Monthly Archives: April 2008

MagicJack, skype killer?

It seems magicjack is a rising star in the hot voip market.

What did they get?

1. Calling is convenient. Connect a regular phone to the magicjack, plug the magicjack into a USB port, and make calls. That’s it.

2. Cost is low: Each magicJack costs $39.95 plus shipping and handling. This gives you one year of calling to the USA and Canada. You can purchase an additional year’s service for $19.95

 

What’s the differece from USB phone?

USB phone + installed softphone = Regular phone + magicjack.

Basically, they put everything pre-installed in the magicjack. So this is no-brainer totally. Even grandma can do it.

MagicJack’s success tells us that in the voip market, if you could do a little bit more than others, you could succeed. If you check the various voip solutions partially listed in this post: http://blog.nyworldphone.com/2008/03/06/various-voip-solutions/, you would see how to make voip calls, what’s our voip future are really up to our imagination. There’s still a lot of space that we can imagine.

To me magic jack is not so much better than others.

MagicJack is simple. But if you have buy others like vonage, what you need do to make a call is just connect your regular phone to the adapter, connect the adapter to the router, and make calls. Oh right, you need a router to have both of your computer and adapter “internet accessible”, and you need plug in the power supply etc. Big deal, we like las vegas but we don’t want travel?

MagicJack is cheap. Skype is 3 bucks a month for NA unlimited and has unlimited world plan. Speaking of cheap, icall.com and some others offer free calls to US and Canada.

MagicJack is portable. So what? If you have a laptop for MagicJack calling on travel, isn’t skype more simple? Just login and make calls. You don’t even need carry a regular phone. Grandma doesn’t know how to use skpe? Does she carry a laptop to use MagicJack? Does she know how to get the internet access on travel? Actually, I would recommend her to carry a pre-configured sip phone on travel. Connect it to internet and make calls. That’s even smaller than a laptop.

MagicJack can be sent to another country. You can send a adapter too. For simpler, just send a link for skype without shipping fee.

MagicJack is small. What’s the size of skype?

MagicJack has all these features, portable, simple, cheap, small etc. Actually there’re already some dedicated skype phones, such as Linksys CIT400 Wireless IP Phone. The price is not cheap. We have to turn on our computer to use MagicJack which obvious is not a good solution for permanent household using. I would expect some sip service with similar pricing to MagicJack. I bet the pre-configured adapter would make Grandma even happier.

Even all this, MagicJack offers another solution, a new option and it’s kind of cute(see the picture above). People love to try new things.

— Alen

Skype! Unlimited World Plan $9.95/month

Unlimited World

Unlimited calls to landlines* in 34 countries.
No long-term contract. No connection fees.

$9.95/month

 

Unlimited calls to landlines* in

  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada (incl. cell phones)
  • China (incl. cell phones)
  • Chile
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Guam
  • Hong Kong (incl. cell phones)
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Korea, Republic of
  • Luxembourg
  • Malaysia
  • Mexico (Mexico City)
  • Mexico (Guadalajara)
  • Mexico (Monterrey)
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Singapore (incl. cell phones)
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Taiwan
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (incl. cell phones)

 

And there’s a special offer now – buy 3 months and only pay for 2. Ends June 1st 2008.

Skype also offers Unlimited US & Canada for $2.95.

  • United States (incl. cell phones)
  • Canada (incl. cell phones)
  • Unlimited Mexico for $5.95 which covers

    • Mexico (Mexico City)
    • Mexico (Guadalajara)
    • Mexico (Monterrey)
    • United States (incl. cell phones)
    • Canada (incl. cell phones)

    Since betamax’s service is so bad and rates vary so much, so fast without updating website information. You might want to go for skype for international calling. But the only thing I don’t like about skype is that people have to use it with computers. People have tried to use it with asterisk. But I’m not sure how well it works.

    wakacall offers free minutes and easy calling card solution

    Wakacall plan is from voipagain(VoipAgain.com).

    It’s rates can be seen on http://www.voipagain.com/rates.htm and choose wakaCall or go to http://www.voipagain.com/waka30.htm directly. They offer different plans. Wakacall is one of them, which is currently active.

    They offer free minutes to the free zones. To see the free zones, go to http://www.voipagain.com/rates.htm and choose wakaCall free zone or go to http://www.voipagain.com/wakacall.htm directly.

    They have another free minutes policy which is also kind of tricky.

