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BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

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bungeejumper
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BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445207

Postby bungeejumper » September 25th, 2021, 10:05 am

Warning, lotta questions. :|

Apologies if the following sounds stupid or pathetic. I've just read the thread at viewtopic.php?f=39&t=30821, and I'd love to say I understood most/all of it, but unfortunately I don't. And I have this feeling that BT are trying to rush something past me while I'm confused. All help gratefully appreciated. :)

Some basics: We live in a rural area, with fibre to the cabinet and the last mile in copper. I get about 21 mbps from my BT Infinity set-up, which was good enough for around £40 a month. Mobile phone coverage here is well below 4G, and it often isn't there at all. That'll become more relevant in a moment.

Sooooooo...... Eight days ago, my ancient BT Home Hub 3 packed up and my internet went down. I phoned the support line and they put me through to somebody in Glasgow, who promised me a top-of-the-range Smart Hub 2 router, and duly did so. The stuff arrived four days later, and it worked straight out of the box. I'm back with 21 mbps, and life is good.

Except that the Glasgow woman went straight into sales mode and tried to tell me that BT was upgrading my system to VOIP. I could connect any VOIP phone to the hub, she said, and that would mean that BT could downgrade my (very lightly used) landline account to PAYG @ 20p a minute. I would also be able to dial out from my landline number using my VOIP data allowance, which would effectively mean that it cost me nothing for outward calls.

I have no idea whether that was correct - maybe so, but by then she was battering me with so much tech that I could hardly follow. She also said I could use the hub's wifi calling facility to hook up a mobile (and thus improve my connectivity) - and that that would enable me to make outward calls via VOIP from my mobile, but using my landline's number. I have not the slightest idea whether that's technically possible. Is it?

With hindsight, I'd have liked to ask her a lot more. Could I run a second landline number through the VOIP system as well as my first one (plus the mobile number, so that would make three), and if so, how would that affect my landline voicemails, which are currently stored on answerphones on our existing multi-handset phones? (I think I get a voicemail account with VOIP, but I couldn't seem to pin her down.)

And then there are our existing (non-VOIP) phone handsets. I do understand that I can buy a £30 VOIP adapter that will connect an old-style handset into VOIP, but would I be able to use all of its multi-handsets - for instance, if I plugged the base set in instead of just one of the handsets? And would I be able to do the same with our second landline and our other multi-handset system? Would that all work through the one broadband connection?

I told the Glasgow woman that I'd do some research and get back to her. But unbeknownst to me, she had already activated the switch to something called Halo 3, at about ten quid a month extra - and I hadn't even agreed to it yet. She's also activated the changed to my direct debit. What a cheek!

I think I smell a mis-selling scandal here, but if the deal is really as good as I understood her to be claiming, then I might decide to stick with it. I still have nine days left to cancel the order under the 14 day rule.

So, over to you. How much of what I've set out here seems probable, and how much of it seems iffy? I am an innocent abroad in this tech territory!

TIA

BJ

monabri
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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445221

Postby monabri » September 25th, 2021, 10:49 am

With VOIP, I believe you can use various Apps with your smartphone to allow them to use VOIP.

(Not answering your question, I know!)


scrumpyjack
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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445261

Postby scrumpyjack » September 25th, 2021, 1:47 pm

I suggest you switch to Zen. I can highly recommend them, no hard sell, just competent knowledgeable staff.

I transferred my BT landline to them a few months ago and now they have moved it to VOIP. All I needed to do was plug my phone into their router instead of the landline wall socket. Their VOIP service (called Digital Voice) cost £7 a month include 1,000 mins of calls, answerphone etc etc. I have scrapped the landline saving £20 a month.

It is all going VOIP in a few years anyway so might as well do it now.

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445272

Postby Stompa » September 25th, 2021, 2:38 pm

scrumpyjack wrote:I transferred my BT landline to them a few months ago and now they have moved it to VOIP. All I needed to do was plug my phone into their router instead of the landline wall socket. Their VOIP service (called Digital Voice) cost £7 a month include 1,000 mins of calls, answerphone etc etc.

It sounds remarkably similar to BTs Digital Voice service.

https://www.bt.com/help/landline/what-i ... -i-get-it-

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445281

Postby Infrasonic » September 25th, 2021, 3:15 pm

Depending on your mobile contract / network provider you could get mobile calls over BB WiFi with compatible smart phones - negating any need for landline/VOIP numbers and additional costs.

https://www.4g.co.uk/news/ee-o2-three-a ... i-calling/

Along with VoLTE (Voice over LTE), Wi-Fi Calling is here to upgrade the humble phone call. As the name suggests, it lets you make and receive calls over Wi-Fi, as well as sending and receiving texts over it. That could be handy if you’re somewhere with little or no mobile signal, such as the London Underground, a place which notably has free Wi-Fi available in stations.

