Freetalk One Year Adaptor review
By making its new broadband adaptor kit available in Dixons, freetalk aims to take Internet telephony to the masses. Two packages are available: the one here includes a year’s subscription to the freetalk service; you can also buy a package for £19.99 inc VAT and pay £6.99 a month for the connection.
The adaptor itself is an innocuous dark grey box incorporating two Ethernet ports and an RJ-11 phone jack. An adaptor is supplied to attach a BT phone. Unlike other broadband phone adaptors we’ve seen, the freetalk is flexible in how you attach it to your ADSL or cable modem. If you use ADSL directly attached to a PC via USB, you can hook the freetalk up to a spare Ethernet port on the system and turn on Internet Connection Sharing to get it online.
You can also plug in the freetalk between an Ethernet ADSL or cable modem and your PC. However, the easiest method for anyone with an existing network is to plug the freetalk’s WAN Ethernet connection into an available port on your switch or router. This is what we did, and the device picked up an IP address from our DHCP server and established itself on the network without further ado – no firewall reconfiguration required. After hardware setup, there are no settings to configure on the unit itself either. To get the freetalk up and running, you go to the firm’s website and enter the serial number and MAC address on the bottom of the unit, plus your credit card details. You can then choose any UK local area code that’s convenient for most of the people who call you.
The freetalk service includes standard phone features like caller ID, call waiting and voicemail, most of which can be accessed by dialling codes on your phone itself. There’s also a web interface for tracking billing and setting up call forwarding and adding additional virtual numbers. But the freetalk’s big selling point is the unlimited UK local and national calls included in the price. Calls to mobiles cost from 15p a minute during the day to 5p at weekends. International call rates are a mixed bag. Calling the US costs 2p a minute versus 1.5p on sipgate, but India is just 11p against 13.6p on sipgate.
Whether the freetalk is for you depends on your telephony habits. If you make a lot of UK non-mobile calls, it could work out extremely good value and international rates are mostly competitive.