MagicJack's new cellular product raises legal questions

MagicJack's new GSM femtocell product could lead to a bruising legal battle over whether it is illegally using spectrum licensed to GSM carriers AT&T Mobility and T-Mobile USA. The device, which parent company YMax unveiled last week at the Consumer Electronics Show, allows GSM mobile phones to make calls through a femtocell connected to a user's computer (and a broadband connection). The call is routed via VoIP technology, and users can get a year of free calls to the U.S. and Canada for $20.

The product, however, uses GSM radio frequencies to connect users' calls to the femtocell. MagicJack has argued that it does not need permission to use GSM frequencies inside users' homes. Many argue that the transmitter is not powerful enough to work outside a certain designated area inside users' homes, and therefore will not cause harmful interference.

The FCC has not yet received an application for the device, which MagicJack plans to start selling in the second quarter. YMax CEO Dan Borislow told IDG News Service that it had not yet submitted the device for FCC approval, but that it would be a "slam dunk" for approval.

Representatives from AT&T, T-Mobile and CTIA have declined to comment.

For more:
- see this IDG News Service article

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