13.4 – Powerful low cost telephone services-2014-07-15

Why are you not taking advantage of powerful low cost telephone services? The era of the Graham Bell landline based telephone services is OVER. Cellular and internet based telephony is what you need TODAY for unparalleled functionality and significant savings, by combining the FREE functions of: MagicJackGo, Hangouts and Skype.

In addition to their traditional landline telephone service, most people these days have personal computers, tablets, high speed internet and smartphones. By taking advantage of these technologies, you can now replace your COSTLY landline service, AT A FRACTION OF THE COST, for home phone services and more.

Every day, the younger generation is dropping the Graham Bell landline telephone service and relying on their cellular phone and computer based telephony. Since they generally have unlimited cell phone calling plans, they save on average $35/month or $420/year by getting rid of their landline phones.

On the other hand, a lot of people want a home phone service and don’t want to only rely on their cell phone for home telephony. For U$35 a year, with free long distances in the USA and Canada, you can get such a service, a saving of almost $400 a year without counting long distances costs. Too good to be true! Read this article and you will see what you’ve been missing.

Low cost landline telephone replacement

For over a decade, multiple suppliers have been offering landline replacement phone services using high speed internet Voice over IP (VoIP) technology. With most these services, you connect a device to your high speed internet modem or router, and your traditional telephone cord to the device. Once installed, you get a normal dial tone on your phone which operates the same way as your traditional landline based phone did. You can find the list, services and costs of the top ten suppliers by clicking on following link: http://voip-service-review.toptenreviews.com/

I was a very satisfied customer of a VoIP service (Vonage) for many years, until I found another service at a fraction of the cost while offering greater functionality: MagicJackGo. In addition, over the last few years, I have been using free video calling on my computer and later on my smartphone with Skype.

Lately, large computer and internet companies, such as Microsoft, Google, Apple, Facebook… have been fiercely competing to capture the telephony market and offer compelling telephony services for FREE or at very low costs. Below you will find a table comparing their key offerings. It is quite obvious that these companies contemplate capturing a fair chunk of the telephony market. This is why they try to lure people with FREE offerings which benefit the consumer. Why should you not take advantage of this?

The table below only highlights the dominant offerings that can provide landline equivalent services. It excludes Apple’s FaceTime, which it limited to Apple’s products, and Facebook’s WhatsApp, which don’t yet offer landline like services. ALSO, other less popular services, such as Tango, Viber and similar, which are not market leaders have been excluded.

For comparison purposes, I have included: Traditional telephone services, Cell phone services and MagicJackGo, since they represent competing and/or complementary services.

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NOTE: Certain functions of Hangouts and possibly Skype services require you to make available your phone number and other personal information public on your profile. In my case, I resent this and do not subscribe to that portion of their services which I can get through MagicJackGo as you will see below.

Landline replacement solution

Here is what I consider the best combination of telephony services functionality:

  1. A traditional landline replacement service at home, in the USA and Canada, using a traditional phone.
  2. A virtual phone number that follows you around where ever you are. By dialing your virtual phone number, people can reach you were ever you are at the time: for example, in Canada during the summer, in Florida during the winter, in France or anywhere else around the world, while on a trip or a vacation. In addition, people calling you from your virtual phone number area code can phone you FREE anywhere you are or live around the world. This can be quite significant in terms of savings for the whole family and friends!
  3. Emailed messages. In addition to being able to phone in to retrieve your missed calls messages, receive an email with the voice message. This makes sure you always know who phoned in a timely fashion.
  4. FREE calls, to landlines or cell phones, anywhere in the USA and Canada.
  5. Very low per minute fees for international calling.
  6. FREE SMS texting anywhere in the USA and Canada.
  7. While on Wi-Fi, avoid using your phone minutes for calling or texting, plus immediately answer calls to your virtual phone number on your mobile while away from home.
  8. FREE video calls and FREE video conferencing up to 10 people.
  9. Screen & file sharing while video calling or conferencing.

What should you do?

