magicJack: Cheap, Way Overhyped, But Really Works [telecom]

Personal Technology from The Wall Street Journal

magicJack: Cheap, Way Overhyped, But Really Works

February 17, 2010 by Walter S. Mossberg

When I see a high-tech product that's advertised mainly via frequent hard-sell TV ads, as if it were a diet pill, I tend to assume it can't be very good, especially if its price is absurdly low. So, I haven't paid much attention to a product called magicJack, a small $40 adapter for your computer that claims to let you make unlimited domestic phone calls over the Internet with your home telephone free for a whole year-and for just $20 a year thereafter.

But after receiving reader requests to review magicJack, I decided to do so. To my surprise, it worked pretty much as advertised. It has a few drawbacks, and extra fees for added services, such as vanity phone numbers. But I found magicJack easy to set up and easy to use, and it yielded decent, if not pristine, call quality. I even tested customer support-a source of complaints online-and found it friendly, fast and responsive.


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***** Moderator's Note *****

Good grief! When are journalists going to figure out that that vendors always divert their IP addresses onto the "next up" position of the "expert" queue?

We had a couple of long threads about MagicJack recently: according to "2600", the company is a bad choice for VoIP. YMMV.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Monty Solomon
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It's better. I got five years of service for $69 which works out to $13.80 per year, or $1.15 a month. Not too shabby.

Reply to

Assuming that MJ stays in business for 5 years and doesn't change their TOS...

***** Moderator's Note *****

When we talk about the cost of VoIP, there's always the 800 pound gorilla in the room: i.e., the never-ending debate about how much, if any, of the cost of a VoIP customer's Internet connection to include in the calculation. In the case of MagicJack, I've seen reports that the service comes with pop-up ads on your PC: I'd appreciate hearing about that aspect from "T", and other users, since it invites a question about "quality of service" with respect to the value of a user's time, ability to use the PC, etc.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Robert Neville

Magicjack advertises free directory assistance. Does anyone know what database it uses? I assume these aren't genuine telephone company listings.

Reply to
Adam H. Kerman

Not on mine. That's because I don't use Internet Explorer.

Reply to
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