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BT customers with smartphone can now make calls using landline call bundle
Monday 14 January 2013 12:36:32 by Andrew Ferguson

With the transition from telephone calls using switched circuits to just becoming bits of packet flying around an IP network the latest move from BT Retail is not a complete surprise, but does represent an interesting twist as to how people can manage their telephone bills.

BT SmartTalk is available on the iTunes appstore for the iPhone and selected android devices and once the app is linked to your BT telephone account it allows you to make telephone calls at the same cost as your landline or even part of an inclusive calls bundle. The calls can be across either a WiFi link or your phones mobile data connection, though if using the 4G/3G/GPRS link remember to watch your bundled data allowance on the iPhone or android phone.

"This is a really exciting breakthrough that means you can take your BT calling plan with you and continue saving money when you’re away from home, either in the UK or abroad. BT SmartTalk helps you get even more value from your BT package and much more from your smartphone. At last you can actually call freephone 0800 numbers for free from mobiles and get inclusive 0845 and 0870 calls too. And of course, you can take advantage of BT Wi-fi which gives you access to a massive network of 7.5 million hotspots around the world."

John Petter, managing director consumer, BT

Many people already have large inclusive calls bundles on their mobile, but for people with PAYG options, the ability to choose to make a call and pay for it or find a free WiFi hotspot is interesting. It also means we may start to see people making calls on the London Underground via the Virgin Media WiFi network. Up to five users are supported, which should cover the vast majority of households where people own an iPhone.

The BT press release includes some examples of the sorts of savings possible, such as using the app to make calls to 0845 numbers instead of paying your mobiles PAYG rate.

One further aspect of the service is that even when within the home, if one person is using the landline for a call, the app would allow someone else to make a call over the broadband connection. Older models of the home hub supported a hub phone, which was not available on the Home Hub 3 and was a feature some people missed.

Update 1pm: Added a link to the Google Play app version. The software should also work on iPad and other iOS devices, but there is no support from BT. Calls over the SmartTalk app are itemised along with normal calls on the bill and will be listed by the affiliated mobile number.


Posted by hypertony over 4 years ago
Interesting... wonder what the mobile operators will say. They're going to lose money on phone calls over this!
Posted by cyberdoyle over 4 years ago
That sounds great if the connection is good enough, which most will be. It reminded me of my friends' package, their landline won't even support voice let alone dial up most days, so they have gone on a local wifi network and use vonage for voice calls. They get their calls diverted at no charge to their mobile. How does that work? Does any other reader use vonage?
Posted by rayvon over 4 years ago
What about Windows phone? Left out again
Posted by JttB over 4 years ago
"What about Windows phone? Left out again"

The three people who own them in the UK use Virgin media.
Posted by Apilar over 4 years ago
lol, Windows phone.
Posted by dogbark over 4 years ago
You can't answer your landline phone using the app. Useless.
Posted by Chrismb over 4 years ago
What I really want is for my landline provider (currently BT but probably Sky if/when my exchange *finally* gets fibre) to do a package where I can call mobile numbers from my landline for a non-stupid cost! Got BT unlimited anytime calls currently, but bill is always £££ from all the calls to mobile nunbers!
Posted by ccsnet over 4 years ago
Lol @ jttb..

Does any one know if you cab have multiple uses of this app? It could have some advantages if so.... also can it receive incoming calls?
Posted by andrew (Favicon staff member) over 4 years ago
Up to five people.

No incoming calls, outgoing only.
Posted by dogbark over 4 years ago
Up to 5 users, but you can't answer your landline phone using the app.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Very useful for calling people in the UK when abroad!
Posted by acpsd775 over 4 years ago
so basically they've done what sip providers have been doing for years but with the twist of it using your landlines phone bill instead of topping up, ive had a land line type number on my mobile for the past 2-3 year via sipgate so my friends can call me on my mobile from their land line for free,i also have a sip phone for when im at home too all win situation really
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Do SIP phones fallback to 3G/2G when internet is down?
Posted by zyborg47 over 4 years ago
I can do that with sipgate if I want to.
I don't think it will get me going back to Bt to be honest.
Posted by jroadley over 4 years ago
I don't get it...
Posted by bonnington over 4 years ago
It does what it says on the tin. It's a pity it doesn't allow for incoming calls to the mobile as I live in an area with no reliable mobile signal. Orange's signal boost worked well but their coverage for me is worse than my current provider Tesco (aka O2). Oh and it requires the sending and receipt of a text message as part of the validation process, which meant a wet walk down the lane to find a signal.
Posted by ccsnet over 4 years ago
Thanks for the replys. So far it looks OK but took some time to sign up.... I guess time will tell.
Posted by pcoventry76 over 4 years ago
Is this the step towards 4G? as in calls are made over 4G as data calls?
Posted by timmay over 4 years ago
Nice idea. Needs incoming calls as well then I wouldn't need to have a standard BT phone plugged in.

Shame I have no allowance on my BT line.

... still waiting for the text for a pin, have requested twice now...
Posted by timmay over 4 years ago
Strange how the caller ID will be the mobile number. I guess this is why a pin is needed to check the mobile number so that people don't spoof/fake the number.
Posted by adebov over 4 years ago
It's a good idea - if they ever send out the PIN by text.
Of course; I'm on Orange/EE (which is the worst network in the country) and I often get texts hours, sometimes days, after they were sent (so it could equally be EE - they should really be called NA - Nothing Anywhere)
Posted by adebov over 4 years ago
PIN came through (eventually).
The app works a treat and even allows you to call your home number.
Very useful if you've an unlimited 3G data allowance.
I wonder if this is BT's way of getting more people to use their FON/wi-fi service :-)
Posted by leexgx over 4 years ago
never really had issues getting text messages on orange, as others have posted seems its not very fast when you request for the Pin (turn off 3g on your phone as 3g can make issues from time to time 2g is far more reliable, but you need 3g when making calls thought)
Posted by David_W over 4 years ago
It's justanother reminder that voice calls are getting cheaper. My personal mobile account is on Vodafone Red SIM Only, so I have unlimited calls to landlines and mobiles of any length (no need to redial every hour or incur charges). However, this will be very useful for a family member who sometimes travels to far flung places on business - if she's got good Wi-Fi, she can call UK landlines using our BT Anytime plan. I've installed it on my mobile as a backup - there may be occasions when I have Wi-Fi but no mobile coverage.
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Hmm.. we've got international plan so using our mobes on the go to call far flung places will work too.
Posted by banjomike over 4 years ago
I have a BT landline with BT Unlimited Anytime, Orange PAYG, and Virgin cable. Can I use this BT SmartTalk?
Posted by themanstan over 4 years ago
Assuming you have an Android smart phone or iphone, you can. No requirement for a BT broadband package. Limitation being your data package for 3g or having a wifi connection.
Posted by otester over 4 years ago
You can get 'BT WiFi' by buying a box directly from FON if you want to avoid BT.

This will only really affect networks that rely on call/text based packages like O2/Vodafone.
Posted by richlell over 4 years ago
My experience of actual call quality is that there is a really long delay and considerable echo, although I'm using my data package not wi-fi. I've had to hang up its so bad. Could others post actual call experience (including provider) please? I'm on o2 - maybe others are better?
Posted by Bob_s2 over 4 years ago
It makes far more sense to encourage more homeworking. A sensible way forward would be to say have 50% of the staff working from home on anyone day so you can halve the amount of office space needed and half the number of commuter journeys

The need for HS2 to remove congestion on the West coast main line is very weak. There is already surplus capacity on the Marylebone line to Birmingham
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