magicJackThere’s been a lot of chatter surrounding the forthcoming magicJack femtocell. YMAX, magicJack’s parent announced during CES that their version of a femtocell is on the way. The magicJack femtocell will apparently operate with GSM wireless phones, and route those wireless calls over the Internet, in much the same way their current VoIP device does.

Since then, there’s been much debate as to whether such an approach is even legal under current FCC rules. magicJack founder Dan Borislow has an opinion on this, and he shares it with Laptop Magazine. He tells Laptop, “It’s definitely legal. There are a couple of different ways to go. You can operate under Part 15 [a section of the FCC regulation regrading unlicensed transmissions], and there’s further exemptions if you operate under a boat, plane, or any transportation. They’re all exempt as well even without Part 15. You can use it in a car, taxi, in a park, a home, anywhere.”

Interesting approach, although not sure how inside “a home” qualifies under some type of transportation exemption. I’ll leave it to the telecom lawyers to hash these legal questions. But its quite clear — Borislow and his magicJack team intend to push the legality envelope, and a MagicJack femtocell is on the way. Borislow says it should be out by 2Q10 and cost about the same as the current magicJack. Get more details in this Laptop article.

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8 thoughts on “Sure the MagicJack Femtocell is Legal …

  1. It's a moot question. FCC rules can't keep up with technology. These things are coming – best to prepare and see if you can play in the game, rather than fighting it.

  2. Bull puckey,

    They bought the rights to the spectrum with exclusions under law. Now they get to live with it, or more likely buy off politicians and get the law change – once again stifling innovation and creativity.

    Free market? Right.

    1. Not only that, but the wireless companies have had more than enough time and extensions to mature their networks. In dense areas, they have, but in many suburban and rural areas they are just clinging on to the spectrum so no one else can get it. I am happy to see someone put some pressure on the wireless companies. They have had the FCC in their pockets for years, and it's time to take back the spectrum.

  3. One of the interesting things about this, is you don't even need an active account with a wireless company for your gsm phone to work on their femtocell.

  4. I'm not sure what portion of Part 15 the folks at MagicJack are referring to. Does the fact that it's used at home, in a boat, on train, in the rain, trump the licensed spectrum? I've never understood that when spectrum is used on a localized, personal, basis that it trumps the rights given spectrum license holders.

  5. If the wireless companies had just been "awarded" the spectrum (without paying for it), I would say, go ahead Magicjack, you are free to innovate and use your femptocell in whatever way you want. Heck, let's just get rid of these ridiculous spectrum licensing fees so that anyone that wants can innovate on the cheap! After all, these wireless companies only had to pay a few billion dollars for these silly spectrum licenses.

  6. But…wireless carriers control the handsets ability to access any network. That’s how they prevent u from using any network they don’t u to roam on. If att doesn’t want you to access the femtocell, u won’t. Spectrum is irrelevant. There is a programming in the phone that says “u will not use this network”.

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