back to article Tesco Internet Phone rings off the hook

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 …


This topic is closed for new posts.
  1. Mr Templedene

    I use tesco internet phone for my SME

    It proved very useful as I travel a lot.

    Apparently this is because freshtel are in financial difficulty

    However it leaves me with a dilemma, I have business stationery printed with the tesco number all over it, and a nice shiny handset locked to tesco which will become a nice paperweight soon.

    No new yet as to if they will allow you to transfer the number elsewhere. If they wont I will have to try and lodge a complaint with ofcom.

    If el-reg can dig up any more information it would be appreciated, it seems tesco are not interested in helping their customers.

    The service was excellent as well, I trialled it for quite a while before deciding to commit to using it for business use.

    1. David Edwards

      Try Vonage

      Issues or porting your number aside. Have a look at Vonage. I use them and Im very Happy. Good customer service too. Good luck.

    2. david bates


      IANAL but If you bought the phone from Tesco, and its locked to a Tesco service then you're entitled to a refund under the Sale of Goods act if its less than 12 months old? After all, to all intents and purposes it is no longer fit for purpose.

      Anyway, if I'd bought one and it was less than 12 months old there would be some shoutyness in my local Tescos...

  2. Gleektastic

    Oh well...

    All good things come to end. Even mediocre things like TIP come to an end as well.

  3. Alastair Dodd 1


    thak god something that Tesco does has failed, shame it didn't lose that morally bankrupt bunch of aholes billions

  4. Andrew Oakley

    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:

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Mileage will still vary

      Even with an ATA you are bound to run into the wonders which telephone providers have done worldwide to ensure that consumers buy only BT Series 302 available in black and black (or its local equivalent). Impedance, callerid standards, you name it.

      It remains a toy for the geek and/or a toy for those of us who have special reqs like 3-4 phone numbers in a house (multiple people working from home), foreign numbers (USA or Eastern European number while in the UK, etc).

      In any case the moment it looked like VOIP may actually happen BT carefully "adjusted" its pricing and ensured it will not (and OfCom confirmed it with big slurping sounds).

    2. woodmans
      Thumb Up

      yeah thanks Andrew!

      The man rocks! I found his guide on t'internet a year back - brilliant! Thanks Andrew.

  5. David McMahon

    Tesco fail?

    Seems odd that Tesco can't make this work, after all comms will be important in taking over the world.

    1. Jim Morrow

      Why shouldn't tesco lose?

      What makes you think Tesco deserves to make this work? They don't have an automatic right to make everything they do a success, even if it sometimes feels that way. Tesco run supermarkets for fuck's sake. It makes about as much sense for those greedy fuckers at Tesco to be a telco as it would for those greedy fuckers at BT (spit!) to sell groceries.

      What about a BT-run supermarket: now there's an idea whose time has come.

  6. Anonymous Coward

    @alistair dodd

    "thak god something that Tesco does has failed, shame it didn't lose that morally bankrupt bunch of aholes billions"

    Oh give it a f*cking rest with the adolescent lefty student union politics. tesco are a successful

    birtish company making a nice profit - so bloody what? But can't praise them can we , no , not in

    this country of resentful chip-on-their-shoulder losers. Got knock knock knock all the time.


    1. Jonathan

      tesco are...

      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)

  7. Nigel R Silver badge

    Choose the biggie, Skype Out and flat rate if needed.

    By coincidence I signed up couple of days ago for Skype Unlimited World at GBP 8/month (there are also cheaper Skype flat rate deals for more limited regions). This after carefully evaluating the call quality to loads of destination thru standard Skype Out.

    Only catch is the rather expensive solutions to make Skype portable around the house/home office.

  8. Harry

    "main impact has been to drive down the price of phone calls for everyone else"

    Do you have evidence for that?

    I can't remember the year, but BT used to do a 6 minute local call for 3 *old* pence. Now you can't make a call for much less than 11 new pence from BT (the stealthily introduced connection charge of 9p ensures that), and the others aren't significantly better unless you use VOIP with unpredictable results. Line rental has increased too -- only partially disguised by figures now being quoted monthly rather than quarterly.

    Yes, there's inflation to consider -- but the cost of telephony equipment has FALLEN not risen so there ought to be no need for price increases.

    Competition possibly means that cost of calls and line rental have risen "less slowly in real terms" than it otherwise might, but it has certainly not kept prices down to the level that technological economy and proper regulation OUGHT to have made possible.

  9. AndyRdy53qn

    Transferring tesco internet phone number

    I have the same problem as Mr Templedean - I have business cards with my Tesco number on it. Anyone recommend anything. Tesco customer care suggested i lok at vonage but really weren't helpful and they couldn't hear me properly. Ironic as I was calling from their tesco internet phone. They suggested I use a land line!!!

    Regards, Andy

    1. Stuart Halliday

      No need to throw away numbers

      Ofcom says we can take our phone numbers from one supplier to another.

  10. Mark York 3 Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    UK phone number for calls to & from the UK in Canada.

    Still works best for me - Despite getting odd sales calls at 3am this morning.

    1. richard 7

      <insert cutting remark>

      Yup, cant beat the stunned silence as you tell them they've called a UK number :)

      I have to say we use vonage here to keep our two main shops in contact almost free (Portsmouth UK and Calgary Canada)

      As for beating up on Tesco, give it a rest, as already mentioned, its a sucessful UK business now taking on the states on their own turf. I realise that they may not be nice toucy feely eco greentards but having worked for them, they arent THAT bad as an employer either.

