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Supermarket VOIP 139

Posted by Zonk
from the voip-for-the-people? dept.
chuckT writes "Tesco, the UK's largest supermarket chain, has announced plans to sell a VOIP handset and connection through their stores. Given that one out of every eight pounds, spent on shopping in the UK goes to Tesco, and the UK has one of the highest broadband takeup rates around, is this the end for the classic telecoms providers like BT?"
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Supermarket VOIP

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  • Imperial March (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    one out of every eight pounds,

    Isn't the UK on the metric system? It sounds like Tesco should cut down on the amount of packaging it uses.

    I once worked for a mobile cellular company; it had a product called Freedom Link that allowed business to setup an infrastructure that would relay on sight traffic for one mobile device to another. That was squashed a few years ago forcing you to go through their lines and pay the minutes that way. If you knew how simple these devices were, you wouldn't be paying any ce
  • by digitaldc (879047) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @01:52PM (#14510971)
    The BT service offers free calls to UK landlines at evenings and weekends, at a cost of £4.99 a month

    This is totally kick-ass! Where else can you pay £4.99 to make free calls?
    NOWHERE! That's where!
    • well picked up, oh don't ya love those marketing geniuses :-) ... but this kind of makes sense in the UK, where we have to pay for all calls (does the USA still have free local calls?). UK consumers will get the "pay 4.99 and have free calls" because at the moment they pay BT a standing line charge and then pay for each call (time based charging) on top....
      • by digitaldc (879047) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:11PM (#14511172)
        UK consumers will get the "pay 4.99 and have free calls" because at the moment they pay BT a standing line charge and then pay for each call (time based charging) on top....

        This is exactly the kind of thing that makes people angry, move to other continents and start a Revolution against the reigning Empire.
        • The funniest thing I heard for a while was the discussion about the "British Day" that Gordon Brown mooted recently. My friend proposed that we should celebrate it on the 4th July... Why? Well, that's the day that the US celebrates independence and complete separation from the British state and nation, and so should we, so should we...
          • My father used to claim that if the Crown and Parliament in the 1770s had given in to American demands for representation in Parliament, then the Brits would have started a civil war sometime later to separate from the America's in order to prevent their complete domination by their colonies.
            • Here in the US, we had a low-key celebration of Ben Franklin's 300th birthday. In a couple of the history shows that I heard on the radio, they mentioned that in the 1750s or so, Franklin had extrapolated various data on population and the economy, and estimated that within a century the North American colonies would have more people and a larger economy than the UK. He predicted that the effective capitol of the Empire would then be in the Colonies, probably New York, rather than London.

              But he changed hi
      • I'm from the US and my phone service provider used to SBC. I switched to vonage over the Summer, but I can't imagine the billing has changed all that much. When I subscribed to SBC, local calls were free, however, it depends on your definition of "local".

        For example, I live in Madison. Orange, which is 24.15 miles away (as the wolf runs) is a "local" call. On the other hand, Branford, which is 10.73 miles away, is not a local call and I am charged on a per minute basis.

        That never made any sense to
        • It's because the two locations are in different "rate centers". It's similar to school districts. You could live across the street from one high school, but your kids have to attend a different one a few miles away because you happend to be the border of the district. And as much as I love to hate SBC, they really can't be faulted for this. Rate centers are determined by the state.
        • I had an odd thing like this in my area, then the local telco's got together and made it pretty standard in my county that your local calling is your exchange/s (for example the biggest city was 772-776) and all adjacent exchanges. If there you aren't touching or in the exchange your calling then it isn't local. I don't think this would work as well in more urban cities, but it is great for medium-populated counties.
      • The USA has free local calls, and most providers throw in free domestic long distance as well now. For $99 a month you can get the whole package, broadband, telephone service with all the bells and whistles (caller ID, 3 way, voice mail, free LD, etc.) and television service. All the major cable companies and telcos offer it.

        Here, like most of Europe, however, its all changing to cell phones. I dont know anybody who still owns a landline. All cell phones in the US include free domestic LD. Many people have
        • In France the standard packet is ADSL2+ w/ TV, often WiFi, IP phone which is free for France and often other regions (my operator lists Germany, Australia, Austria, Canada, China, Spain, US/Canada (inc, cell phones), Ireland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, UK and Singapour). The usual price is 30 €s / month.

