20 February 2014

Blue Penguins 2014 Newsletter

FREE upgrade to the world's best virtual business line

Our tech development team hasn't been this excited since they found out about Star Wars VII. We can see why. They've only gone and made a massively souped-up new version of Basic Connect!
Virtual Telephone Connect gives you low-cost, hassle-free control over your calls. Make outbound calls, divert to voicemail and set up a VoIP phone within seconds.
We're offering a free upgrade to all customers with a GEO number starting with 01 or 02.
Just call us and we'll get it set up today.
  • Use VoIP to eliminate call connection charges and make low cost calls
  • Make outbound calls, with your Blue Penguins number as your caller ID
  • Get alerts when you receive calls so that you can answer in your company name
  • Use your laptop and mobile phone to make and receive calls anywhere in the world
  • Never send a call to voicemail with our 24-hour call-answering service
  • Set company opening hours
  • Seamlessly upgrade to Business PBX Service when your business grows

Useful Notes & Resources

Blue Penguins Virtual Telephone Connect – all about Virtual Telephone Connect

Cheap internet calls are now child's play with Business PBX Service

We're on a mission to make calling over the Internet easier for our customers and we've done it! Zoiper is a great new app that makes VoIP set-up so simple your kids could do it. In fact show 'em this video and they probably could…
Get the app today, or just upgrade to Virtual Telephone Connect or Business PBX Service.
(we liked Zoiper so much we built it in for free).
It takes just three easy steps:
  1. Install a free app on your mobile phone
  2. Push a button on the app while pointing your phone at your computer screen
  3. Start making calls!

Useful Notes & Resources

Bluepenguins Business PBX Service – if you have two or more employees and don't yet have Business PBX Service.

One More Thing… Our upgrade commitment for all customers

You may have noticed that we have been releasing lots of new products recently.

First it was Business PBX Service, this month its Virtual Telephone Connect,
and coming shortly is a new version of Professional Answers.

As a company we are passionate about providing simple but effective telephony to support business growth.
All these releases are based on our new GenU technology, which enables us to provide you with some brilliant features that really enhance your business experience. We have already included some of these within products like Virtual Telephone Connect and Business PBX Service and there are many more to come!
We are committed to helping all Blue Penguins members benefit from our fantastic, business-enabling, GenU technology by the end of 2014.

Upgrades will be at no charge and we will be contacting you when we are ready to upgrade you.
If you want to upgrade sooner then please email us on enquiries@bluepenguins.co.uk
and we will see what we can do.

That's all for this month!
Jeffrey Welther
Blue Penguins UK Telecom Ltd
(Marketing Director)

20 February 2013

Landline call rates to a mobile could be reduced.

The UK's Competition Commission has a  proposal to cut the cost of calling a mobile from a landline by about eighty percent. The proposal should happen more quickly. Some of the mobile rates have already dropped, but the process has been held up by legal action by the mobile operators. Vodafone has already warned that the reduced tariffs on calls from a landline could mean higher call charges for it's pay  as you go customers. Also noted that the tariffs that mobile phone firms charge rivals for handling calls from their networks, also classified as mobile termination rates or MTRs, can be regarded excessively high mark ups. Last year Ofcom has plans to reduce the current mobile from a landline call rate from an average of 4.18 pence per minute or ppm to 2.66 ppm. Offcom wants to see the landline to mobile tariffs reduce down to just under three quarter of a pence, by the year 2015. Offcom is also hoping bt that the time the reduced tarrifs would be passed on to customers. But many of the big mobile telecommunication providers such as  Vodafone, O2, and many more are trying to appeal Offcom decision claiming mobile tariff rate reductions from a landline cuts are too ridiculously low. There are some other mobile carriers such as BT along with mobile firm want to see more quicker approach to making these drastic landline to mobile reductions, a reality more sooner. Even the Competition Commission (CC) has ruled  as well as agree on targeted date of 2014 for landline to mobile call reductions. If these landline to mobile tariffs ever became a reality, Britain's mobile telecommunication companies could be out of pocket by about a billion pounds annually.

19 February 2013

Save by making Outbound Calls with VOIP

Majority of UK businesses whether a small or large, the normal protocol would call for any business to do a brief follow up as a precaution to make sure that their clients and customers are satisfy with the service or product they have recently purchased. The normal follow ups that are conducted by any type of business, the preferred method of communication is still making a simple phone call. While the average businesses can make anywhere from a few hundred to over a thousand calls a year. Finding better ways to save costs, and being more proficient on the costs of outgoing calls is becoming increasingly ever important for any type of business. Reviewing which areas of your business could be reduced, from a financial point of view, means that you may become more efficient with your overall business spend. The same idea should apply to your existing telecoms set up.

