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magic jack cables magicjack

A friend recommended that I pick up a magicJack before heading to Japan. Yesterday I did. What is magicJack you ask? It is a device/service that allows you to make free phone calls. I picked mine up at RadioShack for $40. You can also buy them online, but with shipping you’ll end up spending about $47.

I set it up at home on my laptop and at work on my desktop without incident. The installation process worked a little differently on each, and in neither case did it automatically install like it was supposed to. In both cases I had to launch an executable file that was supposed to run on its own. The install was fast and easy once I launched the correct file. I had no further problems.

Currently I spend about $25 a month for unlimited calls using Hopefully by the time I get back from Japan in 2010 magicJack will have local numbers in my area so I can use it instead.

With no local numbers available, I opted for a Eugene, Oregon phone number. I can still call anyone with this device in the U.S. or Canada for free even while in Japan.

The marketing on the package is a bit deceptive. It says “Free International Calls.” When you read the fine print what you will find is that “International Calls” means calls to the U.S.A. and Canada from anywhere in the world–not calls from the U.S.A. to anywhere in the world. So, when I’m in Japan, I can call the U.S. for free but I can’t call other numbers in Japan for free. It costs about $.02 a minute to call Japan landlines and about $.15 a minute to call Japanese cell phones.

One of the nice things about magicJack is you don’t have to have a headset, nice computer speakers/microphone, or a webcam to use it. You can simply plug in any phone and speak and listen through it. It does work through a headset or webcam though. Another nice thing, compared to Skype, is the other person doesn’t have to be using magicJack. You can call regular phones and regular cell phones without any additional fees.

The cost is really incredible. $40 gets you the device and your first year of unlimited calls. You can then pay $60 for 5 more years of unlimited calling to the US and Canada or $20 a year on a year-by-year basis. That is not a typo. $20 a year–not month–for unlimited calls, voice mail, caller id, etc.

Finally, not only will I be able to call from Japan for free, but since this is a U.S. phone number, friends and family from the U.S. can call me for free or for much lower rates than they would normally have to pay when calling Japan.

28 Responses to “magicJack”

  1. 1

    Yeah, our family absolutely loves the magic jack! It’s so easy to use, and useful, not to mention cheap! Hope you enjoyed Japan!

  2. 2
    liane crawford:

    Thank U for the info. My husband and I plan on getting one. I love caller ID, that’s real important along with the voice mail. I can’t wait to try it.
    We live in the U.S.A.

    Thanks again.

    Liane Crawford

  3. 3

    I wonder if this could work for a contact center setup in India?


  4. 4

    Tejas, It should work fine for such a situation providing they have a really fast internet connection. It is not going to work well if you have 10 users going through a single internet connection that can only upload at 1 MB/sec. You want at least 256 kb/sec upload speed per number.

  5. 5

    According to MagicJack’s FAQ’s THEY claim a computer needs at least 80kbps of speed. But one wonders about connections that have high download speeds, but upload speeds may be only 55kbps- it’s fairly common stuff in the states.

  6. 6

    So, okay. What you’re saying is, if I get MagicJack here in Florida that I can take that number with me to Japan? We are Navy and moving to Atsugi Japan in 6 months. We are trying to figure out if this will work for us. If I understand this right, we can call home to the USA from Japan, on our USA assigned phone number for free? And they can call us for free (on our end)?
    And if anyone we are calling has MagicJack it is free for them as well….is this basic summary correct?

  7. 7

    Yes. In fact I’m using it from Japan right now (and am heading over to Atsugi later today). The connection is not always great. If your internet upload and download speeds are 500k or higher then they are usually pretty good connections. Once I had a download speed of 5MB and an upload of only 200k. I could hear the other person perfectly but they couldn’t always hear me well. Here in Japan my current download speed is closer to 500k so sometimes the other party doesn’t come through as clearly.

    The phone call is free regardless of what the other party is using. You can call, or be called from, land lines, cell phones, etc.

    So your summary is correct except for the “if anyone we are calling has MagicJack it is free for them as well.” It will be free for them whether they have MagicJack or not.

    Regarding Atsugi… I’m pretty sure some people on the base have U.S. phone numbers. I’m not sure how that works.

