MSMobiles have picked up on a TV Show called The Money Programme that was shown on BBC2 Friday.
In the show a group of elderly people were given the chance to use Skype and call their friends for free across the planet. The programme found that the ALL of the pensioners preferred to use Skype and would continue to use it from now on. Also featured was the CEO of Skype – Niklas Zennström, who was seen throughout the programme and uses his Orange SPV M2000 clone to make a phone call from an internet cafe over the Skype system.
The programme also investigated Vonage, which allows you to plug your regular telephone into an ethernet modem via an adaptor, which then uses your broadband line to make the call instead of the usual BT cable. I’m not too impressed with Vonage though, as you need to pay £9.99 a month for “unlimited calls” around the UK. This is already possible with people like Onetel who do the same thing without any fancy kit (you don’t even need broadband) for around 11 quid a month.
The programme was very interesting, and it did show the major sticking-point here in the UK. People have to pay BT 10 quid a month for their line, whether they use the line for telephone calls or not. So, if you’re paying BT 10 quid a month, then 19 quid to your broadband provider for the ADSL, and then you buy a “SkypeOut” number (allowing you to receive calls) – you still CANNOT remove the 10 quid a month charge for your regular phone – even if you don’t use it. This fact was mentioned in the programme, and although this may be different to the way things work in other countries, the line-rental charge pays for the upkeep of the cables, the poles, the network, the engineers and everything else associated with getting those bits of copper to your house.
Also featured in the programme was a customer using Vonage, who was living in London but had purchased a US telephone number, which is then routed through to her Vonage phone in the UK. This again has already been spear-headed by Skype, allowing people to get a number in their home country (say the USA), and then have it route through to their Skype phone wherever they are in the world. It means their relatives can make a free local call to the US number and talk for any length of time at no charge.
Source – The Money Programme