Since we move from place to place often, it is difficult for our friends, relatives and suppliers to keep track of where to reach us. We therefore need ONE “virtual phone number” meaning that whenever someone uses this number, we can be reached wherever we happen to be around the world. In our case, since we want a local phone number for the majority of our friends and relatives, we have chosen a Montreal (514 area code) phone number for our “virtual phone number”.
Not having hardwired phone lines and using Voice over IP (“VoIP”), such as Magic Jack Plus, plus downloading the Magic Jack mobile app on our mobile phones is what is required to achieve a “virtual phone number” environment. The only requirement is having access to high speed internet to connect the Magic Jack Plus device with the phone handset to, and/or having a WiFi connection for the mobile phone. When WiFi is not available, we use a mobile Wifi Hotspot. More details are provided in article “13.3 – Telephony and Internet with a WiFi Hotspot”.
Finally, this approach eliminates the need for traditional land line telephony services, costs a fraction of land line costs, and minimal costs for long distance (USA & Canada calls are FREE with Magic Jack Plus) and for international calling which costs pennies. Costs are detailed later on.
In our case we have:
- A local Magic Jack Plus Montreal (Canada) phone number (Area code 514), so that our Montreal area children, relatives, friends and suppliers are able to contact us, without long distances charges, were ever we are around the world.
- A local Magic Jack Plus Fort Lauderdale (FL-USA) phone number (Area code 954), so that our Florida relatives, friends and suppliers are able to contact us, without long distances charges, were ever we are around the world.
- A local Freeport, Bahamas phone number, for our Bahamas requirements.
- “Pay as you go/Prepaid” Mobile phone services in Montreal, Fort Lauderdale, Freeport and everywhere else we travel. A SIM card for each location.
- High speed cable internet services in Freeport and Montreal, where we pass most of our time, for internet service and to connect the Magic Jack Plus devices to.
- High speed mobile internet access, using a WiFi 4G LTE Hotspot, in Florida, Austin, Europe and everywhere else we travel.
- Our last resort for WiFi is using “Tethering” or “FoxFi Hotspot” on our mobile phones, as described in other articles.
The Magic Jack Plus costs as of November 2013 :
$49.99 to purchase the Magic Jack Plus device
$10 for a US phone number of your choice OR
CA$20 initially and CA$10 annually for a Canadian phone number of your choice
$99.75 for 5 years of service.
Per minute costs for calls outside the USA and Canada.
The total for 5 years in the USA: $49.99 + $10 + $99.95 = $159.94 for five years, or $32 a year.
The total for 5 years in Canada: $49.99 + $10 + ($10 x 5) + $99.95 = $219.94 for five years, or $44 a year.
If you can get a “virtual phone line” and lower cost phone service then above, please let me know.
Initializing MagicJack Plus
Before using MagicJack Plus, you must initialize it, open a MagicJack account and get a phone number. Go to the MagicJack web site at: http://www.magicjack.com/plus-v05/ to begin.
Click on window “1” under “Installs in 2 easy steps”, plug MagicJack Plus in a USB port on your computer and follow the instructions. You will then open an account with a MagicJack “Username” (usually your email address) and the “Password” you enter. Retain this information for future use.
When you open your account, MagicJack will offer you various options: pay for 5 years of service at a cost of $99.75, choose a USA telephone number for $10, or a Canadian telephone number for $20 initially and $10 per year thereafter … At that time, you will pay for the options you have chosen.
Once the initialization completed, plug your MagicJack Plus in an electrical outlet and connect an Ethernet wire and a telephone wire to begin using it. When you travel, bring MagicJack Plus with you and plug it in the same way.
If you want to change options on your MagicJack Plus account thereafter, go to “Login” at https://web05.magicjack.com/my/login.html enter your “Username” and “Password”. Go to “Account” to change or add options. There you can enable or disable the automatic renewal of your account or buy minutes for long distance calls to countries other than Canada and the USA.
Once you have installed the Magic Jack Plus service using a computer, you should download the FREE Magic Jack mobile App on your Apple or Android mobile phone and tablet. After you sign in for the service with your Magic Jack account username and password, each time you get a phone call, if your mobile is connected to WiFi, the call will also ring on your mobile in addition to your Magic Jack Plus phone at no cost. Further, all phone messages will be emailed to you. This is very useful not to lose track of messages.