Comparing MagicJack to Vonage and Regular Phone Service

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So we all know about Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS is what telecom enthusiast call it). It's just regular telephone lines to your house coming to you on telephone wires. These days basic service usually hovers around 35 a month and with all the features most people are used to like call waiting, the ability to switch between people you're talking, maybe some kind of voicemail and some combination of call last caller back or caller ID. Usually with all those add-ons most people have a bill around 60 dollars. Then there's the state, local and federal taxes and charges. And of course the long distance issue. So all in all you can usually get any feature you want but you WILL pay for it.

A few years ago a couple of smart folks figured out you could talk to other people over your computer if you had a microphone and some speakers/headphones. People still do this today. But a few companies got the idea of connecting and actual telephone to the internet communication setup. And the term VOIP (voice over internet protocol) started working its way into everyday language. And eventually a market leader started to break away from the pack; Vonage.

I used Vonage for about 5 years. It had every single one of those features I described above and MORE. Things like call forwarding to multiple numbers. Or the ability to take your phone number with you when you traveled. Incredible. And the price was insane. 14.95 and 24.95. That included long distance. You could also port (keep) your existing phone number. The only downsides were; they refused to provide call blocking of individual numbers, you had to have a high speed connection (which was kind of pricey in the early 2000's), there was a little bit of fooling around technically when you first got setup with matching IP and MAC numbers, and the emergency 911 calling was not standard but some new thing they tried to assure users was OK. Basically it was good enough that I felt comfortable telling family and friends it was the way to go.

The cost of technology goes down over time. But my Vonage price kept going up and it was making me kind of mad. And I heard about MagicJack but it took me a year to finally buy one. Just like Vonage it does everything a regular phone does. Sound quality is great. The real shocking, and I mean shocking, thing is that the price is 20 dollars a year. The "equipment" is 20 dollars and you only pay for that once. It's a little USB plugin for your computer. But 20 dollars a year for a phone connection you connect your normal telephone to and talk to people is amazing. Like Vonage you can take the device anywhere when you travel and of course there are no long distance charges. And if you buy 5 years of service at 60 dollars the real price is ONE DOLLAR A MONTH.

The weaknesses; you have to actually have a computer turned on and connected to the internet to get it to work. You also can't keep your old telephone number, have to start fresh, and that seemed like a bummer at first but it is good to "wipe the slate" every once in a while. You can also forward calls to one number, but not multiple numbers like Vonage, (but you can use Google Voice to do that for free). Can't block numbers, but you can use Google Voice or Phone Tray and they're both free.

So it all comes down to how comfortable are you with changing phone numbers. Because in terms of service and features it's the same to better.

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David Rosenthal has 1 articles online

David Rosenthal writes for the internet and wrote about his personal use of MagicJack phone service.

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Comparing MagicJack to Vonage and Regular Phone Service

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This article was published on 2010/03/29