A few weeks ago a few friends approached me about Internet based VoIP solutions for their home phone. They were fed up with the $100.00+ phone bills and weren’t really excited about giving any more money to the local cable television company(Comcast). I’ve been an AT&T CallVantage VoIP customer for the past 2-3 years so I was obviously ready to recommend AT&T CallVantage until I discovered that they are no longer accepting new customers. While I wasn’t ready to recommend Vonage or any of the other solutions out there I did comment to them about the recent buzz around a product called MagicJack. The MagicJack USB adapter itself costs approximately $39.95 and includes the first year of service free while subsequent years are $19.95 a year (yes you read that right $19.95/year). The solution requires a Windows XP or MacOS desktop/laptop and utilizes your broadband Internet connection. I personally know of two folks that are currently utilizing the solution and they absolutely love it and they are admittingly not very technical or computer savy. However, they simply love the solution and they both estimate that it’s saving them between $75 and $100 a month in long distance phone charges. The solution has scored numerous product awards including PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice award.
So while I’m not exactly sure what I’ll do myself since it’s probably only a matter of time until AT&T pulls the plug on CallVanage it seems like MagicJack could be a great solution for those teenagers heading off to college. They’d no longer have an excuse for not calling home every once-n-while. :)
I found this chilling EULA information when researching more into the MagicJack:
“You also understand and agree that use of the magicJack device and Software will include advertisements and that these advertisements are necessary for the magicJack device to work … Our computers may analyze the phone numbers you call in order to improve the relevance of the ads” Source: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/04/14/magicjacks-eula-says.html
I mean, I would not want those “advertisements” on my computer at all. Who knows what information they could be collecting.
Michael McNamara says
Thanks for the feedback Gabe. I know quite a few folks have been trying to figure out where’s the business plan in MagicJack and more so where’s the revenue stream coming from. While none of the reviews mentioned anything sinister the phrase Caveat Emptor (buyer beware) might certainly apply.