magicJack Head: Femtocell Device “Definitely Legal,” Standalone Phone and Apps Coming Too

It’s amazing what a low price and a marketing blitz can accomplish. magicJack, the pocket-size USB plug-and-play VOIP service, has sold over 5 million units since its 2007 debut. The much-wanted Linux support and number portability are still on the drawing board, but the company (led by the its candid creator Dan Borislow), is branching off into new, exciting territories.

During CES 2010, magicJack publicly announced its upcoming femtocell (news that Mr. Borislow gave us months before), a device that enables GSM cell phones to connect through the YMAX Voice Network and sends voice data over the carriers’ towers. There’s been some rumblings about the legality of this, so we decided it time to contact Borislow once again for the real deal on femtocell, other magicJack products, and a rival: the magicJack-inspired netTALK.

When can we expect the new magicjack and what’s the estimated price?
The femtocell should be out in Q2 for around the same price as the current magicjack.

The femtocell has been the cause of some debate in regards to its legality. How are you allowed to place calls using the carrier’s networks?
It’s definitely legal. There are a couple of different ways to go. You can operate under Part 15 [a section of the FCC regulation regrading unlicensed transmissions], and there’s further exemptions if you operate under a boat, plane, or any transportation. They’re all exempt as well even without Part 15. You can use it in a car, taxi, in a park, a home, anywhere.

Are there any limitations?
There’s a power restriction, but it shouldn’t affect what we want to use it for.

Will this replace the current magicJack or be sold along side it?
It doesn’t have a connection for a land line phone, so the previous one won’t be discontinued. You can use it with a cell phone or existing magicJack.

Besides the femtocell, what else is in store for magicJack in 2010?
We’ve had a major upgrade in the last two weeks. All of your call logs and contacts, they’re on the network. They’re off the jack. So if you were to break your jack or had a mobile magicJack, everything is on the network and you never have to worry about losing the contacts.

We also did that because we’re coming out with a standalone phone similar to Skype, except it will be six times cheaper and the quality will be significantly better. That’ll be second quarter. After that you can expect BlackBerry and iPhone apps in the late 3Q. Its another reason to get the contacts on the network.

Do you see a change in the way that carriers conduct business now that magicJack has made such and impact?
They’re really focused on wireless, that’s why the femtocell is such a good proposition for their customers. They get to use the same phone; they don’t have to worry about going to a different carrier. The carriers are going to concentrate on the wireless, and I’m going to concentrate on everything else .

I’m sure you’ve heard of netTALK, the new magicJack rival. Any opinions on the device?
It’s a piece of sh*t. It has static. The call quality is pathetic. There’s no phone numbers available, and it’s run by a bunch of fly-by-nights with no assets. They’ll be bankrupt soon. We’re a real company with the best network and best software.


What are your thoughts on femtocell? Are Borislow’s reassurances enough to get you excited?


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  1. Rosalind Says:

    Wow the inventor is a cutie pie

  2. Lisa Says:

    The magicJack femto can do voice, but not data, so you are still going to use the macro network when you are indoors. Also, if you start a call in your house and then go outside the range of the magicJack, the call will drop because a magicJack call won’t automatically transfer to the carrier’s network. This device takes a cool device like the iPhone and removes all its features except for one – voice. Doesn’t sound all that great to me unless you talk on your cell phone at home all day and never leave your house……so from a feature standpoint, what is the difference between this and the magicJack VoIP product? You are essentially substituting a wired handset for a wireless one. Not sure there is a lot of value in that. Most people aren’t maxing out their voice minutes they way they used to – the trend now is that people are maxing out their data limits.

  3. mastahc411 Says:

    “It’s a piece of shit. It has static. The call quality is pathetic.”

    Strange, thats exactly how I feel about magicjack whenever I’m calling with it outside of my area code

  4. franktronic Says:

    Is LaptopMag run by nuns? Do you really need to censor the word “shit”?

  5. steve Says:

    what a class act he is…..contacts in the cloud eh-more user data to sell. Check this article and read the comments: http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/04/14/magicjacks-eula-says.html

  6. Cargojack Says:

    If Borislow could make a device like the TK6000 which plugged directly in to a router, or a WiFi phone, it would be truly great! A femtocell that plugs into a USB port still requires the computer to be on all the time. I use the magicJack international calling service on my cell phone and it has been great. When I first got my mJ there were some probolems with it, but they fixed them after abotu a month of emailing back and forth. For the last year and a hlaf, it has worked great.

  7. Kosherdog Says:

    Look at the poll:
    http://blog.laptopmag.com/can-the-nettalk-slay-the-mighty-magicjack
    Magicjack is magically being trashed. Someone likes the TK6000 product. Has anyone used the TK6000 that can add true input instead of Dan’s ranting?

