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A German company has launched a new internet telephony service in the UK which offers cheap calls and uses "geographical" numbers.

The Sipgate service is now available in ten UK cities - Belfast, Birmingham, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, London, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle - using existing area codes. Sipgate is also planning to make the service available in other area code regions over the next six months.

According to the blurb, Sipgate works in exactly the same way as a standard landline, with each user getting a geographic phone number enabling them to make and receive calls on a VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phone.

Hardware costs for those who don't already own an IP phone or converter cost from £69. Some IP phone calls are free, while the cost of a call to a BT land line is 1.19p a minute.

Said Sipgate MD Thilo Salmon: "Sipgate distinguishes itself from all other VoIP providers by offering the only 'real' phone number from a 'real' phone line. We are the first to offer this in the UK. Best of all for consumers there is no line rental, no monthly charges, no monthly minimum and no set up charges. Consumers will not even notice the difference except they will be saving hundreds of pounds per year."

Sipgate launched its service in Germany earlier this year and attracted 25,000 subscribers in the first six months. ®

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