Cheap Home Phone Service Just Got Cheaper
In 2012, magic Jack introduced a variation of the small VoIP dongle they’ve been marketing for years. They’ve dubbed the new device Magic Jack Plus, since it will operate with or without a computer, saving the cost of electricity to keep the computer online 24 – 7. MagicJack does charge for the convenience of operating without a computer, as the newer magicJack Plus costs $54.99 with six months of free service, versus $45 for the original Magic Jack and a full year of service. Even more recently, magicJack introduced the magicJack Plus 2014, for $57.37 (including six months of free service). You may want to hold off purchasing the Plus 2014 until the bugs are worked out.
The magicJack Plus should save its owner $40 per year over the cost of having a laptop operational 24 hours a day, and $90 a year to keep a conventional desktop operational 24 hours a day.
MagicJack Plus Needs a Computer?
There is a fly in the ointment however, as the new MagicJack Plus cannot operate wirelessly. Instead, you’ll have to connect Magic Jack plus to your router using an Ethernet cable. If you’re traveling or otherwise limited only to wireless Internet access, Magic Jack Plus will still operate by plugging the unit directly into your computer, using your laptop’s wireless capability to communicate with the Internet. For both Magic Jack Plus and the less expensive conventional Magic Jack, wireless operation allows you to take your home phone with you as you travel. By simply setting up your laptop in the hotel and taking advantage of its wireless network, you can make and receive calls just as if you were home. Alternately, you can take advantage of an app for the iPhone, iPad, or iPod, for Android devices, or for the Kindle to make and receive free calls while on the road.
Great Savings, Poor Customer Service
Regardless of the VoIP system you decide to use for your home phone service (ATT CallVantage, Vonage, etc.), you will save significantly over the ‘plain old telephone’ company – just makes you sure your Internet connection is adequate for the task. Your savings will be even more if you make use of Magic Jack or Magic Jack Plus as your phone provider. Know that you’ll be providing your own customer care, however. You may need to hunt for solutions online in blogs or forums, as Magic Jack provides very little technical help. If you’d rather not hunt online for answers, you can download an inexpensive eBook to refer to when problems occur. If it works well for you (as it has for many), you’ll save a fair amount of money over the years. If it doesn’t work for you, you’ll only have lost a few dollars trying.
Keep in mind that VoIP systems such as Magic Jack require a certain amount of attention on your part, given that they are so portable. It is convenient to be able to take your home phone number with you when you go on vacation, but emergency services have no idea where you are if you dial 911 while you’re on the road. Your willingness to provide your own customer service and to remain diligent will save you nearly $1000 a year, however.
You can take that to the bank.