          However the catch is that calls to other local VOIP operators isn't free. And you can't tell the numbers apart. :)

          Of course if you watch the TV or make a call, you eat into the available band
      • The best thing about this is that you'll need to have broadband. If you want broadband over BT lines (most likely) then you're still going to have to have a BT phone line coming into your house in order to get it - so you'll still pay BT at least 11 pounds per month in order to make your free calls. Hmmmm....

      • does the USA still have free local calls?

        Haha... we have free long-distance [att.com] calls nowadays. I would much rather live in Europe for a lot of reasons, but I will say this: telecom be cheeeaaaap in this country.
    • That's a total bargain compared to the standing charge that BT will charge you, just for the right to make their distinctly-non-free calls.
    • by pisces22 (819606)
      BellTory?
    • Here in the US we enjoy free local calling. Most places in Europe, UK included, don't enjoy such a luxury.

      It must be nice having a view of the world that's limited to your own back yard.
      • BT used to be (I don't know about now) limited by the regulator to not be competitive, as it is a monopoly.

        That's why BT never offered free local calls.

        Of course, all the cable companies offer them, and competing phone companies too.

        However people just want one number, and more and more frequently they want it to be the mobile number. It's nice and easy, it isn't tied to your location, and the phones do lots of useful & neat things too. The number's the same if I move house, go on holiday, etc. The hous
      • by Anonymous Coward
        Here in the US we enjoy free local calling. Most places in Europe, UK included, don't enjoy such a luxury.

        You are wrong here.

        But you do get "free" local calls after you pay $24.99 for your landline. And that's just in a big city. To 'baby Bells' you can pay much much more... A the CHEAPEST landline down South for a friend of mine started at about $50/month; I told that friend to suggest Baby Bells perform an anatomically impossible act on themselves, and get a cell-phone instead.

        They screw us over with the
    • I heard BT once tried to get into the property market, but had a job finding people who were willing to take out a mortgage on a property, then pay rent on that same property, then pay an additional charge for each room they used.
  • Of course, Tesco are likely just re-selling somebody else's network like most other VoIP players seem to do. So far they do Insurance, Tellys, Voice and banking services.. They will be operating small brothels [bbc.co.uk] next..
  • I hope not (Score:3, Insightful)

    by whirlibulf (911135) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @01:53PM (#14510980)
    VOIP has many problems, e.g. unlike regular telephones on regular telephone lines, they do not work during power cuts. They can also cause problems when being used for emergency calls, as the location of the person cannot be traced easily (if at all.) Until the problems are sorted out, I don't think people will be jumping onto VOIP phones.
    • Perhaps you're hoping for a level of corporate ethic that just does not exist. Who's going to tell average beer-drinkin' Joe (or cheerful Jonathan in the UK) that the cheap "inturrnet" phone doesn't support emergency calling or calling during power cuts. I'm pretty sure it's not going to be plastered over the VOIP phone boxes, and I'm also reasonably sure that average Joe/Jonathan does not read Slashdot (or a newspaper for that matter). And at last count, there are more Joes in the world than Slashdotters =
      • And at last count, there are more Joes in the world than Slashdotters

        And given the level of whining by /.ers about getting dates, this condition seems doomed to only get worse as evolution continues its inexorable march.

    • For the average user, I don't think they really think about those factors. The majority of people will see the free long distance and make a decision on that. I think it should be noted on the box of the VOIP phones that there are still some real issues with the network.
    • The other thing to think about here is that most people now have redundancy when it comes to phones.

      We just made the jump to voip at my house. Previously, we would not have considered it - but now that my wife and I both have cell phones - the ability to make emergency calls is not really a problem. (Unless the cell phones aren't charged of course). In the event of a big disaster, it's likely that all phone service will be down so we'd be hosed anyway.

      I think the two things driving the voip revolution are p
      • I used to work for a pension fund and the funniest piece of research was a chart breaking the population down between the two proposed bundle carriers (voice video internet) 30% hated the phone company and would switch to the cable company under any circumstances, 15% would go to the cable company for the bundle if it were cheaper, 10% couldn't decide, 15% would go to the phone company if it were cheaper, and 30% hated the cable company and would switch to the phone company under any circumstances.

        More
    • uh... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by C10H14N2 (640033) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:12PM (#14511184)
      None of the problems seen as particular to VOIP (in the sense of Vonage at home etc) actually are and, besides, in the corporate environment, it has been a done deal for years. I haven't seen a large office that wasn't using IP phones in some years.

