Magic Jack - The Philippine Experience

Magic Jack - Philippine experience

About two weeks ago, my mom came home from Canada where she had to visit her ailing sister. They brought home a Magic Jack with them. I normally use VOIP myself using Skype to call my relatives but that seems to be very hard for my mom and her siblings to do. She is 82 years old but is still very active. She just hates computers (LOL).

What is Magic Jack

Magic Jack is an easy to use plug-and-play device that you hook up to your USB port to give a very simplified VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service. This device as shown above currently sells for USD 39.99. With this device and the amount paid, you get unlimited calls to any US and Canadian number, you get your own US number, voice mail, conference calls - this is for a whole year with the said subscription. There are no monthly charges and it would cost 19.99 USD to renew every year. Your Magic Jack number can call another magic jack number, any US or Canadian number, even cellphones. The device can connect to the usual land line phone provided by regular phone companies. There is also another option to simply plug the device in your laptop and use it as a soft phone with of course a fast internet connection - even thru wifi.

Installation

Installation was fairly simple. I just plugged it in my USB and the system did everything by itself. It does not matter if your PC or laptop is USB1.1 or USB2.0 capable, I have tested both and there were no issues. There was a little snag when it did not run the first time. There was an option however to click an update and it was easy after the update. After a successful install, one has to register the device so that the system can assign your US Number.

Advantages

The foremost advantage will be cost savings as there will be no monthly charges. In the Philippines, we are charged nominally USD 0.40 cents a minute so what we paid for will only be good for 100 minutes using our regular phones or cellular phones.

The Next advantage from our point of view will be some ease in operation more so for someone who is not that adept in computer skills. Take my mom and her siblings for one. They will not even touch a mouse so the Magic Jack, once up and running - will be a simple as calling our local neighbor using a regular landline phone. My mom simply need to dial the number and not even touch anything on my laptop or PC. The device was designed for someone who don't even have basic computer skills. Yes - it will not operate if the PC is off - but we do not turn off our PC's in our house. This one is for my mom. Her siblings are mostly in Canada and a lot of friends in the US. It does not work for someone in Guam (landline or cellphone) not unless they have magic jack too.

This is also advantageous where the cost of IDD calls are so ridiculously high like India. They just need to install the system to take advantage of this just like anywhere else.

Requirements

Magic Jack will install on any decent PC. I installed this on my old Pentium4 desktop on a USB 2.0 and installed it again on my old Thinkpad USB 1.1. In both instances, it worked well after some time. It was not a breeze to install it but I simply plugged it and it did install after I downloaded the update.

It should also be noted that as in all VoIP devices, this will demand some bandwidth on your system so our initial try with my old 128/64 kbps DSL connection was awful. The service was hardly usable. We had to upgrade to a better connection using the Globe WiMax @ 1 Mbps maximum.

Using my bandwidth monitor software - it is recommended that one use the fastest connection of at least a steady stream of 256kbps on both download and upload. to test your system, before you even try the device - you can check your VoIP capabilities on visualware.com. I monitored the system with an ongoing call. The best quality of call was achieved on a steady stream of at least 100kbps. Lower speeds can still be acceptable with some clipping.

Quality of calls

After we upgraded our measly and cheap connection from 128kbps to 1Mbps, the quality of call can be compared to a local call, There were only some instances of delay since our upgraded broadband connection was wireless, new, and not that reliable yet. Assuming that they maintain the speed they promised, typical of steady streams we get from better and faster DSL/ADSL, then calls will be very clear more so during non-peak hours of usage and when the network does not demand resources and bandwidth is a lot better.

Conclusion

I have read from some hubs and blogs that there is much to be desired from the service for the more demanding. Of course, Magic Jack simply presents an option - a cheap option at that for someone in the Philippines so that IDD charges are done away with. It surely is one way to connect to family and friends in the US and Canada without the dents in our wallet. For us - this is a plausible alternative!


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Comments 42 comments

marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 7 years ago from Philippines Author

To Deedee,

Thanks for your email. I have updated the hub to include installation and updated the broken link at visualware also to check voip capability.


gigi 7 years ago

Thanks for the info Marlon. Noli is really planning to buy one 'coz my son will be staying in Jacksonville for a year. As you said, we need a cheaper and more reliable means of communication. Siempre ang mga nanay gustong i-check ang mga anak lagi. At dagdag pa ang tsika sa mga klasmeyts sa US at Canada! Yeheyyyy!


