I finally purchased a VoIP phone device. I went with the MagicJack Plus over the Nettalk Duo, since I couldn’t figure out if the Nettalk offered the area code I wanted. I knew by the MagicJack’s site that the 317 area code would be available to me. In some reviews, I think the conclusion was the call quality was a little better with the MJ but it’s hard to say for sure, since there can be a few variables (your specific phone, your internet connection, etc.).
The MagicJack Plus is a big upgrade over the MagicJack, since with the Plus, you do not need to have your computer on for it to work. It plugs into your router or modem, and then to a wall outlet for power. You run a regular phone into the jack, so you can choose a cordless or a corded phone if you prefer. Note that in a power outage, your phone will not work and you’ll need a cell phone or an alternate line if you needed to place a call.
I borrowed a cordless phone from my grandma to test. My mom and dad could hear me fine, but my mom said there was a slight mechanical quality to my voice. However, I couldn’t hear them very well at all. It was just too quiet. I suspected it was the phone, so today I went and bought a new cordless phone for about $15.
This model did have a volume control and I was able to hear my dad and grandma (both on regular landlines) clearly and with appropriate volume. There was a slight bit of static interference, and I don’t know if that was on my end or theirs or what. Today is exceptionally windy here in Indiana, but I don’t know that it should be affected on my end since my calls are going through the modem.
I will call Shane later today on his cell phone to test how it is, and I’ll probably place a few other test calls as well.
I paid $69 plus tax at Radio Shack. This includes the MagicJack Plus device and necessary cables, and 12 months of unlimited calls, with free voicemail, call waiting, E911, and caller ID. Next year, my bill will be $30. For the year. That’s $2.50 a month!
I looked at our cell phone usage in the last few months and decided I could further reduce our calling plan, so now we have the lowest-minute family plan available. I’ll continue to track our normal usage over the next few months and maybe it will make sense for me to split it from a family plan into some pay-as-you-go plans.
Or, perhaps I will go for a prepaid cell for my own purposes, and Shane will keep a contract plan. Whatever makes the most sense for our usage. I will need to wait for my next bill to find the exact monthly cell phone bill with tax, but I think I cut it by $5-10/month. That alone could amount to a $60-120/year reduction in expenses. My bill will probably be around the $50/month mark, and a few months ago when I had the 1400 shared minutes plan (and was using that many for house-related calls!) our bill was around $100.
Either way, I think that the MagicJack Plus is going to save us money in the long run. I’ll be able to talk as much as I’d like at home (which is where I place most of my calls anyway).
I can’t say for sure if it would be worth it for YOU to run out and buy a similar VoIP thing. I do think it’s worth it for you to evaluate your telephony needs. If you are placing most of your calls while at home, maybe a landline of sorts could be a cheaper option. Maybe you don’t need a plan with as many minutes, for instance.
(Note: I hope this post didn’t sound like a spammy infomercial. I did indeed pay for my own MagicJack Plus, and I haven’t received compensation in any way from anyone about this thing).