      POTS doesn't run on magic fairy dust, it requires electricity, but it is assumed to be well backed-up, although it still suffers problems of cut lines etc. In "real" emergencies like earthquakes and storms, POTS goes out ALL THE TIME. How about the growing tide of wireless-only people? 911 problems are the same, towers go out, etc. With VOIP, you're running over POTS or cable. If YOU have a backup power system, much as is required on the provider end, there's little if any systemic difference in reliability--and really, most people no longer use telephones that run only on the power of the phone line itself, so while your telephone line may be just dandy, it doesn't do much good when the phone itself is dead.
      • The place I work at (large multinational) is using the http://www.doro.com.au/ [doro.com.au] doro congress 100 phones as desk phones which dont appear to be VOIP (although they might be)
      • "POTS goes out ALL THE TIME"

        Huh?

        Someone did the math on this, most US based phone services have an uptime of about 99.999% which equated to about 6 seconds of down time *a year.* Vonage has an average uptime somewhere around 99.4%, which in this event, is quite a large difference.
        • The comment was preceded by "during EARTHQUAKES AND STORMS." If you lose connection for ten seconds on an average tuesday due to some network issue, your chances of being inconvenienced are pretty slim. If the telephone lines are snapped in an ice storm, that's probably a tad more inconvenient.
    • Re:I hope not (Score:4, Informative)

      by podperson (592944) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:16PM (#14511230) Homepage
      1. The emergency services issue has been solved. (OK, it requires the end-user to pay a little attention.) In any event, it's not really worse for VoIP than, say, cell phones.

      2. Power cuts are an issue, sure. Of course, a UPS for the VoIP box, router, and cable modem (which would probably keep going for a LONG time) would solve this issue. Most folks I know use cordless phones which -- guess what -- don't work during power cuts either (the handsets are battery-powered, but the base stations aren't).
      • I've got a $25 UPS which keeps my microwave modem, router and VoIP running. I then have a cordless base station that has battery backup. All in all i can keep calling and surfing for about 45 minutes when the power dies.

        I suspect most of the energy probably goes on keeping the microwave link up, but it's still a pretty decent solution for me.

      • Two points about UPSs:

        • I have a 300 VA UPS on my DSL modem, VOIP adapter, and telephone (I have a cordless phone). If I notice I'm having an outage, I unplug the phone and plug it in only when I want to make an outgoing call. The whole assembly lasts about 2-4 hours like this, which seems quite short, but since I have a cellphone too, it's not such a big problem.
        • Alot of people would be concerend that a power outage would cut their phone service, but I bet alot of people have a cordless phone system (lik
    • Re:I hope not (Score:2, Insightful)

      by RalphSleigh (899929)
      In the UK Broadband is mostly DSL, so you need a regular phoneline anyway, and I assume BT keep it connected for emergencys even if you dont pay them for a phone service through it. Might help during a power cut.
    • Why would you go to all the trouble of finding a landline in an emergency *anyway*? Most people would just ring from a mobile. After that, it's all down to triangulation.
    • VOIP has many problems, e.g. unlike regular telephones on regular telephone lines, they do not work during power cuts.

      Neither does anything else in the house.

      Except candles and books... Oh and a cell phone.
    • VOIP has many problems, e.g. unlike regular telephones on regular telephone lines, they do not work during power cuts.
      Since a large part of the UK has a portable (not mobile) phone as their only home phone - like me, rather a lot of the UK's regular phones don't work during power cuts either. Ok, you can answer (using handsfree on the base), but dialling is a problem.
    • Re:I hope not (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      A few months back, I think it was in November, Verizon had a major outage in Long Beach, California. I think 10 other cities were affected as well. Something about a major piece of equipment failing... Well anyways no one who had Verizon land lines could make any phone calls to anyone, not even to 911. I live in Long Beach and have Speakeasy naked DSL and VOIP service... I was able to call anyone and everyone even if they had Verizon. Strange situation, but it shows that while VOIP can have problems wi
    • The emergency calling issue has pretty much been solved already.

