Internet Telephony and Video
Internet Telephony (or Voice over Internet Protocol, VoIP, also TOIP, Talk Over IP) is due to be the next big thing in phone calls. Video over IP is also here. The technology sends your voice calls over your internet connection (usually broadband), cutting the cost of phone calls. Calls can be free to users on the same network, and providers can offer discounted international calls.
VOIP Hardware Searches:
Internet Telephony and Video Providers
Many ISPs offers a VoIP service (Wanadoo, Tesco, BT - see the broadband provider page) as part of their broadband package. Below are a number of providers of stand-alone services.
Skype offers free Skype-to-Skype phone calls with their free software, and phone calls to UK mobiles cost 15p per minute. Euro 1.7c per minute to landlines in the US and Western Europe. The Register reports that Skype v2 now offers video on PCs.Yahoo messenger - includes free Messenger to Messenger calls and video (via a webcam).
BT's VoIP systems for business
Vonage.co.uk - Offers subscription based packages with unlimited UK calls, as well as a phone number for your connection.
Sipgate.co.uk - German-based provider, provide a sipgate phone that plugs into your router.
Voipfone.co.uk (Inet Telecoms Ltd) - UK-based VOIP provider
Voiptalk.org (Telappliant) - UK-based VOIP provider.
Net2phone.com - US based service. Using free software gives discounted rates to foreign phones.
Iconnecthere.com - US based service, calls from your PC.
Rogerdarlington.co.uk/VoIP.html - information on some of the possibilities of Internet Telephony.
For small businesses:Services aimed at small UK businesses.
Some messenger services (for PCs) are now offering VOIP (sometimes via other providers).
If you have a PC, the best way to try out VoIP (if you have a suitable headset) is to use one of the messenger services below:
UK Regulators are still considering how to proceed with VOIP.
See the UK utility price comparison page for comparisons of landline providers (BT, NTL, Primus, Toucan etc.).
Otherwise, find a cheap mobile contract with plenty of minutes using the mobile phones page.