Voice over internet protocol (VoIP) telco BlueFace is about to release a €199 phone that promises unlimited local and national calls for life. Cable and fixed-wireless broadband users can port their old numbers to the new phone.
The device is a Siemens Gigaset DECT cordless phone with a PSTN passthrough.
The service works by making use of an existing broadband connection to carry the calls, cutting out the middle man and saving the customer hundreds of euro a year.
The company’s co-founder, Feargal Brady, told Siliconrepublic.com that cable and wireless broadband users can port their old landline numbers to the service. While DSL users won’t be able to do this, he said they can still plug the device in and be assigned a number that they can use to make free calls for life.
The BlueFace offer means that a customer with cable or fixed-wireless broadband can have a phone service for €199 for life – never pay line rental and never pay for another call.
Brady said there was a time when you’d wait six months for a phone line, pay a connection fee, line rental and calls on top – now it’s €199 forever.
“We introduced the Ireland-UK unlimited plan four or five years ago. After looking at usage and customer demand for the service, we decided it was time to bring in free calls for life.”
BlueFace co-founder, Feargal Brady
BlueFace chief executive Alan Foy explained that users who want to call overseas can do so by topping up their credit. “We expect this service will cause a bit of confusion in the telecoms industry but for the end users it will hopefully mean the end of days for billshock.”
Privately-held Blueface entered to VoIP market in 2005 with industry firsts, including hosted telephone, voice mail to email, online real-time billing and virtual numbers.
Globally, VoIP services such as Blueface and Skype are gaining ground against traditional PSTN services.
Traditional telephone call volumes worldwide have slowed from 15pc growth a year in 2008 to 8pc in 2008 when total voice call volumes hit 406 billion minutes.
By comparison, Skype’s on-net calls between Skype users grew 51pc in 2008 and for 2009 are projected to have grown 63pc to 54 billion minutes.
By John Kennedy
Main photo: BlueFace chief executive Alan Foy