      And for power cuts, most people have cell phones these days and Vonage can detect outages and re-route your calls to any other number(like your cell phone).
  • Wireless (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bombadillo (706765) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @01:54PM (#14510985)
    Unless there is a wireless grid the users of voip will still be dependent on the cables coming into their house. Those cables for the most part are owned by the telco/cable companies. It's not really an end to the Telco's it is more of a transition of services offered.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday January 19, 2006 @01:55PM (#14510998) Homepage Journal
    I'm a big fan of VoIP (I've moved many friends and family to various companies). I can't wait until there are more programs available to let me use my PDA-bluetooth-tether-cell combo (150kbps download nearly everywhere) to talk without the cell network. I believe T-Mobile will actually help transition their users to VoIP as they build a faster network (and make their money that way).

    The big problem I have with VoIP is it still seems to rely on people wanting to contact POTS numbers. When will we see a replacement for the old phone number?

    The e-mail address isn't a bad idea, but I honestly don't want to share that with some people. A new number isn't memorable. Names are too generic and duplicated (there are 3 Adam Dada's that I've found in the past 3 years).

    What is the solution for the "Follow Me" signature that we can use as our VoIP contact? Is the future settings up 3 or 4 addresses so we can give friends, family and tele-marketters different numbers?
    • Numbers will never go away, simply because it just won't be the same, as many Slashdotter known, to ask a cute girl for her e-mail address in a bar.
      • as many Slashdotter known, to ask a cute girl for her e-mail address in a bar.

        And as a few recent slashdotters (who I sent my dating guide for geeks to in the past few weeks) know, the e-mail address is a loser's venture :)

        I'm not single anymore, but I would find it funny to ask for a phone number and get a VoIP IP-address instead.
    • The e-mail address isn't a bad idea, but I honestly don't want to share that with some people. A new number isn't memorable. Names are too generic and duplicated (there are 3 Adam Dada's that I've found in the past 3 years).

      Google is offering VOIP service with their google talk service. Unsurprisingly it uses the same scheme as the rest of DNS. You can talk to bob@gtalk.com or set up your own domain and people can send you talk requests to bob@mydomain.co.uk or whatever. Set up as many as you like. They

      • This is pretty much a non-issue.

        It seems like a non-issue, but I find that domain names are more bothersome than ever.

        My old e-mail address, say A.Dada@GoingSomewhere.com, was easy 5 years ago. Then it became "Is that .com or .net?" As I traveled more, it became "Wait, .com or .co.uk?" and then it is "A.dada or adada? or is that a-dada?"

        I switched to gmail specifically for spam filtering, but I found that I never have to repeat my e-mail address anymore (and saved me thousands of dollars a year in what
    • It would be nice if people could reach my VOIP line by calling my domain name - just forward it along like another protocol, say. We'd have to spend a few years with this as an optional way of doing business, though; land-line phones don't have a lot of options for calling URLs.
      • Actually, I thought of this years ago -- why not just start up a new domain flag like the MX and call it the VO or something. DNS can support it easily.

        In the long run, we can figure out a way to make a phone number address a domain name, I'm sure. We just need another DNS layer for reverse lookups, I guess.
    • "When will we see a replacement for the old phone number?"

      I'd like a gateway myself, for legacy support.

      What most people don't think of though is the advantage of having a new phone system that uses voip. Right now, all voice transmissions are at the rate of 8kbps, which is rather shitty for voice quality. FM is at 64kbps and a cd can be ripped to 320kbps.

      Imagine how much easier it would be to discern someone's voice on the phone if they were at FM quality?
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:04PM (#14511106) Homepage
    They lock down the hardware so that the market has lots of used VoIP hardware that is 100% useless. I can find gobs of Vonnage SIP phones on ebay for dirt but are locked to Vonnage.

    I just wish these companies would be required to be friendlier and unlock the hardware after the "contract" is up.

    Cellphone companies do thew same crap. I had to threaten to sue AT&T wireless because they locked my personal phone to their service. I purchased an unlocked phone myself used their service and their scumbag service rep locked my phone. these companies really need to learn what customer service is and that the customer's property needs to be released to them at the end of thwe contract.
    • just wish these companies would be required to be friendlier and unlock the hardware after the "contract" is up.

      You want to pass a law to do this? Make it criminal because you don't want to read the contract and deny making the free market decision to walk away from a bad contract?

