The truth about Telecommunications Companies
We will make no friends in the telecomms world by telling you this, but someone needs to!
British Telecom have a major monopoly – that much we all know, even wit hother firms out there, they still dictate the rules.
Typically, if you are with BT you pay a large monthly “Line Rental” fee (often this is £20 a month).
Then the call charges, typically 11p connection charge and peak times 10p per minute.
This is the bit I won’t be thanked for…….
BT sell call bundles to 3rd parties (other telecomm forms) from about 0.02 pence per minute! Yes thats right, at those rates a 50 minute call would cost you 1 penny.
So, you can see that from the rate BT charges 3rd parties Liily, Gamma and the rest, that BT themselves must be making money hand over fist, because they are still making a profit on selling to 3rd parties at 0.02 pence per minute!!!
Basically their prices are extortionate and there is not a lot home users or business users can do about it.
The best solution is to go VoIP…… What is VOIP?
Voice Over Internet Protocol is a broadband facilitated service that allows you to make use of your internet connection to make telephone calls.
To use a VOIP service there are a few things that you need :-
1) An Internet connection of more than 2 megabyte (Mb) download speed and 500 Kilobyte (kb) upload speed (6 Mb download and 500Kb upload is preferable).
2) A VOIP account with an associated telephone number (that is where we come in).
3) A VOIP telephone or VOIP Convertor (again, we can help there).
Using a VOIP phone is the same as using any other phone, but the costs are much smaller. At the time of writing, British Telecom charge up to 11 pence to connect a call and then 10 pence per minute during peak times.
A VOIP call with SOHO66/CTS costs just 1p per minute during peak times and 0.5 pence per minute off peak. (All quoted prices exclude VAT).
Some of the features available on a VOIP system as standard require special hardware on a
traditional phone line and even VOIP add on features like call recording which has a small monthly charge depending on how long you need to keep recordings for, could cost thousands of GBP to implement on a traditional office phone system.
Assuming you have your Internet Connection, then your next concern will be a VOIP phone. There are many different makes and models available depending on the sort of features you want access to from your phone, but most of the standard ones like message retrieval, programmable keys and conference calls are available on the most basic models. When we
say basic, please don’t think poor quality, these are superb phones that look smart as well.
Small Offices Home Offices
If you want to reduce your home phone bill with the minimum of fuss and cost or you have a small office with standard phones then you need some additional hardware first and the simplest way forward is to use something like:
Grandstream HandyTone 812
- Supports 2 SIP profiles and 2 FXS ports
- Strong AES encryption with security certificate per unit
- Automated & secure provisioning options using TR069
- 3-way voice conferencing per port
- Exceptional voice quality with wideband HD codec
- Supports T.38 Fax for reliable Fax-over-IP
- Supports dual Gigabit network ports
- High performance NAT router
Standard office phones are available with all sorts of functions but they start with this model typically:
The GXP1620 is Grandstream’s standard IP phone for small businesses, this Linux-based model includes 2 lines, 3 XML programmable soft keys, and 3-way conferencing. The GXP1620 includes dual 10/100M network ports. This model also supports multi-language and call-waiting.
Of course you need one for every member of staff/desk and these retail at just £39.71 inc. VAT
The GXP1620 is Grandstream’s standard IP phone for small businesses, this Linux-based model includes 2 lines, 3 XML programmable soft keys, and 3-way conferencing. Both phones include dual 10/100M network ports. The GXP1620 also supports multi-language and call-waiting.
- 132*48 pixel backlit graphical LCD display.
- 2 dual-color line keys (with 2 SIP accounts and up to 2 call appearances), 3 XML programmable context-sensitive soft keys, 3-way conference
- HD wideband audio, superb full-duplex hands-free speakerphone with advanced acoustic echo cancellation and excellent double-talk performance.
There are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of phones available, something to suite everyone and every budget. At the top end we have:
The GXV3175 represents the future in personal IP multimedia communication. Stunning video quality, intriguing user interface with delightful details, rich Web applications embodied in a sleek tablet-like design, distinguished this product as the ultimate desktop multimedia phone. The GXV3175 sports a large 7″ touch screen color LCD, a tiltable mega pixel CMOS camera with razor sharp clarity, dual network ports with integrated PoE, integrated WiFi, comprehensive auxilary ports, and support for advanced video compression standard H.264/H.263/H.263+. The GXV3175 redefines the desktop communication experience with a raised level of innovation and integration of state-of-the-art real time video conference, personalized rich media presentation and delivery, popular Web and social networking applications, and advanced business productivity tools. £232.72
inc. VAT The features on this phone are so extensive that I don’t really want to take space up here currently.
What else do I need?
The hardware alone won’t get you anywhere on it’s own, you need to have a provider to deal with the actual calls.
You can “port” your exisiting number if you with, this means you don’t have to change the number you have currently.
Alternatively you can have a new number or a none geographical number, you can even have an 0800 number.