When we decided to move to Uruguay, one of the first questions we asked ourselves was, “How are we going to keep in communication with friends and family?”
Calling long distance is pretty expensive (like $2.50/minute), and we knew not everyone could afford those types of rates. We wanted to make sure everyone could call us whenever they wanted, and not have to worry about money.
Not to mention, when we conduct business… We do it with people in the U.S. and we don’t want to pay U$S 100 an hour to talk on the phone… Our profits would be gone.
We’ve been using Vonage for years, so we assumed once we made the move to Uruguay, we would continue using the San Diego number we had through the VOIP (voice over internet phone) service to communicate with friends and family back in the States. It was always reliable and only $24.99 per month for unlimited local and long distance calls in the U.S.
When we were in the States, we were on the phone a lot with our business, so Vonage worked well for us. But, we knew once we made the move to Uruguay that we’d be doing a lot of our communication via email, and the phone would only be used for personal calls and the occasional business call.
We tried Skype and had a ton of problems with it. We know some people swear by Skype, we’re just not those people.
Brian heard about MagicJack from an infomercial before our move to Uruguay. For only $39.99 for the first year and $19.99 each year after that (not to mention, once you sign up,
MagicJack will send you an offer to extend for an additional 5 years for $60), you get unlimited local and long distance calls to the United States and Canada.
MagicJack comes with voicemail, call waiting and call forwarding. The only downside is MagicJack does not allow you to retain your current phone number or transfer your number.
It sounded too good to be true, but we decided to order one and try it out… It was only $40…
We got it a few weeks before our big move to Uruguay, tried it with our high speed cable internet service a few times and immediately canceled Vonage. The service worked very well, the calls were crystal clear and it was a fraction of the cost of Vonage.
To use the MagicJack, all you need to do is:
- Plug your phone (any household phone will work) into the MagicJack.
- Or plug your headset into the MagicJack (most professional headsets will work).
- Or plug your handset into the MagicJack (most handsets will work).
- We have a “powered” phone, meaning it plugs into a power outlet. Everything works best when we plug the powered phone into the MagicJack. We use our headset and handset via the powered phone. The reason we think the quality is better is there are amplifiers in the powered phone which boost the signal.
- Plug the MagicJack into a USB port on your computer.
- Wait 30 seconds while the program loads.
- Pick up the phone and dial your call either via the keypad on your phone or via the soft phone on your screen.
- Talk to anyone in the US or Canada for free.
The voicemail sends you an mp3 to your email so you can listen to it through your computer… So you don’t have to worry about missing a message if you’re on your computer and the MagicJack isn’t plugged in.
This feature really came in handy when we first arrived in Uruguay and were still staying in the hotel because we couldn’t have our phone plugged into the MagicJack all of the time. The hotel had free WiFi (as most places here do)… And we just used the phone that came to the room
We’ve been using MagicJack regularly now that we’re living in Uruguay, and overall we’re very satisfied with the service.
We do lose the occasional call during the early evening hours due to our sometimes-slow Internet connection. But, that’s because we have ADSL Internet service, and the phone lines can only carry so much bandwidth (when we had cable Internet in the States, the sound was crystal clear and we never lost or even had interference in a single call).
For $20/year, we really can’t complain. We will definitely continue using MagicJack and don’t plan on going back to Vonage anytime soon.
I’m not so sure the service would be much better with any other VOIP service anyhow since they are all dependent on the Internet connection (We’ve heard similar concerns about dropped calls with Skype and Vonage use in Uruguay), and our only choice for High-Speed Internet here is ASDL.
If you’re living or traveling outside of the US, or planning to do so sometime in the near future, we highly recommend checking into the MagicJack.
How do you keep in contact with your family, friends and business associates when you’re abroad?