EE, Vodafone, O2 and Three each offer Wi-Fi Calling in some form, as do some MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operators), but some offer more options or make it available to more phones than others.

Read on for a rundown of which networks offer Wi-Fi Calling and each network’s approach to it. Note though that in all cases Wi-Fi Calling may not work if you haven't bought your phone directly from the network in question.

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445286

Postby Stompa » September 25th, 2021, 3:50 pm

I'd take a look at BT Hub Manager:

https://www.bt.com/help/broadband/learn ... ub-manager

perhaps BT have enabled Digital Voice, and you can then plug a phone into the back of the Smart Hub 2.

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445297

Postby mc2fool » September 25th, 2021, 4:45 pm

bungeejumper wrote:I get about 21 mbps from my BT Infinity set-up, which was good enough for around £40 a month.

£40 a month?!? :shock: If you're out of contract you should get on the blower to them ASAP and threaten to leave if you don't get a better deal, and if you're in contract you should do the same when your contract is about to expire.

Before you do so check out the comparison websites to see what headline prices the competition (and, indeed, BT itself!) is offering, and then figure you can almost certainly haggle them down to lower than that.

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445313

Postby XFool » September 25th, 2021, 6:24 pm

bungeejumper wrote:I told the Glasgow woman that I'd do some research and get back to her. But unbeknownst to me, she had already activated the switch to something called Halo 3, at about ten quid a month extra - and I hadn't even agreed to it yet. She's also activated the changed to my direct debit. What a cheek!

Yeah. That sounds like the BT 'Helpdesk' to me. :roll:

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445324

Postby Bminusrob » September 25th, 2021, 7:39 pm

The woman in Glasgow clearly spotted a sucker at a distance. £40 per month for 21Mb/s is very nearly theft.

However, let me tell you about my Internet experience since moving to very rural Devon two years ago.

Fortunately, I did my research well in advance of moving. BT and various others offered broadband at 10Mb/s for £20 to £30 per month. However, they all use Openreach's wires, and the best Openreach would offer was 1.5Mb/s. (after we moved, our new neighbour told us that 1.5Mb/s was pie in the sky, and you were lucky to get 0.75Mb/s). So, I looked elsewhere. Airband was not available at the time (and they still get pretty poor reviews), but Three and Vodafone offered unlimited mobile broadband. Vodafone provided a slightly better data rate (40Mb/s versus 30Mb/s), but Three cost £22/month, and Vodafone cost £50/month, and I am a Yorkshireman after all, so we took the Three option, and have not regretted it.

So, what about phones? Well, having got our mobile broadband set up, BT wanted £18/month for a landline (calls not included). Cue looking for alternatives. We went for a VOIP solution using Sipgate. We spent about £30 on a cheap Cisco ATA adapter. This allows us to connect our old BT phones (a BT Trio) to the ATA adapter, and thence to the Internet hub), and using Sipgate, we have a local area phone number. The ATA adapter has two ports, so we could connect a second phone with a different local (or non-local) number. Sipgate works as PAYG, so if we make an outgoing call using the phone, we pay (a reasonable price) per minute. Of course, in practice, our mobile packages have inclusing calls, so we always use our mobiles when making calls. In nearly two years, we have reduced our credit balance with Sipgate from the original £10 to £8.33. With Sipgate, we also have an app on our mobile phones, so that when the "landline" phone rings, the mobile phone app also rings, so we can answer the home phone even when we are away from home. I reckon we have saved well over £400 so far compared with the BT landline alternative.

If you need persuading further, landlines are scheduled to be discontinued by 2025, and all phones will then use SIP/VOIP or an equivalent.

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445378

Postby bungeejumper » September 26th, 2021, 10:45 am

Bminusrob wrote:So, what about phones? Well, having got our mobile broadband set up, BT wanted £18/month for a landline (calls not included). Cue looking for alternatives. We went for a VOIP solution using Sipgate. We spent about £30 on a cheap Cisco ATA adapter. This allows us to connect our old BT phones (a BT Trio) to the ATA adapter, and thence to the Internet hub), and using Sipgate, we have a local area phone number. The ATA adapter has two ports, so we could connect a second phone with a different local (or non-local) number. Sipgate works as PAYG, so if we make an outgoing call using the phone, we pay (a reasonable price) per minute. Of course, in practice, our mobile packages have inclusing calls, so we always use our mobiles when making calls. In nearly two years, we have reduced our credit balance with Sipgate from the original £10 to £8.33. With Sipgate, we also have an app on our mobile phones, so that when the "landline" phone rings, the mobile phone app also rings, so we can answer the home phone even when we are away from home. I reckon we have saved well over £400 so far compared with the BT landline alternative.

Excellent response. Yes, it's not the extortionate price that I'm confused about, but the practicalities of what can be achieved. It's a leap into a whole new area of technology for an idiot like me who just wants a phone that rings, and I'm getting the impression that the next four years are going to be open season on simple suckers like me.