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 7 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Gigi,

That will surely be some cheap way to get tot your son - practically all the time as long as you get a really good internet provider. More benefits for you - all the sweet time to get to our classmates. Regards to Noli. Thanks for the comment.


harrisdy profile image

harrisdy 7 years ago from New York

great hub!


olah 6 years ago

does magic jack can be used in guam?


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 6 years ago from Philippines Author

Hi Olah,

It can be used anywhere. You just need a pc and a decent internet connection. You can call US Mainland and Canada for free or anybody using the device anywhere in the world.


Ja-mes 6 years ago

What you forgot to mention though is: is it also free to the party you are calling, granting they do not have a magicjack? That information should not be left out, yeah it's free for you but what about the people you are calling without it?


chi 6 years ago

ja-mes

- i haven't verified this yet since experience varies among users but to try and answer your question. since you will be given a US number along with your magic jack, i think that itl also be free for those in US to call you cuz its juz like making a regular call, im just not sure with regards to area codes cuz im not familiar with charges (if there is any) and call rates to/from different area code


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 6 years ago from Philippines Author

@Ja-mes - I guess that will all depend on their US Phone plan. As far as my friends and family, I don't think they are charged at all for incoming calls pretty much like our system in the Philippines - no charges for incoming calls, too - local or overseas. And yes, it is free for any US phone to call MJ numbers, they are treated as local calls - no charges if well within your plan. Verizon friends call past 9 - to avail of the unlimited option.


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 6 years ago from Philippines Author

@ Chi - Thanks. Mostly free to and from, except for Hawaii and Guam.


Menchie 6 years ago

I have magic jack registered in toronto canada. kapag ba tinawagan ko friend ko sa US may charge ba ako or siya?


gigi 6 years ago

what would be the number that will appear on my cellphone if the other caller from saudi use magicjack to call on my cellphone here in Phils?? Thaks


LanVox 5 years ago

hi marlon,

well written article.

yes, magic jack is very popular cuz its a better option than skype. but unknown to most computer users, there's still another option that requires no computer at all! it's a stand-alone unit and u can leave it online 24/7. this is perfect for 82-year old moms.

we're supplying pre-configured phone adaptor called MagicBox.PH. in the Philippines. unlike MJack, it's accessible via 200+ access numbers in USA, Canada and 35 more countries. the only downside, it works only with RJ-45 modems. for more info, we're present in Facebook.

hope we shared something new.


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 5 years ago from Philippines Author

@menchie - depending on the plan they have, normally free unless they are being charged with incoming calls.

@gigi - it is best that you have a pair, one in saudi, and another in the philippines, else it beats the purpose since there will be charges everytime one call or you have to buy credits for the MJ, just like sype.

@LanVox, very interesting for the 35 countries outside US and Canada, price is however a bit steep,for starters, against MJ. At least you present another alternative. Thanks for the info.


mickael 5 years ago

hi guy im in canada my girlfriend ak me why i don't get magicjack just like her sister do in philipinnes

here my question if i register on the net with a local phlipinnes number but while i stay in canada and do call in philipinnes shuld i get it to work?

or i need to use one local number from quebec

i need to be able to call ion san franscisco and manila

so i wonder what are my best option


LanVox 5 years ago

@marlon: although MBox is priced higher but for voice-only it's cheaper because there's no need to invest for a PC.

re gigi's - VoIP is blocked in Saudi, isn't it? one solution is to tunnel VoIP (requires another device). if VoIP is not possible, MagicBox.PH can come in. how? instead of saudi calling the Phils, use MBox to call Saudi! one customer used it to call Dubai - only PhP 7.00+ per minute.

@mickael: if u mean "from canada, u can call phil numbers", it wont work. our phone companies here don't offer that service. in MagicJack, Vonage or MagicBox, it's the other way. they have USA/Canada numbers. they can call any number in USA/Canada/other countries (accdg to plan). if u really need to call any number in manila from SFO, you need a PSTN gateway in manila.


Ted Razon 5 years ago

anybody needs magic Jack, call Mia or Dong at (043)421-1352

FREE DELIVERY anywhere in the Philippines


meadows 5 years ago

how should i set up MJ if I live in Guam and need to call/receive calls to and from the US mainland? Thanks


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 5 years ago from Philippines Author

@meadows - just buy the MJ and set it up in Guam. Your number however will reflect a "mainland" area code - your choice upon registration.


