Thursday, September 30, 2010

Anti-recommendation: MagicJack (really cheap phone service)

I was so excited about MagicJack, the VoIP phone service that costs about twenty bucks a year (not a month, a year). I ordered one and tried it out this morning. Good voice quality, check; quick connection time, check; call my  neighbor to tell her how great it is... Wait a minute there! It would not call any New Albin number. Lansing was cool, but not New Albin. I could use my house phone to call the new MJ line, but I could not call home from the MJ line. This was not good.

I spent some time with live chat support and they seemed mystified, and eventually escalated my issue to the engineers and said they'd e-mail if they found anything to help.

So I googled and found out that there are a TON of small local exchanges that suddenly (as in, since about mid August) no longer can be called from a MagicJack line. Just can't do it.

Here's an incredibly long discussion of the topic. You can read the first page and then skim from there.

And here's a running list (editable) of exchanges that people have found so far that don't work with MagicJack:

The short version is that MagicJack has begun to block the small telcos, which are not cost effective for them. Which is fine if you don't call any of those exchanges, ever. You won't even notice. And besides, who would miss someplace like New Albin, Iowa? or Great Falls, Montana? Or the entire state of ALASKA??!! Yes, it's true. If you have a MagicJack, Alaska just got rubbed off the map for you. No polar bears for you, buddy!

I'm going to try netTalk next. They promise me they don't block anybody. Of course now that I have given them the idea, maybe they'll do that, too. But I'm going to try. I am on a mission.


Mo Harris said...

Dang. How does that adage go? If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true. Nobody lives in New Albin, right Maria? LOL

Mo Harris said...

Dang. So how does that adage go? If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true. When did live humans start living in places like Alaska or New Albin that would need phones anyway? LOL

Catherine said...

So glad you posted this. I was just about ready to sign up with MJ. Thanks for the correct information.

Mrs. Mac said...

you make a good guinea pig ;) .

Wendy said...

I tried magic jack on my laptop (which is ancient) and after a few minutes of talking my laptop just shuts off.

Probably needs a new fan, but that kinda killed magic jack for us!