BT have launched new VoIP service called Communicator – bundled with Yahoo Messenger they claim that it makes calling from your PC easier. It certainly won’t make it cheaper as BT will bill you at exactly the same rate they bill for calls from your home phone, despite giving a clear warning on their site that PC calls aren’t as good. So, I have to ask – what’s the point?
BT are selling the service on convenience – the subscriber’s PC becomes an all-in-one communications centre with instant messaging, email, voice calls, and call management integrated into one product. Additional features include internet call barring and waiting – allowing you to block calls to your PC, and to notify you’ve got someone else waiting to speak to you when you’ve got a call. Never ones to miss a trick, these two extras cost UK£1.75 (€2.62) a month each, if you don’t already have them on your usual line.
BT also use the quality issue as an opportunity to recommend upgrading to a broadband connection: “The quality of calls made with BT Communicator may not be as good as the quality of traditional phone calls. BT Communicator call quality may be better on a broadband connection.”
People registering now get a free month of calls – after that, the service is charged like a normal phone service, with calls showing up on your normal bill as “Clic2call” items.