One of the advantages of hyperfast broadband is that you can use it for your phone service as well as the internet. We’ve had a few questions about how this works, so here is a handy FAQ…
Can I make phone calls using B4RN?
Yes. You just need to sign up with one of the several ‘Voice Over Internet’ (or VOIP) companies. They offer you a telephone service which uses your internet connection instead of copper phone lines. You won’t need to pay line rental any more, and these services are competitively priced. Typically they offer options like
- Pay As You Go
- Unlimited calls to UK landlines
- Unlimited calls to landlines, mobiles and certain other countries
If I use B4RN for phone calls can I still keep my old phone number?
Yes. You can ‘port’ your existing number to your internet phone service. There’s normally a one-off charge for this.
Can I keep my existing phone handsets?
Again, the answer is ‘Yes’. Most VOIP companies provide an adapter for people who want to keep their old handsets. But if you use new handsets that are designed to take advantage of the VOIP service, then you can have lots of additional features (such as the ability to record calls). You can even use your mobile phone as your landline, which means you can take calls on your home landline even if you’re in Australia!
What if there’s a power cut?
If there’s a power cut then your internet router (and therefore your internet phone) would not be usable. Traditional plug-in phones do still work during power cuts, but keeping your old phone account might be an expensive way to guard against this particular eventuality. If you have a mobile, that could of course be your power-cut backup.
However… You could purchase something called an Uninterruptible Power Supply (or UPS). This is a small box which plugs into your router and automatically steps in if there is a power cut. It means that even if your power goes down your internet and phone would keep working. You can get a UPS from Amazon for as little as £25.99.
How do I choose a VOIP service provider?
It’s very like choosing an internet provider. You can search for recommendations on the internet. Some of the most popular ones in the UK are Vonage, Sipgate, Voipfone and Circle Loop. Many of them allow you to try the service for free to see if you like it.
However – STOP PRESS – B4RN are currently planning to start their own integrated VOIP service. We don’t have any details about the cost of this yet, but we would hope that it will be advantageous for B4RN customers. We will let you know as soon as we have more info.
Can I see an example of a VOIP contract?
Here’s a typical example:
Circle Loop (www.circleloop.com) is a VOIP company based in Lancashire. Their “Unlimited” service costs £15 per month (plus VAT) and gives you unlimited calls to UK landlines, UK mobiles, and also calls to some other countries including USA, Australia and Canada. There is no setup fee, and of course no line rental.
Circle Loop also have a “Pay as You Go” service which costs £5 per month (plus VAT). That allows you unlimited incoming calls, and outbound calls (both UK and international) from 3p per minute.
Both of these services are rolling monthly contracts, not long-term commitments. So you can switch between them with no problem, or even cancel completely if you’re going away for a few weeks.
Keeping your existing number is a one-off charge of £20 with Circle Loop.
(NB we are not endorsing this provider in particular, but using it for illustration purposes. You can see more examples here: https://b4mintsprint.wordpress.com/telephone-calling-via-b4rn/.)