UK VoIP Call Costs Compared

As you might have seen from my recent tweets, I’m looking at changing my VoIP provider (I started off on Gradwell’s Multi User package, moved to VoipFone (which never really “worked right” with my setup) then moved to AAISP), as AAISP don’t currently offer all the facilities I would like (the most important one being sending the “number being called” as the CLI when forwarding VoIP calls to my mobile). But which one to go to? Well, after two long calls to o2 mobiles today, I started to look at call costs as well as the “monthly rates” – and here’s the details of the VoIP call costs and “line rentals” which may be of use to people:

Provider Monthly rate for 01/02 number Monthly rate for 03333 number Peak to o2 mobile Weekend to o2 mobile Peak to 01/02/03 numbers Weekend to 01/02/03 numbers
Gradwell Single User £4.00 £4.00 9.00ppm 6.00ppm 1.25ppm 1.00ppm
Gradwell Multi User £8.00 £8.00 9.00ppm 6.00ppm 1.25ppm 1.00ppm
AAISP £1.00 £1.00 18.33ppm 18.33ppm 1.25ppm 0.83ppm
VoipFone £2.00 £2.00 12.00ppm 12.00ppm 1.00ppm 1.00ppm
Soho66 £2.00 £2.00 10.00ppm 10.00ppm 1.00ppm 0.50ppm
VoIPTalk Standard Tariff £2.99 £2.99 11.90ppm 11.90pm 1.40ppm 1.40ppm
VoIPTalk Prepay Silver Package £6.98 £6.98 9.90ppm 7.90pm 1.00ppm 1.00ppm
DrayTEL Standard Tariff £2.99 £2.99 11.90ppm 11.90pm 1.40ppm 1.40ppm
Sipgate None Not offered 9.90ppm 9.90ppm 1.19ppm 1.19ppm
AQL £2.00 £2.00 7.10ppm 7.2ppm 1.00ppm 0.80ppm

All prices subject to VAT, prices may vary yadda yadda yadda. In otherwords, these are the prices I found when I looked – the prices you might be charged and might find may be different.

Correction: 14 Feb 2011 13:41: Previously AAISP’s prices were shown including VAT. This has now been fixed.

Royal Mail Fax Numbers

If anybody else needs these contact details:
Royal Mail Fax Number (to be honest, I’m not sure where this one goes): 020 7250 2030
Royal Mail Redirections Centre Fax Number: 01782 406 120 (however, faxes sent at 1pm on a Friday won’t get looked at “until Monday, possibly Tuesday and then will take 5 days to action”)
Royal Mail Redirections Telephone: 08457 740 740, option 2 2 4. However, extremely busy at 4.30pm on a Friday (20 minute hold times!) and reasonably busy at 2.40pm on a Friday (8 minute hold time).

Request Tracker (RT) and Google Apps

If you are trying to setup Best Practical’s Request Tracker (RT) system (originally written by Jesse Vincent, but I more associate Dave Rolsky with it), to work with a Google Apps hosted domain (so you have Google Mail/Gmail for your domain), you may find the following useful.

  1. First of all, install “rt” on your Linux box and install “fetchmail” using your package manager if it isn’t already installed
  2. Setup an email account something like “support@” or “rt@” (I’ll use “rt@” in these examples) in Google Apps. Make a note of the password you set
  3. In /opt/rt3/etc/RT_SiteConfig.pm (if you used the default install location), you’ll need to set the following:
    Set( $RTAddressRegexp,'^rt(\+[a-z]+)?\@example\.com$');
  4. Do the basic configuration of “rt” and make your queues – I made the following queues:
    Queue name Reply address Comment address
    Backend rt+backend@example.com rt+backendcomments@example.com
    Frontend rt+frontend@example.com rt+frontendcomments@example.com
    Billing rt+billing@example.com rt+billingcomments@example.com
    General rt@example.com rt+comments@example.com
  5. Log into your new Google Apps Gmail account with the details you created and agree to the terms of service etc
  6. Click on “Settings” and “Filters” and create a series of filters such as:
    • To: rt+backend@example.com [Next step]
    • Skip the Inbox (Archive it)
    • Apply the label: backend
    • Never send it to Spam [Create filter]
    • To: rt+backendcomments@example.com [Next step]
    • Skip the Inbox (Archive it)
    • Apply the label: backend-comments
    • Never send it to Spam [Create filter]
  7. For the “general” queue’s “Reply” address (rt@example.com), do not setup a filter
  8. Once done, on your Linux server where you have installed the Request Tracker, edit /etc/fetchmailrc to read similar to:

    set daemon 60
    set invisible
    set no bouncemail
    set no syslog
    set logfile /var/log/fetchmail
    poll imap.gmail.com
    proto IMAP service 993 user rt@example.com pass PA55W0RD
    folder Inbox ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url http://rt.example.com/ --queue General --action correspond"
    poll imap.gmail.com
    proto IMAP service 993 user rt@example.com pass PA55W0RD
    folder general-comments ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url http://rt.example.com/ --queue General --action comments"

    poll imap.gmail.com
    proto IMAP service 993 user rt@example.com pass PA55W0RD
    folder backend ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url http://rt.example.com/ --queue Backend --action correspond"
    poll imap.gmail.com
    proto IMAP service 993 user rt@example.com pass PA55W0RD
    folder backend-comments ssl
    mda "/opt/rt3/bin/rt-mailgate --url http://rt.example.com/ --queue Backend --action comments"

    Of course changing rt@example.com to the email account you created, PA55W0RD to the password set for that email account, http://rt.example.com to the location of your Request Tracker installation (it has to be accessible from the server you are creating this file on), the “folder” name to correspond with the label you set for that queue and comments, etc and repeating for as many queues as you have.

  9. Save the file and start fetchmail using /sbin/service fetchmail start or your Linux distribution’s service starter
  10. Watch the log file using tail -f /var/log/fetchmail

    And that should be RT up and running with Google Apps for you!

Too many good ideas

Dammit, I’ve had an idea for a really good service/website, but I haven’t got the time (nor the money) to invest in it to get it built: which is a shame as I think it’ll be brilliant and a godsend to many people. Why can’t I win the lottery so I can help make the world a better place?

Memories…or how I learnt new names for old products

I have memories of eating Marathon chocolate bars (now Snickers) or sucking on Opal Fruits (now Starbursts) and then cleaning up using Jif cream (now Cif) and Bounty towels (now Plenty).

Now wonder my memory seems to be going – history is being re-written…

Incidentally, and what sparked this post off, is that “Bounty” have recently rebranded in the UK as “Plenty” – but watching US adverts (such as those currently on the Discovery US Mythbuster’s site) shows they are still using Bounty as the name in other markets… Interesting