Tesco Internet Phone rings off the hook
Another VoIP op goes titsup
Tesco is pulling the plug on its foray into VoIP, giving customers a month to find an alternative to its Tesco Internet Phone and Talk Wi-Fi services.
From today customers can no longer top up their pre-paid accounts and refunds are available for outstanding credit. The supermarket will refund the cost of the handset if you bought it in the last three months*, but both Tesco Internet Phone and Talk Wi-Fi will be shutting down come April 27.
Back when the service was launched it seemed as though consumer VoIP was going to change telephony forever, and the addition of the Tesco brand was welcomed by an industry which felt that lack of awareness was the only thing preventing VoIP services changing the world.
But existing operators weren’t so easily beaten off. VoIP's main impact has been to drive down the price of phone calls for everyone else, while VoIP companies were attacked by those existing operators for failing to provide emergency service calls and not working during a power cut.
Tesco said in a statement that "trends in technology have moved forward since we launched internet phone so that this is no longer a sustainable service". This appears to mean that the supermarket is busy expanding its mobile network and doesn't want to confuse customers with too many products which won't appeal to the majority.
Tesco Internet Phone was basically a VoIP service along the lines of Skype, though the supermarket did offer a Vonage-like box which could interface with a normal fixed-line telephone. There was also Talk Wi-Fi, which enabled handsets equipped with a SIP client, and Wi-Fi, to use the Tesco service for outgoing calls.
Tesco certainly sees a future in mobile. It's been running a branded service on O2's network for a few years now and recently started fitting its supermarkets out with micro-stores specialising in mobile telephony. But the VoIP business just isn't big enough to interest a giant like Tesco. ®
*That is, after December 27, 2009.
like most of the supermarkets, a curse on this country
okay, maybe i just don't like change but a (set of) organisation(s) that are:
- replacing (semi-)skilled, decently paid jobs (butchers etc.) and self-employed businesses with shelf-stackers
- devestating town centers by pulling all the shoppers out of town (though local councils and stupid parking charges have more than helped)
- using cash and bought political influence to ride rough-shod over the law and political process
- driving UK suppliers to the brink of bankrupcy by paying them less for goods than it costs to produce them
oh.. "lefty-student politics" here - not likely mate, the door outside says "investment bank"
crossed-morals? moi? maybe, but i f*king hate Tesco (haven't been through the doors of one in several years, i prefer to use the local butcher, grocer etc. where possible)
It's the handsets, stupid
The plethora of proprietary VOIP handsets is the problem. The way to make this work is to buy a Linksys SPA3102 (£45) plus a BT socket master adapter from Maplins (£5) and plug in your normal, existing, BT-compatible handsets into that. Hey presto, you can get VOIP on normal phones. Then just pick any of the gazillions of domestic/traveller-oriented VOIP SIP providers, such as webcalldirect, sipgate, budgetsip, justvoip etc. etc. etc. and enjoy free landline calls plus dirt cheap international and mobile calls. I wrote a guide: http://tinyurl.com/aovoip
Re: british company making a nice profit - so bloody what?
"birtish [sic] company making a nice profit - so bloody what?"
Well, I wouldn't have as much of a problem with them if they were actually paying a fair amount of taxes (other than the other well-known problems of supermarkets, in general). But, thanks to journalistic investigations, we now know that they don't. So, I'm with the O/P.
(What, no tiny violin icon?)