I'd like to share my experience using Magic Jack (as seen on TV) to make phone calls, but first I'll give a quick history of my telephone experience (not counting 900 numbers).
From Land Lines to Internet Phone
When I started my real estate business, I got a land line (or I think I used my parents'). Anyway, the “local long distance” charges added up–these are charges for calling phone numbers within your area code, but farther away from your house.
Then I moved to Utah and kept investing in Virginia. I got a different long distance service (land line again) and I spent about $120-130 per month, as every call was pretty much long distance out of state.
This, for some reason is cheaper per minute than long distance calls within the state. Don't ask me why. Don't ask anyone why, because it doesn't matter anymore. We have Voice Over I.P. now (Vonage and other phone services that runs off the internet) so there's no reason to ever go back, in my opinion, unless you still have dial-up, pedal your stone-wheeled car to work in the quarry, and your daily shower involves snot-laced water spewed from the trunk of a wooly mammoth.
Vonage was great, till something better came along
Then I “switched to Vonage” two years ago. Our phone bill went down to $34/mo including taxes and fees, saving us over $1,000 per year.
I plugged my phone into a black box, which I then plugged into the internet and a power outlet. The reception was fine (except when using GotoWebinar, for some reason) and the only problems were 1) One or two days a year the phone would not work, and 2) Every few months I would have to unplug the box from the wall, wait 30 seconds, then plug it in again.
This was a small price to pay for saving $1000 because even if you have all the money in the world, $1000 will buy you yet another gold-plated ashtray to put in your sports car (until it gets full, at which time you would abandon the car and buy another, faster one).
Magic Jack rocked my world
So I took a friends's advice and bought Magic Jack. It was $60, and I'll be billed $20 once per YEAR after that. That will save me several hundred dollars per year, or, for you guys who have yet to outgrow toys, a new big-screen TV every 2 years.
It's a 1.5″ x 2″ boc you plug into your computer and then plug your phone into it. It works like any other phone, and has voicemail, call waiting, can store your contacts, etc. It's the best office investment I've made in a while.
The only downsides are:
1) It takes up 2 USB ports because it's so big. You plug it into one on your computer, but then it will block the port next from it from having anything else plugged into it.
2) You can plug it into any computer anywhere in the world without paying for long distance. That's cool. But the image of me at Starbucks with a laptop on the table, and me jawing away on a freaking desk phone would probably look as goofy as those guys who walk around with Bluetooth devices on their ear when they're not even using them.
But anyway, #2 doesn't even matter to me, and #1 isn't really a big deal compared to the revelrous joy I experience from having yet another gold ashtray in my sports car every year. I recommend trying Magic Jack for yourself (and send me a check for the difference)