, plague both sender and receiver communication, resulting in lack of understood words and conversations. Such developed after long term service.

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