  8. Hazem Says:

    I live in Toronto, i bought Magicjack in September 2009 from Toronto. the sales associate didn’t inform me that i’ll have USA # only. I contacted magicjack many times trying to switch my USA # to Canadian # to have the chance to access 911 for Emergency and all the features. I believe that by law I have the right to dial 911 especially it’s the only line that i have at home. My friends don’t answer me as they think it’s long distance. on the other hand, anyone would call my # is going to be international call charge, so my friends stopped calling me. What a rip off !!!! The customer service said i can buy another Canadian line ? it doesn’t make any sense to have USA # and Canadian # if i live in Canada and don’t have anyone at the USA. i need someone to assist me. how to get my money back or i get my rights for 911 and 411 and contact with my friends.

    Here is the conversation on Jan 24.2010:

    Important. Important. If you are not able to make calls or having trouble with your contact list, please Click Here for fix. This will be your best solution. You should not click here if you do not have this problem.
    You are now chatting with ‘Minerva’
    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK419095979732X
    Minerva: Hello, how may I help you?
    hazem: hi there
    Minerva: Good evening to you Hazem.
    Minerva: May I know the exact nature of your problem with full details please?
    hazem: yes.. i’m not satisfied with your service
    hazem: i live in canada and i bought my magicjack back in september
    hazem: from canada
    hazem: andat that time you didn’t have Canadian #s
    hazem: #1 it doesn’t have 911 or 411 service
    Minerva: Okay, please do continue as I am reading it.
    hazem: last month i needed to use 911
    hazem: and i couldn’t
    hazem: i contacted someone and was telling return the magic jack and buy new one
    Minerva: Okay.
    hazem: anyone that i call doesn’t answer
    Minerva: Did you return it Hazem?
    hazem: me when they see usa #
    hazem: so i feel that i did big mistake
    hazem: no i’m still have it as the store said no it’s way beyond our return policy
    Minerva: May I know how can be of help please?
    hazem: really… i paid for
    hazem: i need you to exchange it for me and give me wone works in Canada
    hazem: that’s all
    hazem: i’m not a bad person and i bought your product and i don’t deserve to be treated like that
    hazem: really i’m not happy
    hazem: i like to have it
    hazem: but i can’t communicate with my friends in Canada
    hazem: over
    Minerva: I do understand your sentiments and got your point Hazem,
    hazem: what do yu think that you should do ?
    Minerva: Much that I want to grant your request but that is beyond my control. If only I can I am very much willing to do so.
    hazem: what you are telling that i bought magicjack and i can’t use 911 or 411 ?
    hazem: you know that this by law
    hazem: so who should i contact ?
    hazem: to fix this issue
    Minerva: That is not possible at this time and I don’t want to give false promises and information Hazem.
    hazem: so time is running and i lost 4 months from my services and what is the results?
    hazem: can you give the Canadian office so i can contact them in the morning
    Minerva: We do not have phone support Hazem we only have chat support.
    hazem: then who is going to take care of my concern?
    Minerva: Thank you for your patience. I will transfer you to a higher level of support. Please hold while I transfer you.
    Please wait while I transfer the chat to the best suited site operator.
    You are now chatting with ‘April’
    Your Issue ID for this chat is LTK419095979732X
    April: Hello Hazem. My name is April. To better assist you, let me put you on hold while I read your previous chat. Thank you.
    hazem: ok
    April: Thank you for patiently waiting. Allow me to do my best to help you fix your issue.
    April: Hazem, 911 feature is only for US address and there is no 911 for Canada.
    hazem: so that means if my friends buys your product with Canadian # … they can’t call 911?
    April: About the phone number issue, we are still working on that feature, Hazem. You will be able to change your number into a Canadian number soon.
    hazem: thanks for tell me that …. so i can warn them that 911 doesn’t work in Canada
    April: Yes, because there is no 911 feature in Canada.
    hazem: ok april…. when i’ll be able to change to Canadian #?
    April: Yes, you will be able to change it in a months time, we are still working on that feature and we are almost done on it.
    hazem: but i have to tell you… i’m keep listening to this since you lunched the Canadian #s
    hazem: i fell that i was miss-leaded and cheated
    April: Yes, Hazem, I understand that and that is really the truth, if only it is very easy to have it available, why not? But please bear with us also, we are really trying our best to have it possible the soonest,
    hazem: when you promote the product when it first came without saying it’s only USA #s
    April: You were not cheated and mislead because we are really working on it and you were informed that we don’t have it yet when you purchase MJ .
    hazem: i do respect your honesty
    hazem: but at the same time i feel that i lost all my patience
    April: You are most welcome and it is also my pleasure. Being honest is what I can give you most.
    hazem: April… i would like to add the international service too and call family and friend in different places in the world
    April: Okay. Sure.
    April: You can do that in your account at my.magicjack.com
    April: Would you like to add it now?
    hazem: but i’m afraid to add this service now and then can’t change the #
    April: Oh, I see. You will just purchase $5 first and try it.
    hazem: so i like to change the number first… or if you are going to give this for free for the pain and hassel …. that would nice of you
    hazem: i wish that if i can cancel this # and get new one with Canadian #
    hazem: but the store didn’t take it back
    April: Hazem I understand your frustration. You can actually buy another unit and register it into a Canadian number.Anyway, the number that you have now is only active until 2010-09-21
    hazem: are you in Canada or some where else?
    April: We are located in Florida, there is no magicJack support in Canada.
    hazem: soso you are familiar with N.A services and laws
    hazem: if i buy new one with Canadian # can i add it to my account?
    hazem: or should i create a new account
    April: You can add it on your account and then choose the ADD New number to the same/existing account (same e-mail add)
    hazem: is going to let me choose Canadian # or is going to offer only USA as my original Account is USA #
    April: There are few Canadian numbers offered in our registration site but sometimes we ran out of slots for a particular area Canadian area code.
    April: So, I cannot give you assurance that by that time you will register it you can really have the number that you want to use.
    hazem: ok so it’s better to wait until it comes available…. this is the best bit
    hazem: can you do me a favor please?
    April: What favor is that?
    hazem: if i add the international service to my # and then transfer to Canadian # later
    hazem: does’t transfer too?
    April: Hazem, let me explain,
    April: You can always use the device to make international calls, all you need to do is to add Internet Prepaid Minutes (IPP) to your account online at my.magicjack.com. Once Canadian number is available and you will change Mj number, that feature is still available.
    April: There is no need to worry,
    hazem: what is the rate to call egypt? please
    April: Please wait while I check that for you
    hazem: thanks
    April: EGYPT FIXED -20 is $0.1900 per minute
    April: EGYPT MOBILE 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 is $0.1600 per minute.
    April: Please click here to view International Rates
    hazem: oh thanks…. still skype cheaper :):)
    hazem: 0.1500
    hazem: yahoo0.13
    April: Yes, cheaper, but if your relative is using MJ in Egypt, MJ to MJ international calls are FREE. Also, they can call back to US and Canada for FREE if they are using MJ in Egypt.
    hazem: i believe i can send one over there… that why i like to have my Canadian # first
    April: I understand, better wait when you can change into a Canadian number first.
    April: I know I you are fully satisfied with the magicJack service as of the moment but I do hope you are satisfied with the little help I have given you today. Thank you.
    April: Let me know if you still have questions or if there is anything else I can do for you.
    hazem: no thanks
    April: My pleasure.
    hazem: good bye
    April: You are most welcome. Have a great day/night depending on where you are.
    April: Bye, Hazem and be safe.
    hazem: Toronto
    April: Okay.
    hazem: take care :):)
    April: You too, Hazem. Thank you

