Tesco has launched a new mobile service that allows customers to make cheap UK and international calls on their existing mobile phone using Wi-Fi.
The service, called ‘TalkWifi’, is a white label offer from Australian VoIP company Freshtel. It can be downloaded on to any compatible handset on any network worldwide via the Tesco website, or via a text message.
Once installed, all outgoing calls made whilst in an unrestricted Wi-Fi area will be directed via the internet at a reduced calling rate, including calls to Australian landlines for example atr 1.5p per minute to Australia. Calls to other TalkWifi customers worldwide are free.
It is available for both contract and prepay customers, but is currently restricted to Nokia Wi-Fi enabled handsets, including the N95, E81, E51 and the E65. More are expected in the near future.
Customers can top up their credit using vouchers purchased in Tesco stores, or pay a non contractual monthly fee on direct debit, allowing up to 70 minutes per call for free, and then two pence per minute on three separate plans.
These include off peak calls to UK landlines for £1.95 per month, anytime calls to UK landlines for £2.95 per month, and international calls to 30 countries for £5.95 per month. Calls to UK mobiles are at a flat rate of 10 pence per minutes.
A Tesco spokesperson said: "With up to 40 per cent of mobile calls being made at either home or in the office where Wi-Fi networks are becoming more prevalent, mobile phone users now have the opportunity to reduce their bills further without compromising on the quality of the calls they are used to."
Freshtel UK manager Dan Hazel said: "This whole market is moving towards VoIP, and it’s only a matter of time before people start to take more notice.
"We are clearly excited about giving customers another option to the way they make calls and what they spend. It’s a totally transparent service, and customers may not even realise they are using it."