      You sign one bad contract -- stupid you. You sign more than one -- you're the problem, not the other company. I don't sign any stock contracts anymore for anything, even my cell phone company accepted my changes to their contr
      • I read his post as saying that he bought an unlocked phone, separately, on his own, WITHOUT AT&T, and that the AT&T rep locked his phone to their service. Is that not what you read? Was that somehow his fault as well? Are you saying that AT&T's contract said they would lock his phone to their service? Can you post a copy of his contract for us all to read?
  • Huh? (Score:3, Funny)

    by BMonger (68213) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:07PM (#14511136)
    Given that one out of every eight pounds, spent on shopping in the UK goes to Tesco

    People in the UK exchange their fat for goods and services based on how much they weigh? Weird.

    warning: kidding
    • People in the UK exchange their fat for goods and services based on how much they weigh? Weird.

      That's nothing, in the States they can even make money and star in their own television [nbc.com] shows!
    • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Funny)

      by kadathseeker (937789) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:18PM (#14511246) Homepage
      Dude! Us Americans could be effing RICH! We have more fat and weight-gaining products than the rest of the world combined - surely we'll make more than enough to pay off our natl. debt.

      P.S. Americans think the world revolves around us because it does! The fat of America actually creates its own gravitational field stronger than the Earth's, which means it rotates around us. This is also why we have so many anorexic people here, they weren't heavy enough to remain where they were because our gravity is stronger. Watch out, McDonald's stock is up...
    • Re:Huh? (Score:3, Informative)

      by fiannaFailMan (702447)
      People in the UK exchange their fat for goods and services based on how much they weigh? Weird.

      Some bore will probably mod me 'off-topic' for this but the British pound gets its name from the time before the Bank of England started issuing fidicuary (sp?) money and when a pound note was representative of a pound of gold held by the BoE.

      • Re:Huh? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        when a pound note was representative of a pound of gold held by the BoE.

        A pound of silver, or roughly 240 silver pennies.
  • by Caspian (99221) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:10PM (#14511164)
    Tesco receives one out of every eight pounds spent on "shopping" (how is "shopping" defined? Is it all commerce, all commerce minus Internet commerce, all commerce by individuals as opposd to corporate entities and associations...?) 12.5% of the entire British shopping budget? One quid for every eight spent in the ENTIRE FLIPPING COUNTRY?

    Where is the outrage about this? Can you imagine the American equivalent? I can't imagine that even Wal*Mart, powerful as it is, gets one out of every eight bucks spent in the US... If they did, there would (I presume) be a lot more public outcry.

    Then again, I strongly suspect that Microsoft makes at least 12.5% of the total profit earned by the entire computer industry (hardware + software + services), and they are still relatively un-protested (beyond grumbles about "the damned computer locked up again") in the US.
    • Re:Dear GOD! (Score:3, Informative)

      Trust me, there are a small but growing number of people in the UK who are horrified at the amount of money Tesco makes.

      http://www.tescopoly.org/ [tescopoly.org]

      "Remember, every little hurts" is a piss-take of the Tesco slogan "Every Little Helps" which grates me every time I hear it.

      Tesco are also bad for the environment, as trucks delivering to Tesco in a year, which in 2002 stood at 1,150,000 deliveries, clock up a total mileage of 140 million miles (224 million km).

      --
      silas
      hobbit
    • Re:Dear GOD! (Score:3, Informative)

      by camusflage (65105)
      Can you imagine the American equivalent?

      According to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], Wal-Mart accounts for 14% of US grocery sales, 20% of toy sales, and increased overall efficiency in the US economy by .75%.
      • Re:Dear GOD! (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I live in a rural state, in a city of 60,000... 120,000 including all the small towns that have dried up to the point where everyone drives here to shop.

        We have *TWO* walmart superstores. The local paper reported a few months ago that they do 40% of the retail commerce for our area.

        Having seen them cause the rapid disappearance of mom-n-pop retail, hell will freeze over before I'll shop at a walmart.
      • In this rural county (about 20,000 people in the county) We have one sizable town, with a population of 13,000.

        In this town, there is a Walmart and 4 other grocery stores. Walmart does well over 50% of the grocery business in this county.

        I'm all for local businesses, and patronize them when feasible (I MUCH prefer the local hardware stores over Home Depot), but when it comes to food, which is such a large chunk of our monthly budget, we HAVE to use comparison ad shopping at Walmart. Walmart honors all oth
    • Re:Dear GOD! (Score:4, Interesting)

      by handelaar (65505) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:52PM (#14511641)
      It's one eighth of all retail spending.

      If you really want to get het up about them consider this: online, they take one pound in every four.
    • Walmart gets pretty much ALL my money spent at retail. And with a family of 6, we spend a lot.

