I have a home line and a business line and because I live in the boonies, I have to have a long-distance package on both. It’s costing me a pretty penny. So I’ve been thinking about switching to one of the alternative services to save some money.
The first thing I looked at came on the recommendation of a co-worker. She blew out her traditional landline in favour of a “magicJack”. I’ve seen these advertised on TV, and always thought, “too good to be true.” Not according to my co-worker. So I did some research. Seems magicJack offers you unlimited local and long-distance calling in North America for about $50 a year. Yah, that’s “year”, not “month.”
A small electronic device, the magicJack has a USB connector on one end and a standard telephone port on the other, and takes advantage of voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology. You just plug it into your computer and it installs itself.
You get voicemail, caller ID (just the number, not the name) call waiting, call forwarding, and conference calling for your annual $50, saving yourself about $500 a year on a traditional landline with unlimited long distance.
Of course, you could drop your long-distance package on your landline and go with Skype, which will give you both an audio and visual signal so you can see who you’re talking to. Or you can use Gmail telephone to call anywhere in the U.S. for free and make cheap international calls. Or how about freephoneline.ca, which not only gives you a landline option, but offers free long distance on your smartphone.
Make sure you do your research before you jump at the savings. Know the pros and cons of the services you’re comparing to your traditional phone service so you don’t jump out of the frying pan and into the fire.