Skype And Magic Jack In Cuenca?

In my earlier posts I mentioned some hardware items (i.e. computers, printers, tablets, etc.)to bring to Ecuador . I also suggested digital cameras and camcorders as well as suggestions on TV’s and DVD players.

In this post I’ll briefly chat about voice and video communication between Cuenca and the rest of the world. The two most popular and cost effective ways are Skype and Magic Jack.

Skype: (Software Only)Owned by Microsoft uses the VOIP method of calling. VOIP is techy talk for “voice over Internet Protocol”. In plain English it means that you’re initiating the phone calls from the Internet rather than using a local or International phone company.  The biggest advantage is the cost. Calling between 2 Skype users is free. Skype is very easy to install software and installs on P.C’s, Mac’s, IPad’s, IPhones, Android phones etc. You can make video calls between Skype users who have webcams on their camera.  My IPad has both a front and rear facing camera which means I can talk to my family while simultaneously showing them my enviornment.  The IPad is just 14 oz so I can easily move around both inside and outside.

How does Skype make money.  Skype offers pre payment plans so that for as little as 2.3 cents a minute you can call back to the U.S.  You can also subscribe to their premium plans and have unlimited calling.  My Skype experience has been 90% successful. Occasionaly the bandwidth is slow on my end or the receipient’s end and there is some jitter where the picture and or the audio is unacceptable.

Magic Jack: ( Hardware and Software) Comes in two versions. Magic Jack and Magic Jack Plus. Magic Jack is approximately $40. You purchase a USB drive which uploads software to your computer. Magic Jack Plus is $60 and you can plug the USB device into your computer or into an electrical outlet.  Both devices supply a US. phone number and give you unlimited calls for a year which in my case comes out to $3.33 per month.  Besides the 503 area code phone # magic jack has voice mail and when my phone is not connected to the computer my incoming phone calls go to voice mail and I get notified via email that I have a new phone message.

MagicJack also has an IPad App so I don’t have to have my USB drive connected to my computer. That’s is a nice convienience and I can also be mobile when I talk on magicjack.

Comparison: Let me say that if communication to another continent is vital then I suggest you use both services.  I think Skype is more powerful offers more choices and is easier to use.  Magicjack offers the convience of a local phone number and is overall a cheaper plan.  I found that 20% of my calls had some sort of jitter problem on Magicjack so Skype had better bandwidth and of course you can make video calls, group calls and use SMS messaging with Skype which Magicjack is incapable of doing. I also found that I had some more technical problems with Magicjack and Skype was trouble free.

Skype Minute Rates

Skype Premium Rates

MagicJack USB Drive

15 thoughts on “Skype And Magic Jack In Cuenca?

  1. Pingback: Morning Update – Tuesday, March 6, 2012 « South of Zero

  2. Hi Lenny,

    I really enjoy your posts.

    I want to point out that it may be possible to get a phone number with Skype in Ecuador, too. I’m going to test that later this year.

    I have a Skype phone number here in the United States. I pay $60/year, with unlimited long distance in the United States. The service comes with voice mail. Anytime I get a voicemail, Skype sends me an email message so I don’t miss anything. I believe it is possible to use this phone number for overseas calls, but I just use regular Skype for that. My wife calls her relatives in Ecuador several times a week with Skype, and we don’t pay a penny since they also have Skype.

    I’ve been thinking I’ll just keep my Skype phone number (Melbourne, FL area code) when I move to Ecuador. Am I allowed to do that? I’m not sure… I guess I’ll find out. I am supposed to be able to my Melbourne number anywhere in the world. It is very convenient service for people who want to dial the same number for you no matter where you are. And if I can get unlimited calls to the U.S. from Ecuador for $60 per year, that will be a great deal. But again, I’m not sure if they’ll let me do that… We’ll see.


  3. By way of further comparison: I use the Magic Jack Plus, because it allows 24/7 availability of incoming calls “ringing” a standard phone set, without requiring a computer to be turned on. Also, I selected the USA phone number to be the same area code and local exchange numbers as my employer in the USA. Business associates and clients do not realize that I am in Cuenca, nor that we are using an internet connection. (We use Skype and video only for family communications.)
    After some testing, I conclude that the “jitter” is more pronounced with Magic Jack, because Magic Jack performs negligible buffering. And the problem appears to be fault of the Cuenca ISP, not the USA end.
    Kudos for what you are doing with this blog!

  4. Lenny

    I will be moving to Cuenca in a year. I plan to bring my Vonage box with me which I will plug into a broadband connection. People can call me on my current local phone number, and I can make unlimited calls to the US as well as Europe, where my wife has family. Monthly cost is about $35.
    Question: is Vonage my best option or is Magic Jack better keeping in mind my wife’s regular calls to London.

  5. Another great VOIP service is NetTalk Duo. You don’t need your computer to use it. It’s a yearly fee of around 25.00 US. I have had one for over a year and it’s great service. Just google NetTalk. Steve in Calif.

  6. We are moving to Ecuador from Oregon the end of June. Should we buy the magic jack and skype before we move to ecuador?

  7. Thanks for the info. We will go to our local Best Buy and get a MJ. The day of departure is getting close so we are excited and scared at the same time.

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