BT launches consumer VoIP with landline pricing

BT launches consumer VoIP with landline pricing

Summary: A partnership with Yahoo will let BT users make phone calls from their PC, but with no price advantage over existing UK tariffs

TOPICS: Networking
BT expanded its presence in the Internet telephony market on Thursday through a partnership with Yahoo.

The service, called BT Communicator with Yahoo Messenger, combines voice over IP (VoIP) technology with Yahoo's instant messenger service. BT says it will let users handle various communication methods, such as phone calls, Webcams, text messaging and IM, from their PCs through a single application.

BT also said that it expects to add the ability to make multi-way video calls next year.

Unlike enterprise-class VoIP services such as Cable & Wireless IP Voice, which use private networks, BT Communicator will send calls over the public Internet. This means that the telco won't be able to guarantee service level quality.

Despite this, calling a landline or mobile number using BT Communicator will cost just as much as if the customer had used their BT phone line. The precise amount will depend on which BT telephony package the user takes. BT charges 6p for calls that are less than one hour long, unless users are on a tariff giving free calls at some times.

Skype -- a peer-to-peer VoIP service -- is beta-testing a service called SkypeOut that will let users call landlines and mobiles worldwide. It currently charges 0.014 euros per minute (including VAT) for calls to landlines in the UK and to many countries including Australia, Argentina, China, France, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Russia.

Calls to other VoIP users over BT Communicator will be free. BT Communicator will also work abroad, so if a mobile traveller installs the service on their laptop, they will be able to make calls to UK phones at domestic prices.

BT Communicator users won't get a seperate telephone number, so they will only be able to receive calls from mobiles and landlines on their PC if their landline is engaged. Communicator users will be able to call each other through the IM address book.

BT made its first VoIP move last December with the launch of an Internet telephony product for cable users. BT Communicator is the first product aimed at its own customers.

Topic: Networking

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  • Skype only charges 1.4 Eurocent per minute for their SkypeOut service for calls to much of Europe and N.America.
  • SkypeOut calls are more like 0.014 euros per minute, rather than 1.4 euros
  • What a bag of shit!!! An engaged phone, possible crap service through re-routing and all at the very same monopolistic heavy price BT always demands.

    Wake up BT, you are useless when it comes to delivering quality at a price, and yet you still seem to think you run everything!

    I would love, and I mean LOVE to see BT be crippled by a mass excursion of its' services, and yet that will not happen for some time as the general public seem to love paying exhorbatant prices for BT rather than comparing competitive companies.
  • I have been using SKYPE for sometime and I have found it brilliant. It's secure, clear and free at the moment. I think BT are misjudging SKYPE and of course all the SKYPE users cannot be wrong. I think because it has a monoploy on fix line and broadband use BT believes it is well placed but I think they have misjudge the market and users who these days are well informed.
  • Although a North American observer, I suspect BT is a broadband carrier and will carry a good percetnage of the Skype traffic.

    The game is volume - be the last mile provider to the home or business - that's BT's strategy

    The more press for VOIP, the more people will want to know about itand we all gain.

    But for BT to say they have to compete against Skype has just validated Skype as the new up and coming!!
  • Your phone won't be engaged....
    if you subscribe to Internet Call Waiting (part of Communicator features) - that re-routes the incoming call to your Communicator online.

    Your phone won't be engaged if you use broadband either.
  • I fully agree, consumer rights are totally overidden by shareholder's interests and corporate greed. B T stands for Bloody Thieves and this evil monopoly needs to be destroyed.
  • Aherm - Skype calls are not 1.4 Euro's a minute as quoted. They start from 0.014Euros/minute to mainland europe,UK ,USA and Australia.
    BT has held the telco monopoly in the UK for far too long, it's about time someone came along to challenge it.
    Also - If you already pay for ADSL/Cable - why increase your phone bills - use your broadband to it's full potential.
  • Forget about skype i think at moment mobile phone outlets online are doing excllent offers on contracts that make it cheaper than usual like the Samsung D500 with 400mins per month for only