  9. Larry Says:

    HAZEM- get over it, its a 40.00 initial device, get a friend in the US to give you 20.00 for the active number, and go buy your Canadian device, you’ve exhausted more then that randting on about what you thought you had and what you dont. If the new Canadian device works move on.

  10. Jake Says:

    HAZEM, don’t use magicjack. They suck, especially if you live in Canada. Go to Cantalk9000.com or FreePhoneLine.ca if you live in Canada.

  11. Justin Says:

    Had magicjack since Jan 2010, got Local number in Ontario. Great service. Only had a few times where the software or driver locked up in a call but was fixed with a reboot. I give it 9/10 only for the fact that it relies on a pc to work.

  12. nimmy Says:

    Magicjack sucks. It is a piece of junk, the voice quality is very poor and some times calls get onto “hold” or even “end” abruptly. I got it in 2008. I had to change the device every 8-10 months, i dont understand why they offer 3-yr,5yr subscription when the device itself fails with in 1 yr and the device is not covered under this subscription. every time we get a new device we need a new subscription which is waste of money. As old subscription fails with old device….. which is outrageous. I suggest no one should take this phone if looking for some longterm use.

  13. NotMeAtAll Says:

    A Canadian Phone number obtained through 411 directory is (519)756-6522 But do not expect much from them as they say that they are simply distributors!

  14. WontLastLong Says:

    Arizona number worked for about 4 months. now only local incoming calls will connect. All others provide the recording “you have reached a non-working number”. Tech support for the last 4 weekends has stated they are looking in to the issue and will e-mail when it has been resolved. No offer to replace the unit or to verify that my issues is the only one for our area code.

    should have went with net talk and NOT magic jack. can’t really complain as you get what you pay for. I can still make outgoing calls, just can’t haven anyone call in that is not in the same area code.

  15. mike Says:

    Magicjack is finally being sued for patent infringement. NetTalk is claiming in excess of $200,000,000 in damages.

    http://www.scribd.com/mobile/doc/106592176

    That should teach them not to steal!

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