How Magic Jack Works and Saves Me $500 a Year on Home Phone Service

Have you wondered how Magic Jack works and whether it could really save you money on your home phone service?  Magic Jack works well for our family and saves us nearly $500 a year in home phone charges!

For months, my wife and I talked about dropping our land line in order to save money. We seriously questioned whether we still needed a home phone since we both had mobile phones.But with five kids, ages 5-15, living in our home, we thought we should still keep our home phone – just in case.  So we began to search for cheaper home phone options.

We’ve had AT&T Uverse for a couple of years. I think we got in under the introductory rate of $99 a month for Internet, phone and TV.  But the rate has nearly doubled since then, leading us to question whether we still needed the home phone, and whether we could live without cable.  I’ll write more about our cable TV alternative in a future post.

What is Magic Jack?

Magic Jack is a communications provider that offers phone service over the Internet utilizing VOIP (voice over Internet protocol) technology, like Vonage, Skype, and other companies.  Even my previous phone provider, AT&T Uverse, used VOIP for my home phone.  They charged me about $40 a month for phone service, but Magic Jack charges only $19.95 a year.  Yes, that’s $19.95 a year for Magic Jack phone service!

How Magic Jack Works

How Magic Jack WorksAs I said earlier, Magic Jack uses VOIP technology to provide phone service by converting your voice into data and using your high speed Internet connection to send and receive calls. In order to do this, your phone needs to be linked with a computer and your Internet connection.

The original Magic Jack worked only when your phone was connected to your computer via a “magic” jack which allowed you to send and receive calls via the Internet. The problem with that is that your computer needed to be on whenever you wanted to make or receive calls – which for most people meant that their computer had to be on all the time!  This definitely wasn’t appealing to me at all.

Magic Jack ReviewGratefully, Magic Jack solved that problem by offering Magic Jack Plus, which allows you to send and receive calls via the Internet without a computer.  That’s because the “Plus” is actually a tiny computer that plugs into the wall and stays on all the time.

This tiny Magic Jack Plus computer is available for a one-time equipment charge of $50, in addition to the $19.95 annual fee for Magic Jack phone service.

Installing Magic Jack

Magic Jack Installation

Photo courtesy of magicJack.

Installing Magic Jack is as simple as plugging the Magic Jack unit into your computer via a USB port, and then plugging your phone into the “magic” jack.

Installing Magic Jack Plus requires a few more steps.  You first plug the tiny Magic Jack Plus computer into the wall outlet.  Next, you plug the Magic Jack unit into the Magic Jack Plus.  Lastly, you connect the Magic Jack unit to the Internet via an Ethernet cord that connect to your Internet router.

Magic Jack Review

Magic Jack and Magic Jack Plus offer telephone service for only $19.95 a year for unlimited calls to the U.S. and Canada.  This is an affordable option for people who are tired of paying for home phone service but aren’t quite ready to drop the land line yet.

We’ve used Magic Jack Plus in our home for a month now, and we’re super happy with the results.  We use the same phone we’ve used for years, and we haven’t noticed any change in the phone call quality. Installation was quick and the instructions were easy to follow.

Magic Jack and Magic Jack Plus offer great benefits including:

  • Phone service for only $19.95 a year
  • Free voice mail & Caller I.D. (voice mails can be emailed to you, which I love!)
  • Free and unlimited local and long distance calls to the U.S. and Canada
  • Cheap rates for International calls
  • Free directory assistance
  • Free phone number
  • Free call waiting
  • Keep your current number if you want – for an additional charge of $10 per year.
  • Take Magic Jack with you wherever you travel (even worldwide) and all your calls back to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada are free

We had seen the Magic Jack ads on TV for months and wondered whether it would really work or not.  I discovered that a few friends used Magic Jack, so I asked them what they thought.  They all gave rave reviews.  Two of them currently live overseas – one in Cambodia and another in New Zealand – and they both said it worked great for them at home and abroad.  The best thing for them was the fact that their friends and family could reach them overseas by calling a U.S. number.

The one hang-up for me was that if I used the original Magic Jack, I’d have to keep my computer on all the time. That’s why I’m glad they came out with Magic Jack Plus, which doesn’t use my home computer at all.

Magic Jack offers a free 30-day trial, so I figured I had nothing to lose by giving it a try.  After using it a few weeks, we were hooked on Magic Jack Plus, and we dropped our AT&T Uverse land line like a dirty sock.

If you’re tired of paying $30, $40 or $50 or more on your home phone bill each month like we were, I recommend you give Magic Jack Plus a try.

Have you wondered how Magic Jack works or whether it could really save you money on your home phone service?

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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.

Comments

  1. I love magic jack. I don’t use it often, because I mainly use my cell phone, but it definitely comes in handy when I need it. The quality of the call can sometimes be garbled, especially when you do something else on your computer the same time you are using magic jack. But if you stay away from using your computer at the same time, it works well.

    • James, thanks for your comment! I assume you’re using the original Magic Jack, which plugs into your computer, instead of the Magic Jack Plus, which plugs into the Internet router? We use the Magic Jack Plus and haven’t noticed any call quality issues like you described. It might have something to do with Internet speed too, I don’t know. Thanks again!

  2. Stephanie says:

    I’m considering getting a Magic Jack, but I want to know if I can transfer my current number. I have ATT Uverse like you, so I already have a digital phone line. Can I still transfer the same number? When I cancel the phone line with Att Uverse, won’t that cancel the phone number?

    Thanks!

    • Hi Stephanie, thanks for reading, and thanks for your comment! We decided to get a new number instead of porting our existing number to MagicJack, but from what I’ve read, porting (or transferring) it is pretty easy. When you get MagicJack, you get instructions on how to do it. I have ported, or transferred, my number in the past from 3 other phone companies. I didn’t cancel my existing phone line, instead the new company handled the porting process – they contact the current company and work out the transfer. Then I contacted the old phone company later to make sure the account was closed. But you could contact Uverse now and ask them if there’s a right or wrong way to do it. Thanks again for your question!

    • We have AT&T Uverse also and want to get Magic Jack Plus to use in place of our landline. Did you end up getting the Magic Jack Plus to work and get to keep your existing ph # ?

      • Hey Polly, thanks so much for your question. Yes, you can port your existing number over to Magic Jack Plus for a small fee. However, my wife and I decided to get a new number from Magic Jack instead. The nice thing about that is that we’ve had no “robo calls” during the 2012 campaign!

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