Feature Article

January 14, 2013

New BT 'SmartTalk' Changes Value of a Landline Service

A new calling plan, introduced by BT, links an iPhone with the customer’s fixed network voice account. “SmartTalk,” which allows BT customers to make phone calls whether in the United Kingdom or abroad, bills customers as if they’re calling from their BT home phone.

The ability to use of the landline rating plan requires use of a Wi-Fi connection.

That should have a dramatic effect on customer roaming costs, and simultaneously adds more value to the fixed network voice service. To be sure, there are other ways to reduce the cost of international calls, but none arguably are as elegant as the BT solution.

Other benefits include rating of mobile calls to fixed network numbers and toll-free numbers the same way as those same calls would be rated if a customer were dialing using the home phone.

Customers on BT’s “Unlimited Anytime Plus Plan” will be able to make 24/7 calls to any U.K. landline number or 0845 number at no extra cost, while enjoying calls to mobiles at a fraction of the standard rates typically charged by mobile “pay as you go” tariffs.

SmartTalk is now available free from the App Store on iPhone, or at iTunes.  

The new app shows one more way service providers can wring strategic value from their public Wi-Fi hotspot networks, as well as in-home or at-office Wi-Fi networks.

At the same time, the app adds more value for a BT fixed network voice account, as those plans now support lower-cost iPhone calls, especially when users are traveling out of country.

You might say the new SmartTalk plan makes the voice landline account a gateway to cheaper mobile calling, especially when BT customers are traveling outside the United Kingdom.

That effort illustrates the ways fixed network service providers can enhance the value of fixed network voice services, while adding a “mobile spin” on those services, in ways that make clear sense to consumers and are easy to understand (“save money”) and use (most consumers know how to switch to Wi-Fi on their smartphones).

In fact, in many ways, the value provided by SmartTalk is that it changes the value of the fixed network voice service.

In others ways, SmartTalk can make the value of the fixed line it a tariff play, more than an actual “bearer traffic” service.

In other words, some users who travel outside the United Kingdom quite a lot, or work outside their homes, frequently calling mobile numbers, will find the value of the fixed network voice service is that it provides substantial discounts, and allows the iPhone to become the calling device, while taking advantage of lower “home phone” calling rates.

Edited by Braden Becker

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