I discovered a product today that is truly remarkable. You may have already heard of Skype. You may be using it. Skype enables you to make free phone calls to other users of Skype and to make low-cost phone calls to other land lines. But now there is a VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone system that delivers nearly free phone service to any phone in the US and Canada.
This product is called magicJack. It is a USB VOIP device that connects to your XP or Vista computer. After connected and setup, you simply connect a standard phone to the RJ11 jack. Once connected, you can make unlimited calls to anywhere in the US and Canada. What is also truly remarkable is that you can take this device to any computer in the world and use it on any computer and call anyone in the US or Canada. Each magicJack costs only $40. And service renewal is $20 per year after the 1st year. $20/year for UNLIMITED local and long-distance phone calls. Each unit gets a phone number associated to it. So, it also will receive phone calls, even if you are plugged into a computer in another country. All you need is an internet connection and a USB port.
Does this spell the beginning of the end to land line phone service? I think so. Land lines are an unnecessarily redundant communications system. As fast internet becomes more and more common, VOIP will become the new standard for home phone and for international access to the American phone system. This product and future competitive products explain why Verizon is bundling Internet with phone.
The only question I have is, will this eventually lead to free (or nearly free) phone service worldwide? OK. I have one other question. Is this something that can be used for business phone service? If you successfully integrate this into your business phone system, let me know!
magicJack can be found at http://www.magicjack.com. Compare it to http://www.skype.com and let me know what you think.