    *FREE CALL Rules:

     

  • Maximum 500 minutes of FREE CALLS to our FREE destinations over any 7 day period.
  • We want you to experience our service for yourself.
  • Your first 10 minutes of calls to over 30 selected countries using our service will be FREE.
  • After the first 10 minutes of FREE calls, if you’re over 11 minutes, you will be automatically
          charged for the whole minutes based on the destination.
  • When the 500 minute FREE limit is exceeded, normal rate will be automatically charged based on the destination.
  • The voice quality not only depends on the destination, your network quality etc, but also the calling softphone/device. My experience is that eyebeam 1.1 is better than xlite 3.0 and BuzzSip. I have not tried it with devices.

    There are one set of username/password for web login, one set of account#/pin# for calling account. To configure wakacall on sip phone:

    For wakaCall Plan

    Configuring X-Lite 3.0

    Once X-Lite is installed on your computer, you will need to add the following Account Details.

    Use the drop down arrow at the top of X-Lite to access the “SIP Account Settings”. Click on add and enter the details provided below: 

    ************************************
    Note that you only need to change set the
    User Details, Pin and Domain Proxy.

    ************************************

    Display Name:      – your name goes here –

    User Name:      – this is your account number –
    Password:        – this is your PIN number-
    Authorization User Name:        – Blank –
    Domain:           sip.checkcdr.com

    * Register with domain and receive incoming calls – must be checked.

    * Send outbound via – “domain”.

    You are now ready to start calling with wakaCall! 

    Or you could try BuzzSip:

    BuzzSip v3.2, our free & preferred softphone.

    Download VoipAgain

     

     

     

    wakaCall also offer calling card method, which is good for people who want to call without internet. To do that, they could buy a local DID number and directed to their calling card gateway.

    But you may need check the voice quality to make sure it’s good for you. The voice quality could differ a lot for different people.

    Mobivox: Another VOIP service to substitute betamax

    Betamax had pretty good rates for international calling. But due to a lot of problems (check more details at http://blog.nyworldphone.com/2008/02/06/betamax-voip-services/), people may want to to find another one to substitute.

    I checked around and found that mobivox(www.mobivox.com) has a free minutes policy which is similar to gizmo project. But not like gizmo, people can make calls from regular phones.

    Here is their description about the free calling policy.

    3.1 What is the offer: “Free calls between MOBIVOX users”?

    MOBIVOX offers free local and international calls from any phone to any other MOBIVOX member in over 40 destinations worldwide. If you are calling outside of these areas or calling friends and+ family who are not MOBIVOX members, …

    3.2 What destinations are included in free calling?

    Free calls between MOBIVOX members are available FROM anywhere (any country and from any phone) to:

    A) Members’ mobile phones in::
    Canada, China, Guam, Hong Kong, Puerto Rico, Singapore, Thailand and United-States (including Alaska and Hawaii).

    B) Members’ landline phones in:
    Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Guam, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico (Mexico City, Monterrey, Guadalajara), Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia (Moscow and St. Petersburg), Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United-States (including Alaska and Hawaii), Turkey (Ankara and Istanbul), United Kingdom and Venezuela-Caracas.
    C) All Skype™ users on Skype™

    3.4 What does it mean if my account is inactive?

    If you have not made any type of call in the previous six months, your account will become inactive. This means that you cannot make or receive free calls on MOBIVOX. Any credits that are in your account at the time it is made inactive will be lost.

      3.6 What’s the “fair-use” policy?
    The fair use policy allows us to offer free calling to our users. The continuation of the free calling depends on the cooperation of the MOBIVOX community.

    For calls placed through a local access number, users are entitled to receive 250 minutes of free calls per week (Monday-Sunday UTC (GMT).

    For Web and SMS Call Backs, users who have added a minimum of $5 of credit to their account, will receive 250 free minutes of Web and SMS Call Back per week. For users who have never added credit to their account, Web and SMS Call Backs will be limited to a lifetime total of 250 free minutes per phone number. Once 250 minutes of free calling using either SMS Call Back or Web Call Back is reached, users will be charged at the standard rate to complete this call. To ensure you receive 250 free minutes per week of Web and SMS Call Backs, please make a minimum deposit of $5 to your account.

    3.7 How do I know that a call will be free?

    No Surprises! We will tell you if a call is free before connecting your call.

    Make sure:

    • You have made at least one MOBIVOX call
    • Your friend or family member’s phone number is registered in their profile
      • Your friend has made at least one MOBIVOX call
      • You are calling one of our free destinations. See here.
      • You did not cross the free call limit of 250 minutes. You can always consult your Call History.

    Check more details here: http://www.mobivox.com/help/FAQ?go=3#q3-7.

    They have different ways to initiate calls. If you want to learn more about different calling methods for voip, here is a simple explanation/guide: http://blog.nyworldphone.com/2008/03/06/various-voip-solutions/.

    I’ll try it and post my experience later. First thing I’m concerned is the voice quality. Another thing about the “free” thing is the tricky policy about “active users” which is like gizmo project. We’ll see how it works.