      Not saying I'm happy about it, but can't make the paycheck stretch as far anyplace else.

      But Newegg gets my computer equipment expenditures...
    • Re:Dear GOD! (Score:2, Informative)

      by tech49er (824086)
      Reason for this is that Tesco's are an amazingly sharp fast-moving company. There's nothing they wont sell if they think they have a market for it. Aswell as groceries: credit-cards, personal finance (loans etc), Filling-stations. In the US maybe this would come into antitrust hassles but (in Ireland at least) it appears to be a win for the consumer. They've got the cheapest petrol (Gasoline) going, decent prices on groceries. I've never been so brave as to check out their personal loans though. They also d
  • Value for money is fantastic, but have you actually compared with POTS? I called a friend using Skype, then my internet connection died. So I picked up the phone and called back.

    The lag in conversation was considerably smaller. The audio quality was a lot better. There were no dropouts. The audio never went crackly. It's a much better service, and the amount that people spend on ordinary landline calls these days is so small that the cost of broadband and equipment needed isn't worth the investment.
    • Last time I used a POTS phone, I'm pretty sure my friends voice didn't go all crackly/warbly when his computer bogged down playing FF11.

      That's my main issue with Skype... CPU Usage. It's fine on my uber computer, but my friend isn't so blessed and it's quite annoying. We never had a real problem with teamspeak, though... Gotta keep trying to get him to switch back.

      I'm sure the same thing can happen on VOIP phones with high bandwidth usage, but it's been a while since I've managed to max out my line.

      Note
      • That's my main issue with Skype... CPU Usage. It's fine on my uber computer, but my friend isn't so blessed and it's quite annoying. We never had a real problem with teamspeak, though... Gotta keep trying to get him to switch back.

        This is why you shouldn't use stuff like Skype. They offer no Quailty of Service, as any decent provider would offer. But then again, I really don't care for Skype all that much either. It's phenomenally stupid to have to rely on a computer/usb combo at all for VoIP, much

        • They offer no Quailty of Service, as any decent provider would offer.

          But what if the ISPs run by both the local telco and the local cable company block quality of service, and no competing DSL ISPs find your location viable because of the prohibitive rates that the local telco charges for use of its last mile?

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @02:17PM (#14511235)
    is this the end for the classic telecoms providers like BT?

    I doubt it.

    For a start, Tesco's on-line systems to date have sucked. I subscribed to Tesco Downloads to get a legal music download I wanted, and the UI was so bad that having let me sign up with a particular e-mail address, I then couldn't log in using it because it was a character too long for the field on the web form! I tried to contact them, but... there were no contact details, anywhere, and mails to webmaster at both the Tesco Downloads and the main Tesco site went unanswered. This doesn't exactly make me want to try relying on their VOIP system.

    In addition to Tesco's apparent incompetence, BT (or the cable companies, depending on who you're with) still make a significant amount of money from those broadband subscribers. I hardly use my landline any more, but I still have to cough up several quid a month for BT line rental so that my broadband ISP and I can communicate. The actual cost of my calls on BT represents around 0.1% of the money I pay them, since they've been offering calls-for-almost-nothing for months anyway.

    In other words, BT are now effectively an infrastructure company and not a services company, and their own phone service is almost free. Why do I need VOIP again?

    • I agree, BT don't need to worry about this kind of thing.

      For a lot of people in the UK, whether they use their landline, or a VoIP phone they are still paying money to BT one way or another. Either by traditional phone bills, or through their ISP who use the BT network. Not to mention you pay BT a chunk of money each month even if you don't make any calls at all. And with NTL getting stronger [adslguide.org.uk], it seems like BT's monopoly is under threat enough for it to avoid being broken up like AT&T in the US. Produ

  • If a grocery store starts selling VoIP hardware, that surely means that it's a commodity. Commoditization means that consumers will choose services based on prices first and features later (think bargain-basement $399 PCs from Dell or Wal-Mart). Commoditization means that there are products that are "good enough", and the winning suppliers will win on best value and lowest price.

    It's time enough for the telcos and other lumbering pseudo-government regulatory-era dinosaurs to shape up and actually compete
  • And who do you suppose would terminate those calls for the next forever if BT ceased to exist tomorrow?
  • by GmAz (916505)
    I would totally sign up for a VoiP phone service. The downside is that in California, none of the providers offer local phone numbers in the Valley. They are all in the bay area. Oh well, guess I will stick to my cell phone for the time being.
  • "Kristin, you look burnt... or dead." —Cheerleader

    Actually, how is VoIP doing since people are dropping landlines for cell service? And since 911 is still only fully supported on POTS? Is it business environment only? Is a company like Vonage overrated / unnecessary?

