MagicJack Hopes To Make Cell Phones Work Over Your Home VoIP Line

Updated: January 07, 2011

MagicJack, the company behind the popular and successful VoIP gadget that sells via infomercial and at places like Walmart, is now trying to do for the cell phone what it and many other companies did for the landline - make it much cheaper and scoop the remaining revenue for themselves, using a device called a femtocell.

The new device will plug into your internet at home, much like a router or any other more traditional VoIP device. It will then become a femtocell. A femtocell is a teeny tiny cellular access point (femto is a scientific prefix that is even smaller than a pico) with a range of a about a thousand feet or so. At this point, any cellular device in range can register with the MagicJack femtocell and the device will make the connection and convert a call into a VoIP call and connect it over an internet-based VoIP network rather than the normal cellular carrier network.

The result would be a call that did not register with the carrier and that would be carried over the VoIP network. Currently MagicJack uses a flat fee model so the call would essentially be free. Several other companies have previously come out with similar devices without success, mostly because they were expensive. The MagicJack device is certain to cost under $99 according to Dan Borislow, the founder of MagicJack. Later reports say that it will cost about $40. Incidentally, before the device works it will first have to 'register' the cell phone which can only happen when it is within 8 feet of the device. After that, communication range will extend as far as over 1000 feet. No mention is made of interference and crossover with the carrier's main signal or to the fact that cellular radio signals are often blocked by walls, particularly walls with metal in them (for example stuccoed walls that have a metal mesh block cellular signals very effectively).

The cellular industry has not yet responded to the new device publicly except to say that they are looking into it. Their basis for having an issue is that the cellular frequencies the device uses are in fact privately owned by the cellular companies (purchased from teh government at auction) and so they are entitled to be concerned about other uses. However, Borislow contends that the licenses are for public airwaves and do not include transmissions inside a private building.

Business phone systems can also handle cell calls now - particularly the useful feature of automatically transferring a call to a desk phone when you walk into your office. TO find out more, take a look at our VoIP System Buyers Guide.

Featured Research
  • 8 Ways Business Travelers Can Save with VoIP

    Do you or any part of your workforce travel for work, or even telecommute? If that answer is yes, then you should be utilizing mobile VoIP. With VoIP, businesses have been found to save as much as 40% on local calls and a whopping 90% on international calling expenses. more

  • Phone System Showdown

    When it comes time to select your new phone system, one of the biggest questions that you will face is whether to go with the hot, new VoIP system or the steady and secure PBX network. There are pros and cons to each of these phone systems, and before making any purchase we highly suggest that you take the time to download and read our latest guide: Phone System Showdown: VoIP vs. PBX. more

  • Signals Your Company is Ready For Unified Communications

    Efficient and effective business collaboration is essential to company success and as you grow your business, you'll discover all the different communication methods that you NEED to stay connected with partners and customers. Implementing a Unified Communications (UC) system can save your company upwards of $920,000 a year due to increased efficiency amongst company employees. more

  • Phone System Implementation Expectations

    Providers would have you believe that implementing a new phone system is as easy as counting to three. However, while the process may not be difficult, there are steps that need to be taken to ensure that your new VoIP system is installed and implemented smoothly. Luckily, the challenges associated with upgrading your system tend to be fairly predictable. Most businesses run into the same set of problems that many others have faced before them, meaning avoiding or overcoming them is as easy as preparing ahead of time. more

  • Your Phone System and Your Bottom Line

    Businesses have been using phones to drive increases to their bottom lines for almost a century now. Telephony, much like the rest of the business world, has seen drastic changes with the increase in technological advancement. Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP), has enabled companies to connect with consumers at levels that have been seen as unheard of before. And trust us when we say this, it is doing wonders for the bottom line. more