BT today launched SmartTalk, a mobile application for making calls on a smartphone over a data connection.
The app enables users to make a call on the move but be billed as if they were using their landline. This means customers can take advantage of any special deals they have on their landline plans, can dial 0800 numbers at no charge and can even make calls from abroad at the same price as a UK call.
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“This is a really exciting breakthrough that means you can take your BT calling plan with you and continue saving money when you’re away from home, either in the UK or abroad,” said John Petter, managing director of the consumer division at BT.
“SmartTalk helps you get even more value from your BT package and much more from your smartphone.”
The app enables up to five users to connect per BT contract. The company warned the app worked better over a Wi-Fi connection, but it does allow customers to use their 3G or 4G network if they choose.
BT SmartTalk is another example of the increasing competition faced by traditional telecoms and mobile providers as “over the top” services – such as Skype and WhatsApp – grow in popularity and enable users to communicate on their devices while circumventing the operator’s network.
In May 2012, Telefonica – parent company of O2 – launched its own app called TU Me for making voice calls and sending texts over data connections. In November, Orange followed suit with an app called Libon.
SmartTalk will initially be available on the Apple App Store for iPhones and Google’s Play Store for Android handsets.