  8. 8

    Magic Jack is a piece of junk. I’ve had it for four months and have been on their chat line at least a half dozen times trying to get it to work. I no sooner get one problem solved when something else goes wrong. Every time I download a software upgrade to one of the programs on my computer, Magic Jack stops working and I have to call them for another fix. Witness all of the FAQS on their site. That’s just too much downtime and too much fix time when you need your phone.

  9. 9

    Hey Chip, You may want to try a different computer. I’ve used it now hundreds of times on four different computers and never had a software issue. The only problem I have ever had is connection speed.

  10. 10

    ACASE, I want to call landline phones, homephones and cell phones from USA and Canada using Magic Jack from india. I have a broad band of 256 kbps will it work for me?

  11. 11

    It will work, but the connection may not always be great. Sometimes I have perfect connections. Sometimes there is an echo or slight delay. My connection speed is usually better than 256k bps though.

  12. 12

    Hi ACASE

    Thanks for you post and feedbacks. That’s really helpful

    Just want to make sure this. The way we can call US from anywhere, can we call Canada as well?


  13. 13

    Canada calls are free as well. All other countries called from magicJack do have a per minute fee though.

  14. 14

    This was such a helpful uh, blog? entry. Thanks so much. I just heard about this and I will probably be getting one since I live and work in Japan (and probably will be for the next two years). I just hope it doesn’t do anything bad to my computer…

  15. 15

    hi i just want to know how much kb does it charge your internet per minute while calling on the magic jack

  16. 16
    Magic Jack Spoker:

    Wow, that’s still pretty cheap, even when billed on a per minute basis. Hope you enjoyed Japan buddy, take care!

  17. 17
    Red Blanchard:

    I have used Magic Jack on several cmputers, and it always install itself as soon as you plug it in. The only problem I have ever noticed is a slight delay, which can be confusing when you try a fast back-and-forth conversation. I only found out today that you can take one to a foreign country and call US and Canada from anywhere there is a high speed connection!
    I will ber sending one to a friend in Japan and assume she will be able to call me. One question: If you send one to say, Japan, what phone number will be assigned to it?

  18. 18

    You get to choose the U.S. area code. The rest of the number is assigned. So if you have a friend or relative that will be calling you a lot, and they don’t have a free long distance calling plan, choose their area code and calls from them will be free for them.

    In other words, the phone number doesn’t change just because the location of the magic jack does. It will always be a U.S. phone number.

  19. 19

    I’m thinking about getting one for my boyfriend when he leaves to Japan. I was wondering, would he only need the internet? Or would he need the internet and a land line in Japan? Thank you so much!

  20. 20

    To call the U.S. he will only need the internet with MagicJack.

  21. 21

    Don’t you have to plug a phone line into the magic jack? How would a cell phone work? Thanks!

  22. 22

    Sorry, you are correct. You do need to plug a regular phone, not a cell phone, into the magic jack. You don’t need a land line connection though. I bought a small, cheap phone at radio shack for under $10 that I use.

  23. 23
    anand kumar:

    i want to do thsi job plz let me give details of this work…

  24. 24

    hi acase! quick question for you! Can i purchase the magic jack in okinawa Japan? or would i have to buy it here before we leave in order to have one? If you could help that would be great! thank you!

  25. 25

    I doubt you can find one in Okinawa. Buy it before, or if you are already there, buy it through the mail.

  26. 26
    Rica april:

    hi Acase … i would like to ask if magic jack works in saudi , my friend who work in saudi wants to get one for her and for her son who is in philippines,
    and my friend from ireland also want to get one so she can call her family anytime n philippines…

  27. 27

    It works from anywhere. However, you have to pay international rates if you are calling to a non-USA (or non-Canadian) phone number.

    If you have magicJack in both international locations the calls are all free.

  28. 28

    Ok, Im stationed here in Japan, I have no problems using the majicjack to call any state side number. This works great. Im trying to be able to dial a Japanese cell phone number with this. My Majic jack is registered and I have bought international minutes. I cannot get it to connect to a japnese cell phone. I did what they said by dialing the 011- 81 country code 98 city code, 8170/8180/8190 codes plust the cell phone number. It does not connect. I tried using the live chat but after hours of them telling me, Is the ringer on, is the battery dead, is their someone there to answer it, I gave up on it. Please can someone help. What is the sequence of secret coded number required to get my japanese cell phone to ring here in Japan.
    Thanks Dale