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Magic jack femtocell, 40 bucks wow

Discussion in 'Wireless News' started by strunke, Jan 9, 2010.

  1. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    MagicJack's next act: disappearing cell phone fees

    The company behind the magicJack, the cheap Internet phone gadget that's been heavily promoted on TV, has made a new version of the device that allows free calls from cell phones in the home, in a fashion that's sure to draw protest from cellular carriers.

    The new magicJack uses, without permission, radio frequencies for which cellular carriers have paid billions of dollars for exclusive licenses.

    YMax Corp., which is based in Palm Beach, Fla., said this week at the International Consumers Electronics Show that it plans to start selling the device in about four months for $40, the same price as the original magicJack. As before, it will provide free calls to the U.S. and Canada for one year.

    The device is, in essence, a very small cellular tower for the home.

    The size of a deck of cards, it plugs into a PC, which needs a broadband Internet connection. The device then detects when a compatible cell phone comes within 8 feet, and places a call to it. The user enters a short code on the phone. The phone is then linked to the magicJack, and as long as it's within range (YMax said it will cover a 3,000-square-foot home) magicJack routes the call itself, over the Internet, rather than going through the carrier's cellular tower. No minutes are subtracted from the user's account with the carrier. Any extra fees for international calls are subtracted from the user's account with magicJack, not the carrier.

    According to YMax CEO Dan Borislow, the device will connect to any phone that uses the GSM standard, which in the U.S. includes phones from AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile USA. At a demonstration at CES, a visitor's phone with a T-Mobile account successfully placed and received calls through the magicJack. Most phones from Verizon Wireless and Sprint Nextel Corp. won't connect to the device.

    Borislow said the device is legal because wireless spectrum licenses don't extend into the home.

    AT&T, T-Mobile and the Federal Communications Commission had no immediate comment on whether they believe the device is legal, but said they were looking into the issue. CTIA — The Wireless Association, a trade group, said it was declining comment for now. None of them had heard of YMax's plans.

    Borislow said YMax has sold 5 million magicJacks for landline phones in the last two years, and that roughly 3 million are in active use. That would give YMax a bigger customer base than Internet phone pioneer Vonage Holdings Corp., which has been selling service for $25 per month for the better part of a decade. Privately held YMax had revenue of $110 million last year, it says.

    U.S. carriers have been selling and experimenting with devices that act similarly to the wireless magicJack. They're called "femtocells." Like the magicJack, they use the carrier's licensed spectrum to connect to a phone, then route the calls over a home broadband connection. They improve coverage inside the home and offload capacity from the carrier's towers.

    But femtocells are complex products, because they're designed to mesh with the carrier's external network. They cost the carriers more than $200, though some sell them cheaper, recouping the cost through added service fees. YMax's magicJack is a much smaller, simpler design.



    http://tech.yahoo.com/news/ap/us_tec_gadget_show_magicjack
     
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    #1 strunke, Jan 9, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2010
  2. Kalimotxo

    Kalimotxo Bronze Senior Member
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    Wow, that's incredible.

    "Borislow said the device is legal because wireless spectrum licenses don't extend into the home." ...I can see a major legal battle brewing over this one.

    One downside -I don't see how the device could hand-off the active call if you leave your home.
     
  3. Fullstrength

    Fullstrength Junior Member
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    Couldnt the cellular carriers , put a ban on connecting to this device rendering it useless ? Like do not allow connections to 310-xxx ? This product might be dead even before it makes it into production ?
     
  4. COtech

    COtech Bronze Senior Member
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    Nonsense, your home is in the USA, where the FCC regulates RF. It will be a quick administrative action. If their specs were available, we'd likely spot their non-compliance with regs at once.
    Quite right, no handoffs are possible. It's operating like a cordless phone, or a Bluetooth headset.

    Since it mentions using even old GSM handsets, I suspect they designed using the 1900 MHz PCS band.

    COtech
     
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  5. Kalimotxo

    Kalimotxo Bronze Senior Member
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    Also, I don't see how this would work for incoming calls... it sounds like it's just an outgoing thing.
     
  6. cheddar

    cheddar Senior Member
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    I would imagine they had the foresight to take a gander at the law and RCC rules/regulations. It is not outsde the realm of possibility that they just need to keep the power below a certain limit to be legal. AM/FM transmitters like this are extremely common.
     
  7. COtech

    COtech Bronze Senior Member
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    The new wireless Magic Jack gets a phone number, just like the original wired Magic Jack. It's not the same number, of course, as the one assigned to the GSM phone's SIM.

    With the wireless Magic Jack "capturing" the GSM phone's attention, I'd expect your GSM service provider's network to be ignored, and your calls to be delivered to the service provider's voice mail.

    COtech
     
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  8. rjniles

    rjniles Junior Member
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    I had a regular Magic Jack for a while and the call quality was very bad for me. I performed all the on line tests and they showed my line connection was fine for VOIP. But if fairness I know people for who the Magic jack works fine. Another down side for me was to have to keep my PC running all the time.
     
  9. mframe

    mframe Senior Member

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    I'm thinking that having the device needing a PC running, using various software/operating system resources, is what can contribute to poor connection quality. They said they would be coming out with a separate box, to connect with a high-speed modem, that didn't need a PC turned-on (like other voip providers). I was hoping that was going to be their new announcement. This idea of cell phone connection, still needing a PC, doesn't impress me much, though I can see how it would be handy for a wi-fi laptop user to not have to lug around a landline-type phone.
     
  10. tbaker

    tbaker Junior Member
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    can this be used with a mini-usb adapter on a phone with 3G or Wifi?
     
  11. strunke

    strunke .:|Always Covered|:.
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    I don't think so...
     
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