Not too keen on MagicJack

Filed under: Information,Recommendations

I am expecting my beta invitation from Republic Wireless very soon.

voipIn case you don’t know Republic is a new cell phone company. They want to pass off most of your wireless services to WiFi. I think that’s a great idea and I’m mostly close to a WiFi signal when I’m using my phone. In exchange they have a really good rate ($19/month). I’ll write more about this experiment once I get my new phones

What does this have to do with MagicJack you ask?

I’m currently a T-Mobile customer, I also use T-M for my home phone. They have a really cool VoIP telephone service called @home that works really well. They give you a router that accepts a SIM card (or 2) and I ported my home phone to that card way back when porting your number was new. You plug your phone into your router and it just works. You makes all your phone calls over the Internet. It costs $15/month up from $10 originally. It’s still a good deal, but I’m not sure they will let me keep it if I drop my cell phones.

I thought I would check out MagicJack as an alternative. It seemed like a good deal, you don’t need to plug it in to a computer anymore and I figured VoIP is VoIP, so the quality should be the same.
My MagicJack arrived and I spent several hours trying to get it to work.

I plugged it in to my computer, installed the software, got my phone number and activated it. I plugged the MJ in to the power and my network, then plugged in the phone…
Nothing, but a message saying it couldn’t connect to the Internet. I plugged it in to my router and my switch. Nothing worked. I plugged my computers into the same wires and they worked fine, so I know that the network was connected to the Internet.

Near as I can tell, the problem may lie with port forwarding or my DNS settings. I love OpenDNS and wasn’t about to mess with that, so I started looking for other options.

That’s when I bumped into NetTalk. They offer the same service as MJ, but their prices are better and shipping is free. For $5 less than the MJ+ I can get a box that connects to the Internet by WiFi (if it works). That can save me a router port and let’s me put the box many more places. NetTalk also gives you a lot more free stuff with the basic plan (29.95/yr) including: Voicemail, Call Waiting, Caller ID, 3-Way Calling, 411, e-911, and more.

I also found out, in advance, there was a $20 charge to port my current phone number to Magic Jack. I thought was high, but not really a big issue. Then, I was really mad to find out after I got the unit that there was an additional $10 a year charge to keep that number. They only have to do that once, I thought that was much too much. Looks like it’s free to do that with NetTalk, for the time being, at least.

So, if it works, there’s no contest. I sent back the MagicJack and Ordered the NetTalk box.
I’ll let you know what happens.


  1. Good luck, let me know how it turns out. However I disagree that all voip is just voip. I have witnessed some very clear differences. But that’s a conversation for another day..

    Comment by Robert Stevens — May 13, 2012 @ 11:35 pm

  2. Will do, I plan to write about that, too.

    Comment by Jim — May 14, 2012 @ 6:38 am

  3. Hey we also have a MagicJack. We even have the installer too, but I don’t know how we can use it. It seems we can’t connect to the other phones in out of our area. So I am also looking for info how to use it too. Thanks for posting this though!

    Comment by John Ernest — June 10, 2012 @ 12:12 am

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