How Magic Jack Works – 5 Months Later

In April, I mentioned that I’d seen those ads for Magic Jack for quite some time, and always wondered if, and how, Magic Jack works, and if it would really save us big money on our home phone.  There was only way to find out, of course, so we gave it a try.

At the time, our AT&T U-Verse bill was getting out of control.  It had almost doubled from our initial $99 rate for phone, Internet, and TV.

I had called AT&T a couple of times over a few months, to see if we could get a better rate, but it seemed like they’d rather lose a customer than drop their price.

How Magic Jack WorksSo, we decided to drop the AT&T phone and cable TV, but keep the Internet service.  Though I do need to look for cheaper options on that, too.

In my research on Magic Jack, I discovered they offered two options:

1. The Original Magic Jack – Which is a small device that provides phone service via the Internet while it is connected to your computer.  This means you need to leave your computer on all the time to receive and make calls. The cost (at this time) is just $19.95 a year for unlimited calling across the US.  Yes, I said $19.95 per year – not month!

2. Magic Jack Plus – Which is a small device that provides phone service via the Internet while it is connected to your Internet router and an electrical outlet. This means it does not use your computer like the Original Magic Jack, so you don’t have to worry about leaving it on all the time.  The cost (at this time) for Magic Jack Plus is just $19.95 a year for unlimited phone service, plus a one-time $50 charge for the special device that connects via the Internet and the electrical outlet.

We opted for the Magic Jack Plus and are super-happy with the results. Here’s why:

  1. We’re saving $500 a year with Magic Jack Plus since the phone service charge is only $19.95 per year.
  2. It works just the same as my AT&T U-verse did.  I didn’t really realize it before, but my U-verse phone used the same VOIP technology as Magic Jack does, to send calls via the Internet.
  3. Call quality has been fine overall. We haven’t noticed any real difference.
  4. We get email notification of new voicemails we’ve received.
  5. Did I mention we’re saving $500 a year? :)

A couple of things we don’t like about Magic Jack Plus:

  1. Email notification of voicemail is sent to just one email account.  I’d love it if it could be sent to multiple accounts.
  2. Right now, the only way we know we have a voicemail is if we check my wife’s email or if we dial our own phone number.  Magic Jack Plus does offer a stutter tone that is supposed to alert you when you have new messages, but it hasn’t worked correctly for us.  When we enabled that featured, the stutter tone was on all the time, whether we had a voicemail or not. This could be a problem with our particular phone, I don’t know.
  3. We have to dial our area code in order to make local calls.  Though it’s not really a big deal now that we’re used to it.

These are all minor hassles, but they won’t deter us from our love of Magic Jack!  In fact, I’m about ready to get it for my phone at my office, too.

Do you use Magic Jack or Magic Jack Plus for your home phone?  How do you like it?  If not?  What are you waiting for?

Hey, since you’re already here, check these out too…

About the author

Rich Rich writes on personal finance from a pastor's perspective here at Money Wise Pastor. He loves In-N-Out Burger (and has the t-shirts to prove it), urban living, homeschooling, Gungor concerts, helping people succeed in life and work, camping, dreaming with his wife, and equipping his five children to become financially faithful and free. Find him on Twitter and Facebook.

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