No Magic For You, Jack!

magicjackusbwidgetApparently Magic Jack has taken some steps to cease delivering service to people who access the service with clients other than bone fide Magic Jack dongles. This happened some time in the past week and has been noted in the PBX-in-a-Flash forums as well as the Unofficial Magic Jack Support Forums.

Some offer the conjecture that such treatment of customer will in some way hurt the company. I doubt that is the case. The percentage of their users using Asterisk to pass calls to them is likely extremely small. It’s also quite likely very obvious to them, both in terms of average minutes per user per month and the reported SIP client name.

I simply can’t beleive how many people go to such trouble to take advantage of Magic Jack as an Asterisk trunk when it clearly violates the TOS. Minutes through legitimate means are dirt cheap so why bother with such a hack.

OTOH, just as people have used HP thin clients to host the Magic Jack dongle, someone could in theory put together a hardware hack that would turn a legitimate MJ dongle in a T57xx into an ATA-like gateway device. It would need to take the call into the MJ dongle, but redirect the audio streams to another process, passing back onto the network to reach the Asterisk server as a SIP connection. A strange kind of back-to-back-user-agent (B2BUA.)

This would be a curious hack. Of course anyone could plug an RJ-11 line into the MJ dongle and bring it into an FXO on the PBX. Avoiding the use of an FXO interface on the Asterisk box would improve call quality, and keep the cost down. Since MJ users seem cost sensitive I presume that would be a consideration.

  • Great post, as always 🙂

  • tweensteeples

    Works fine on my Elastix. Don’t use it for more than two simultaneous outgoing calls and you won’t violate the TOS. It never worked for more that two with my PBX. Dropping dialtone in with rj-11 is the best anyway.
    I disagree that minutes are cheap. It locks you into a situation that you don’t need. Here is my YouTube video that shows you how to get 100% Free voip via softphone or smartphone using Fring with VoipCheap and IPKall.

  • tweensteeples

    sorry…link didn’t post…you can search “Free Telephone Number with Free Long Distance” on YouTube to view my videos on Voip.
    Thanks again for your fine work on this site!
    Paul –

  • Gerald

    At the beginning they said that there would be advertising on the dialer’s face… I cannot believe that in all the postings about their business model no one is thinking about this. Just imagine the dongle connected, dialer up, and every time you look at the screen,every phone call you receive or make… Walmart or even a targeted ad for your area code and prefix announcement… once you build an audience, the possibilities are endless…

    • The possibility of advertising has been considered in many posts that I’ve read about Magic Jack. To date the company has not acted on this “threat.” If they’re well and truly profitable without the adverts why risk offending the userbase with such a move?