  1. Once you have implemented the recommended solution below, cancel your traditional landline service and save on average $35/month ($420 a year) plus the costs of your long distance calls in the USA and Canada.
  2. Replace your landline service and get all the above functionality by installing the combination of both MagicJackGo and Hangouts or Skype, if you don’t mind paying for some Skype services. You will get ALL the above functionality for an initial cost of U$60 (U$70 in Canada) for the first year, and an annual cost of U$35/year (U$45 in Canada) for MagicJackGo. The video calls and video conferencing up to 10 participants are FREE using Hangouts. A minimum yearly saving of $400, not counting the value of the added functionality you’re getting.

Products installation assistance

MagicJackGo

Then, visit the MagicJackGo web site at: http://www.magicjack.com/index.html

Since I have not seen any new functionality, in my opinion, MagicJackGo is a rebranding and repackaging of MagicJackPlus which I have been successfully using for the past few years.

Where to buy MagicJackPlus or MagicJackGo in the USA: MagicJackGo web site, RadioShack, Walmart, Target, BestBuy…

Where to buy MagicJackPlus in Canada: BestBuy, Future Shop, and TigerDirect

NOTE: Be careful to only buy the MagicJackPlus or the MagicJackGo devices. DO NOT BUY the old MagicJack device sold on Amazon, since it requires a computer to work. DO NOT PAY MORE for the MagicJackPlus 2014, since the Wi-Fi capability has not been implemented to my knowledge.

To install your MagicJackPlus or MagicJackGo, go to the MagicJack web site at:  http://www.magicjack.com/register.html and follow the video and web site instructions.

To activate your MagicJackPlus or MagicJackGo you will need to open an account and either transfer or select a phone number. You will have to enter a credit card to pay for the services. Please note your user name and password to manage your account and modify your services in the future.

Once your MagicJack account has been opened, go to the Android Play Store or Apple iTunes Store to download the FREE MagicJack smartphone app. NOTE: the MagicJack smartphone app also works on Android Wi-Fi tablets. I have installed it on my Samsung Galaxy Note 12.2 tablet.

Once you have the MagicJack app on your smartphone and/or tablet, your smartphone and/or tablet will ring every time you receive a call on MagicJack when connected to Wi-Fi. This means that you can answer your MagicJack phone calls anywhere on your Wi-Fi connected device. You can also make FREE phone calls from anywhere to anywhere in the USA and Canada, using your Wi-Fi connected smartphone and/or tablet, without using your phone plan minutes. For many people that are not heavy cell phone users phone users like me, you can opt for a pay-as-you-go low cost plan and save even more. In my case I use a $100/year cell phone prepaid plan. This means that my total Canadian home phone and cell phone expenses are down to about $150/year. What about you? In the USA and elsewhere, I buy local SIM cards for my unlocked smartphone and use a pay-as-you-go low cost prepaid plan. This is the cheapest way to go since I can often use my MagicJack app with Wi-Fi for many FREE calls.

Google Hangouts

To install Hangouts you need a Google account. When you install Gmail, which I recommend strongly, you will create a Google account. If you are already using Gmail you have a Google account. To open a Google account and install Gmail click on the following link: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=mail

I don’t know but I suspect that you cannot use Google+ and Hangouts outside of Gmail. You can try opening a Google account by clicking on the following link: https://accounts.google.com/SignUpWithoutGmail

Once you have installed Gmail and Google+ you can add the Hangouts plugins by clicking on the following link: https://www.google.com/tools/dlpage/hangoutplugin

You can learn more about how to install Hangouts by clicking on the following link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WkMBrY2pBiw

To download and install Hangouts on your Android tablet or smartphone, go to the Android Play Store and install the Hangouts app.

Microsoft Skype

To download and install Skype on your Windows computer, click on the following link: https://support.skype.com/en/faq/FA79/how-do-i-install-skype

To download and install Skype on your Android tablet or smartphone, go to the Android Play Store and install the Skype app.

To download and install Skype on your Apple devices go to the iTunes store.

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