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Benefits and Drawbacks of MagicJack

Updated on October 24, 2013

The MagicJack Service

Over the last few years, VoIP has emerged as a viable alternative to traditional phone services. It offers many advanced features at a significantly lower per call cost when compared to plans offered by telecom carriers. Businesses can choose between many different VoIP implementations but consumers have had very few choices. MagicJack is one such choice offered by the company YMAX which allows consumers to make free calls within the United States and inexpensive international calls through VoIP.

MagicJack Overview
MagicJack Overview

How it Works

MagicJack is a device that has a USB port and a standard phone jack. It can be plugged into a computer at USB end and an analog telephone can be plugged into the phone jack. Once the included software has been installed on the user’s computer, it can be used to make VoIP calls. The device works in conjunction with phone service provided by the company. YMAX charges for the adapter and includes one year of domestic calling for free along with the purchase. After the first year, calling plans can be bought for one or five years at a time.

Benefits and Drawbacks

MagicJack offers many benefits to consumers. It allows individuals to make calls using the telephone they already have. It does not require any knowledge of computers beyond the initial installation process. There is no learning curve and almost everybody already knows how to use it. The device is also portable and can be used from any place which has a high-speed Internet connection. The service is also very cheap with the cost of an annual plan being less than most monthly plans offered by competing operators.

However it also has drawbacks. The device is proprietary and can only be used with the phone service bundled by the company. Not only does it require a computer for the initial setup, it also needs to be plugged in for the service to work. In other words for calls to be received, the computer needs to be on all the time. While basic telephony services are included, advanced features such as call forwarding, call transfer or voicemail transcription is not supported. Customer support and audio quality are two other areas where magicJack falls short significantly. Many customers complain of choppy call quality and interrupted connections. The company also does not offer any means of support other than web chat and an online knowledgebase, which can be frustrating for those facing any problems.

MagicJack has both advantages and disadvantages. It certainly won’t function as a business VoIP extension. However at such a low price, many consumers are opting to use this device either exclusively for domestic calls or as a secondary backup connection.

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