While it is always a good idea to try to save money, I have found that these times really dictated the necessity for me to analyze my expenses. Key to any business is communications including phone, fax and Internet. Years ago I untied the lines from the local phone company and went to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) for my phone and faxing needs. VOIP never did a good job with faxing and was very frustrating to me. Recently when a loved one moved out of state, I knew I would need to increase either my cell phone plan or my VOIP plan.
Then along came Jack---magicJack that is. I am in no way associated with magicJack other than as a customer. I ordered magicJack online via their 30-day free trial and have been pleased with the results. MagicJack is $39.95 plus shipping and handling for the first year and then $19.95 per year thereafter. That's $19.95 PER YEAR for unlimited local and long distance calling in addition to free directory assistance, call waiting, voicemail and caller ID. You can also get MagicJack at Radio Shack for $39.99. I ordered online via http://magicjack.com so I could try it out first.
Yes, you have to have your computer up for magicJack to work. But you can forward magicJack or have it go to voicemail when the computer is off. You will get an e-mail when you have a voice message. My VOIP provider charged 3.9 cents a minute to forward calls. Not true with majicJack---no charge to forward calls. No matter where you go, if you have an Internet connection (supports Wi-Fi), you have phone service.
The main drawback for me is the inability to port numbers. I had to get a new phone number (free local number) when I went to magicJack. As many customers, family and friends knew my home number and I used that same number for work, I needed the ability to keep that number. So, I ported my home number to my cell phone. MagicJack says they will be allowing porting sometime in 2009, but I could not wait.
MagicJack might support faxing, but I wanted to make sure I had a reliable method for use anywhere. That is why I finally made the move to Internet faxing. There are some free services, but they either provide advertising along with your fax or have a limited amount of faxing capability. I choose Ringcentral (http://ringcentral.com) at $9.99/month, but there are many good companies out there. I have been less than pleased with their customer service (too long on hold), but their service is great. I ported my fax number to Ringcentral. It took 27 calendar days, which was 24 more days than porting my number to my cell phone. I scan documents and e-mail them instead of faxing (but I can fax them) and incoming faxes go directly to my computer (or I can have them print directly, but why?). It is then easy to forward faxes on via e-mail. Again, wherever I am with my computer and an Internet connection, I can receive faxes. I think the days of the old fashioned fax machines are numbered. Soon we won't need Internet faxing either. Everyone will just scan and e-mail.
Comments? Questions? Advice? Please share!