  11. Martyn Collis

    TIP going?

    Not that I use it much these days but it has been great when I have family travelling and wanting to speak to them for next to nothing especially given the fact that it only cost 2p per min to call anywhere in the world+dog.

    I wonder if tesco or someone will release a firmware update for all the Tesco Internet Phones to jailbreak them to work on any network/service as I have one of the IPA Adaptors for a conventional handset and a wireless usb phone that I actually like and wish would work perfectly with skype.

    oh well, tesco should give EVERYONE who has bought one of these a refund as they are pretty much useless now and i know of no-other way to use any other service with them other than tesco service.

  12. Anonymous Coward

    Thank goodness!

    I thought "A cheap VoIP client with free telephone number - fantastic!" - but I never stopped having problems with the USB stick phone I bought. Most of the time a driver conflict meant that I couldn't hear them when I called. Then I was told by someone who'd called me that even though the answering service cut in, they could still hear a ringing tone in the background while they were trying to leave their message. I very quickly gave up and shelled out the money for a Skype number, and haven't looked back! Now, if only I could find the pesky receipt...

  13. Barrie Shepherd

    VoIP is good for you

    Hope the Tesco failure does not effect the UK VoIP industry. I am in Australia and my local VoiP provider gives me un-timed calls to UK "normal" numbers for 8 cents (about 6 pence) i.e. cheaper than BT to BT local calls - or even the BT flagfall. So there must be a lot of fat in the BT pricing.

    On top of that I have a UK DID from in my mums home town and also London so UK friends and relatives can call me at UK local rates. VoIP has cut my phone costs significantly - to the extent that I no longer think about the cost of a call.

    1. heyrick Silver badge


      France, Orange... My old phone is VoIP. Calls to standard phones in most of the world (I think excepting the Arab lands and chunks of Africa) are FREE. As in zip. Nada. Rien.

      Two limitations - I can't abuse the service by making more than 24hrs/day of calls (um, did anybody bother to proofread that rule?) and I can't call more than 500 different numbers in the course of a month.

      Don't use it much, but it makes the pricey internet seem so much more worthwhile with an option like that on it.

      Smile icon, 'cos I still remember how I felt when that 550 quid BT bill arrived thanks to over-eager BBSing. Now I just gotta find somebody to call!

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    draytel vigortalk -

    wee box connects to pic via network cable

    plug in normal phones

    proper uk number, cheap calls - jolly good

  15. Dick Emery

    Bloody BT!

    I wish I could get rid of BT altogether. Sadly I am locked to an ADSL provider using their crappy copper line. I hardly ever make outgoing calls on it and would not miss it. But I have to keep paying the line rental in order to get broadband with no bandwidth restrictions (I am with Be). I really wish Be would come up with some other solution to using BT.

  16. James R Grinter

    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?)

  17. Grubby

    VOIP is a success, just not when it's VOIP

    LLU providers like TalkTalk etc and a lot of international carriers use voice over ip to carry their calls, it's just done at a network level instead of right from the end user. So if VOIP was a ltd company, it would be a pretty successful one because it is used.

    Of the customers who do use VOIP services, they usually (not always) have a better grasp of technology and IT etc, so Tesco's cheap and cheerful (basic) service may not appeal to someone who knows exactly what the want and is possible.

    Google failed in China, Tesco failed in VOIP... If Apple Inc start selling bread, I'll stick to Kingsmill.

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't blame the supermarkets

    fed up with people blaming supermarkets for local shops closing, if nobody shopped at the supermarkets they wouldnt be in business. blame the lazy twats who would rather save a few pence and receive substandard goods whilst wiping out local producers and local suppliers by driving prices down and not passing them on fully to the customers.

    WE are the power sooner we start realising that the better....

  19. L Bramwell
    Thumb Down

    Why am I not surprised?

    I been trying to buy a Siemens IP phone from Tesco for over 1 year.

    ONLY available in store, but finding a store is the problem.

    I found a store many miles from home with shelf space for this phone, but it was never available.

    I phoned Tesco "We have over 300 phones in our stores" they say, but with over 2000 stores, they must have been few and far between.

    LB of Cheltenham

  20. Badbob

    This isn't a Tesco failure.

    It's a withdrawal from a market that isn't core to the business. Who can blame them? VOIP didn't change the world, and probably never will, as landline providers will go all-out to defend their core markets. After all, someone has to pay for the copper that these VOIP providers were using.

    VOIP has it's uses. I have a French telephone number from a VOIP provider, so that I can communicate with my friends and family that live over there at a local/national rate.

  21. Chris 3
    Thumb Up

    I use

    Not affiliated with them, but when I started up my one-man business I looked around at the VOIP options and went with Voipfone. I find them good, with a nice flexible mixture of services that starts off very, cheap.

  22. Soruk

    This wasn't Tesco's failure was Freshtel's, and like most services Tesco just rebrand another supplier's offering.

    I'm glad my Siemens phone was obtained independently, so not locked to anyone. The next trick, however, is to try to unlock my parents' IPA1000 adapter. (Even then, finding a new supplier that does IAX2 is easier said than done as they all talk about SIP.)

  23. nsld

    Voipfone did the business when Skype pulled my number

    Back when Skype wanted to pull its original skypein numbers Voipfine stepped up to the plate and provided an excellent porting service.

    Anyone who gets a Skypein number for business is an idiot given that they can and will pull your number at a whim if they feel like it.

    Just to add, not affiliated to them, just happen to like good service.

This topic is closed for new posts.

Other stories you might like