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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Phone Service for $40.00 per Year - magicJack Review

We recently wrote a post called Throwing Money Away, Part 2 - Home Communications which included a brief discussion about landline telephone service. That's the traditional telephone service that has been available for over 100 years. We posed a question to ponder regarding whether or not you actually needed a landline any more.

A relatively new option to consider is a technology called Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). I won't try to describe the technical issues of this technology - let's just summarize by saying that your voice travels over the public Internet or Internet-like facilities. Two companies that have become popular providers of such service in the public domain are Vonage and Skype.

Now there is a new company that sells a device called magicJack. You may have seen one of their many ads on TV. They advertise that by using their device, you can make unlimited calls to any telephone in the United States and Canada for $40.00 for the first year, $20.00 for the second! Compare that with what you currently pay for landline service.

Let me say right off that:
  • This is not an endorsement of this product.
  • I have not tried this product.
  • I have no financial interest in the company that provides it.
  • I have nothing to gain or lose if you try or don't try this product.
However, it piqued my interest so I have done some research on the product and the service it provides. If I can save hundreds of dollars per years for landline telephone service, it's worth a look.

Based on what I've read in what appear to be accurate, unbiased reviews of the product, here are some things you need to know:
  • You must have high speed Internet service such as DSL or cable-modem based.
  • The magicJack device plugs into a USB port on your computer and your telephone plugs into the magicJack device.
  • The transmission quality is pretty good, although not quite as good as traditional landline service.
  • If your Internet service goes down, so does your magicJack service.
  • You may have to be assigned a new phone number. It will be unlisted.
  • Full enhanced 911 capabilities may not be provided.
  • The person you are calling or who is calling you does not have to be using a magicJack.
  • Caller ID is available.
These are my personal thoughts and opinions:
  • If I used my landline for business, I probably would not use magicJack. That's just me!
  • The better the Internet connection and computer, the better magicJack will work.
  • I'd probably use my cell for 911 calls.
  • If I didn't have a cell phone, I'd probably stick with my traditional landline.
So, if you are willing to give up a bit of transmission quality and need to save some serious cash, this might be for you. Here are some sites that might help:
Do a Google search on "magicjack magic jack reviews". You'll find many sites with reviews, good and bad.

If you do try it, leave a comment here about your experience.

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