Gene 5 years ago

For business purposes, is it possible to have Philippine phone number instead of US or Canada as an option?


paula constantino 5 years ago

hi gud day.. do magic jack have a service center here in the philippines ?? and where it is ?? kindly send me the infos about that.... here's my email address paulatashayasayconstantino@yahoo.com... thnx


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 5 years ago from Philippines Author

@gene - no only US numbers. you may be able to forward but that will entail cost that beats the very purpose of cost-saving using voip.

@paula - i don't think so. if there is any, it is in the usa. these are typically throw away when they no longer work. in my case i just opt for the yearly renewal instead of the 5 year but reduced price option.


abe 5 years ago

paano po gamitin ung magic jack? di ko po mapagana eh... kinabit ko na ung fone line sa magic jack tapos ung magic jack sa pc nadoiwnload narin siya sa pc kaso pana siya iconvert sa telephone para ung telephone ang gamitin ko pantawag hindi ung magic jack sa pc? tska need pa ba iregister ung magic jack? tga d2 po ako sa qc pinadala lng po ng tita ko sa new jersey ung magic jack d2... pls help me naman po...


abe 5 years ago

how to register my magic jack here in quezon city so the system will assign me my us number?


marlonduba profile image

marlonduba 5 years ago from Philippines Author

@abe just plug it in and it will prompt you on the next steps when you click register, you need to input some date like email - this is important for the voice mail notifications in missed cals. sometimes response is slow, just be patient - it may have to update the software. you will get to the point of the numbers and you get to choose what US area code you want to use.


Lexi 4 years ago

Can I call with my magic jack app on iPhone in the US to another magic jack number in the Philippines for free... No charge at all for me or the others?


Lexi 4 years ago

I wanted to add something else, my mj number is different (Us) and I want to call a different mj number that is different that is in the Philippines installed to a computer... Remember mine is an app on my iPhone 3GS.. Thank so so much for future help and thank you for right now :)


joshua 4 years ago

,,hello i cant install my majicjack into my laptop when i plug it on this is the one that appears (DOWNLOAD IN PROGRESS PLEASE DO NOT UNPLUG) its just like that nothing changes even if the time is already too long,, is my majicjack broken?


alfie 4 years ago

hi.. sir dito po ako philippines and my wife po nasa italy.pwedi ko ba magamit yan sir pantawag kay misis ko cellphone man or kaya sa landline? thnx sir.


robert 4 years ago

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RichardRR 4 years ago

how about sa phone lang walang PC or laptop papano po sya gagana ba or kailangan may computer talaga


beth 4 years ago

may magic jack ako, nah installed ko na tapos kapag try ko na tumawag, hindi ko marinig ang tinatawagan ko at hindi rin ako marinig. ano ang problema dito?


prince 4 years ago

hello marlon why i cant make a call from here to texas everytime i dial the number given in the magic jack ill always get into an operator saying direction go to folder press 2 press star for help etc ...,and didn't connect to my relatives in texas


mitch 4 years ago

I would like to know if i will buy MJ here and i am going to make calls to EDmonton, AB wud they be charged? I guess there are charges for the incoming calls in Edmonton. Besides, I understand there's an annual fee i have to pay, so if i buy it here how do i pay the annual fee? please help.


jimmy 4 years ago

panu gamitin ang magic jjack kung yung phone ayaw mag excees s magicjack at computer????di ko kse magamit ang magic jack ,,,from u.s.a pa galing ang mj...


biscuit 4 years ago

panu po make call sa cellphone,, inbound..


jhen 4 years ago

pwede bang i-register dito sa pilipinas ang magic jack na binili sa U.S?!


xavier 4 years ago

mo i don't


daisy_g_s 4 years ago

Does MJ work in Kuwait? i was trying to call to kuwait from the phil but it just hang. hope to hear any feedback.


ILAH 4 years ago

@ mitch, you can register your MJ thru their website and there's an annual fee of $40.00. My sister in Manila is using her iphone with an internet simcard to make calls to me in NJ, so there's no need to use the PC.


Hervin 4 years ago

My brother's in Canada and I think I can make use of this. Just wanna ask, can I use this for local calls (Philippines)?


MagiBox.PH 3 years ago

magicJack and any other gadgets is okay unless ... the Internet connection is doing fine. Most of the problem is not due to device itself but the Internet connection in the Philippines! Now here's where MagicBox.PH shines over magicJack, Vonage, or Ooma - tech support. Since we're based in the Philippines, we can coordinate problems with Philippine ISPs! For Filipinos outside USA/Canada, MagicBox is reachable in 37 countries. Search us in FB or http://m.magicbox.ph.

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