    • Re:VOIP! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jedi Holocron (225191)
      I really, to be honest, could care less about 911 calling on VoIP. If 911 is all important, then it should be a governement provided and supported service. 911 should be active on any landline, regardless of whether you have service on the line or now. Simply plug in a phone and you can dial 911. Done. If this were the case, VoIP adapters could have a extra port for connection to a landline jack and route 911 calls to it.
      • I agree. I always thought it was odd that there is no law requiring the Bells to make sure all lines can call 911 no matter what. Isn't this the case with cell service i.e. you can call 911 from any cell phone, even if you just find it on the street and it's been deactivated?
    • >Actually, how is VoIP doing since people are dropping landlines for cell service?

      I dropped landline in favor of Cell a while back. I just didn't like the principle of paying twice for the same service. Especially getting taxed twice for it (two 911 fees, etc.)

      But the fact is, a cell phone for my wife and I on the Verizon Family Plan costs us right at $80/month. With the price of gasoline what it is now, plus we just had a baby, I'm looking to cut corners everywhere I can.

      So now I'm ditching our cell
  • Telecomms provide most of the interconnection lines used by Internet users... They may have to decide who and where they will start making their money, which may move from subscribers to the Service providers (i.e. ISPs, VoIP-to-POTS providers, Wireless MAN-to-Wireless MAN connectivity). basically anyone who needs to travel long distances will need to traverse their networks and you can believe that if they are losing end-user subscribers they will begin to collect closer to the network core.
  • is this the end for the classic telecoms

    The end of BT? Errr... who owns the majority of the cables Tesco is using. (hint. take the letters T and B and rearrange them)

  • is this the end for the classic telecoms providers like BT?


    No Its not. Even tough Tesco offers broadband, They are just reselling BTs service. Most of the UK is covered by BT DSL service, and there aren't many other options. Cable internet is almost non-existent. There are some alternatives but few have any noteable penetration. Point being, BT isn't going anywhere.
    • I am interested that what I consider one of the biggest problems with all these Voip we have in the UK has not been mentioned... or I missed it

      That is no matter which Voip you sign up for you are limited in that if you want to call someone from it then they have to be on either a landline, mobile or the same Voip as yourself. I do not know of any Voip that is able to call a different service as in Skype to msn for one example. So will this voip be the same.

      If I wrong on this please..please let me know as I
    • Even tough Tesco offers broadband, They are just reselling BTs service. Most of the UK is covered by BT DSL service, and there aren't many other options. Cable internet is almost non-existent. There are some alternatives but few have any noteable penetration. Point being, BT isn't going anywhere.

      I'd just like to add: yes, Americans, BT is a monopoly. A fricking huge one. It used to be the state-owned one and only telecoms service, but was privatised a while back. Unfortunately all the competitors that spr

  • In Canada, Superstore/Loblaws/Extra Foods (same company, different store names) has recently started selling pay-as-you-go mobile service [presidentschoice.ca]. They already offer banking and insurance services [pcfinancial.ca] and have done so for several years.

    Given this trend, I would not be at all surprised if they started selling VOIP service, amongst other things, in the near future.
  • Fine (Score:2, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447)
    I have to say Tesco are pure pure evil, but they are bloody useful, I had an old supermarket near me it was overpriced, crap quality and only open at traditional business hours, it shut down and was replaced by a tesco - cheap, everything you could imagine under one small roof, always open, always full of people, but I guess thats how the market works, if your business is old and bloated *cough* BT you're going to loose out, personally i find all telecoms companies here are overpriced and have crap service,
  • This being Tesco, every time you make a call, you'll be asked "Do you have a clubcard?"

  • This is thinly veiled Skype. They even have a similar pricing model.
  • Just choose another carrier.

    http://www.uswitch.com/ [uswitch.com]

    Same old phone, line and number but all your calls go via another carrier who do all the hard work for you.

    e.g. Justdial.
    http://www.just-dial.com/ [just-dial.com]

    Free evening and weekend calls but no extra flat rate charge and only 2p/min for daytime calls and you don't have to buy any special hardware or install software on a PC or anything.

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo. - Andy Finkel, computer guy

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