I've already established that the BT woman was fibbing :roll: when she told me that every VOIP phone needed to be physically connected to the router. A quick Google for cordless VOIP multi-handset phones produces enough leads, although I also gather that not all phones work with all providers.

Next stupid question, then. I can see that it's easy to get two phone numbers transferred to Sipgate (or whatever), and there'd be a small monthly charge for the second number. Reading between the lines (and good god, they still don't make it easy!), it looks as though I can either pay Sipgate £10/20 a month for a call package, or a pretty cheap PAYG setup @ just over 1p a minute. But if I understand correctly, Sipgate itself doesn't do a broadband service, whereas I'm used to having the whole caboodle bundled together. So am I looking at another £25 a month for the separate broadband? That would seem to narrow the cost advantage somewhat. **

But hey, what do I know? I'm just a punter with a lot to learn. :|

Thanks very much!

BJ

** Note:I sShould have said. We can't do a mobile broadband like yours because we don't have a 4G connection. Or any connection at all, quite a lot of the time. So it'll have to be a conventional bb deal involving copper wires. :(

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445402

Postby Infrasonic » September 26th, 2021, 12:22 pm

bungeejumper wrote:** Note:I sShould have said. We can't do a mobile broadband like yours because we don't have a 4G connection. Or any connection at all, quite a lot of the time. So it'll have to be a conventional bb deal involving copper wires. :(


Up to date BB/ISP news is here - including mobile - quite a lot of recent rural coverage developments...https://www.ispreview.co.uk/

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445586

Postby bungeejumper » September 27th, 2021, 1:10 pm

Update: I have told BT to cancel the new deal that they've just dumped on me, under the statutory 14 day cooling-off rules.

I've given the reasons: (a) that BT didn't seek my consent before signing me up for a costly two-year contract that I didn't ever ask them for; (b) that we had a clear agreement that I'd get back to BT after I'd had a few days for technical investigation, but they just barrelled the new contract through on the very next day; and (c) that at no time have I been shown the terms and conditions, let alone approved them. I am beyond words!

If BT agree to reverse the changes and to put me back on the previous Infinity deal (no contract period), I'll probably stick around for a month or so while I sort out a better arrangement with somebody else. If they say that the old Infinity broadband deal is no longer available - which they might :| - I'll just tell them that it's their problem, and they have a commitment to provide me with an operational service. But I don't think it will come to that. Either way, I'm outta here just as soon as I've got my next move planned.

Very many thanks to all for helping me to get my head round all these unfamiliar techy issues, and for the suggestions WRT VOIP providers, broadband providers, hubs, VOIP adapters and much more besides. I imagine that there must be some "Beginners Start Here" guides to VOIP and suchlike - can anybody recommend any?

Thanks again. Will keep you posted.

BJ

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445592

Postby scrumpyjack » September 27th, 2021, 1:22 pm

I suggest you just look at Zen. If you go for their broadband including Digital Voice, they will port your existing landline number and all you have to do is plug your existing phone into their router. You do not need to understand lots of technicalities.
https://www.zen.co.uk/

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445608

Postby fisher » September 27th, 2021, 2:00 pm

scrumpyjack wrote:I suggest you just look at Zen. If you go for their broadband including Digital Voice, they will port your existing landline number and all you have to do is plug your existing phone into their router. You do not need to understand lots of technicalities.
https://www.zen.co.uk/


I have used zen for 11 years and would recommend them. The Digital Voice product is currently only available with their full fibre offering. I have fibre to the cabinet but not full fibre to the premises which is the best I can get in my village. So, if you want their Digital Voice offering make sure you sign up for the correct broadband package. It's probably best to give them a ring about it to check.

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Re: BT VOIP - I'm still hideously confused!

#445654

Postby bungeejumper » September 27th, 2021, 4:09 pm

fisher wrote:I have used zen for 11 years and would recommend them. The Digital Voice product is currently only available with their full fibre offering. I have fibre to the cabinet but not full fibre to the premises which is the best I can get in my village. So, if you want their Digital Voice offering make sure you sign up for the correct broadband package. It's probably best to give them a ring about it to check.

Thanks for that, fisher. Looks like Zen are a serious contender, then. Costs are a bit higher than I expected, but if the quality's there it should be fine. And then I'd need to have a separate provider such as Sipgate for VOIP? That would enable me to run two/three numbers through the one broadband connection, then?

Like you, I'm in a village with fibre to the cabinet and then copper for the last kilometre or thereabouts, so I can't have Digital Voice. But the signal's clean and the line's quiet, because I nagged Openreach into giving it all a thorough overhaul about ten years ago. During which they spent a whole day and found six different line faults between me and the cabinet! No wonder I'm getting better speeds than my neighbours now. :lol:

BJ


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