Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images
Whether you desire a VoIP service that runs independently of your computer or high-tech features like video calling, there are several alternatives to Magic Jack to suit your needs. The services offer the features and functionality of landline phones, with better clarity and more flexibility. In addition to being cost-effective, the phone services will help you stay connected wherever high-speed Internet access is available.
Ooma is a VoIP service that offers unlimited HD voice calls throughout the U.S. Ooma subscribers do not pay a monthly subscription fee. Subscribers are required to buy the Ooma Telco device for a one-time fee and pay monthly taxes and regulatory fees. Unlike Magic Jack, the device works independently of a computer, connecting directly to a high-speed Internet connection and home phone. In addition to its reduced cost, the device can be transported for use wherever a high-speed Internet connection is available. Standard calling features such as voice mail, caller ID and call waiting are bundled with the service. Ooma comes with a downloadable mobile app that gives Android devices and Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch models the ability to make calls over 3G or Wi-Fi connections at no additional cost.
Vonage also provides VoIP calling services by connecting a portable adaptor to high-speed Internet and a telephone. However, subscribers are required to pay monthly subscription fees. Standard subscription plans include local and long-distance calling throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico. The plans vary from an allotment of monthly minutes to an unlimited package that includes long-distance calling to approximately 60 countries. Vonage service is bundled with features such as caller ID, voice mail, call waiting and SimulRing, which routes incoming calls to five designated telephone numbers at once. Subscribers can also download soft phones that can be used to make PC-to-telephone calls from any computer with a microphone, speakers and high-speed Internet connection.
Skype is a downloadable VoIP program that is used to make PC-to-PC voice and video calls worldwide. The program is also available in a mobile application that equips mobile devices with voice and video calling capabilities. To make and receive free calls with Skype, both users are required to download and run the program. Furthermore, the computers/mobile devices must have speakers, a microphone and a high-speed Internet connection, while video calling also requires a webcam. Skype's pay-as-you go and subscription-based plans allow users to make voice calls from PCs/mobile devices to landlines/mobile phones worldwide. Calling features like voice mail, caller ID and SMS text-messaging are available for additional fees.
Digital cable telephone service is offered by most cable television providers. Unlike VoIP, cable telephone service does not rely on a high-speed Internet connection to make calls. Cable telephone calls are transferred over the home's cable wiring. Cable telephone service subscriptions are generally bundled with television and Internet packages, making them a cost-effective alternative to traditional landlines. Calling plans include everything from unlimited domestic calls to discounted international calling. Popular calling features are bundled with the service, including an updated caller ID program that displays on the television when calls are received.
- Dynamic Graphics Group/Dynamic Graphics Group/Getty Images