Reviewing your current business landline system?

Some businesses have the impression that it would be a hassle to switch from their existing telecoms service, as their business would need a new telephone number and it could disrupt potential sales while being switched. However with new age of digital technology, most telephone networks have made significant improvements, which means most likely you have not notice these improvements, as they were gradually phased in. With the new frontier service of  Voice Over Internet Protocol as known as VOIP, is set to eventually take the place of the current Public Switched Telephone Network also know as PTSN.  Public Switched Telephone Network is also known by many Brtians as landline telephone service. Thwe current landline system was created over hundred years by a Canadian named Alexander Graham Bell, which is his name is present on Canada's telecommunications company which is called Bell. Bell is the equivalent of Britain's BT which is also known as British Telecom. Bells new telephone system eventually took the place of the telegragh system, which was phased out over time, and the last telegraph service was used in 1959. As the new technology called VOIP, it will not take too long for it the catch up to PTSN model. 

VoIP telephone service at businesses level has evolved into unified communications services. Unified Communications  is defined as the meaning all business communications such as phone calls, faxes, voice mail, e-mail, and web or phone conferences. Few telecom companies can delivered these services by all means of communications, including mobile telephones. VoIP also allows both voice and data communications to be run over a single network, which can significantly reduce infrastructure costs.The prices of extensions on VoIP are lower than for Private Branch Exchange or PBX. VoIP switches may run on commodity hardware, such as personal computers.

There are also several advantages for using VoIP over a Publicly Switch Telephone Network. The biggest single advantage VoIP has better advantage over standard landline telephone systems by the means of cost. In addition, international calls using VoIP is usually much cheaper than the traditional landline and mobile. Another advantage, which will become much more common as VoIP telephone usage climbs in popularity is that calls between VoIP to VoIP users are normally free.

While saving money in some areas of your business, VoIP may also be able to give your business more efficient service in some areas as well. However, your first port of call could be to decide whether you want save money on outgoing calls on using a VoIP solution before you can decide if your business operations could be more efficient. Running a profitable business is all about being efficient, it’s worth seeing how your Telecoms set up and outgoing business calls could be improved upon too.

In addition, it is likely that you can keep the same number too, as many telecom companies also you to transfer your telephone number from your old provider for a small one off porting charge. So there is no need to worry about losing out on customers by the means of having a completely different business phone number.

15 February 2013

Connecting to VOIP telephone service.

Many people think that VoIP is making voice calls over the internet, that means you are tied to a computer and can only make calls to other VoIP users using a computer. But this is not true at all about VoIP, there are other ways to make a telephone without the need of a computer, but you still need an high speed internet connection to the world wide web in order to make this possible.

There are other ways for connecting to a VOIP telephone service without being tied to a computer.

Connecting to VOIP phone service.
Soft phone: A soft phone is a piece of software you install on your PC, that enables you to connect to VoIP. The best known VoIP soft phone is Skype, but other soft phones include X Lite, Ninja Lite and Firefly. A soft phone is ideal for use ‘on the go’, for example installed on a laptop and used to make and receive VoIP calls while travelling.

DECT phone: A DECT phone uses a single base station to connect multiple cordless handsets to the internet to make VoIP calls. Handsets usually have their own charging station but don’t need to be plugged into a phone socket. DECT phones are ideal for small businesses as it is easy to add or remove handsets without making changes to office infrastructure. Here at Blue Penguins UK Telecommunications we would recommend the Gigaset N300A base station (from around £63) – compatible handsets can be had from around £40 each.

‘Classic’ VoIP desk phone: A ‘classic’ VoIP desk phone looks and behaves a lot like a standard business desktop phone – except that it connects to your local area network (LAN) and your PC. This type of phone usually has similar features to a DECT phone – but because it is a corded phone there’s more room for buttons so they can be easier and more familiar to use. We like the Cisco 303 (around £70), and budget users can get a Grandstream 101 for as little as £40

ATA (analogue telephone adaptor): An ATA is a device that connects a PSTN phone with a VoIP service. By plugging a phone line cable into one outlet, and a VoIP or Ethernet cable into another outlet, a ‘traditional’ PSTN telephone can be used to make and receive calls via the internet. This solution is ideal for individuals or organisations who do not wish to replace their existing phone handsets.

14 February 2013

0871 Fixed rate is actually Premium Rated?

0871 regulations you need to know
You already know that an 0871 telephone number are numbers in the 084 and 087 ranges, and charges the caller by the minutes. These rate are lightly higher rate from a non BT landline, and calls from mobiles tend to be overcharge by astronomical proportions from mobile operators. There is an huge advantage to you, and your business from having a 0871 telephone number. 0871 telephone numbers tend to generate a reasonable payout for calls made to that particular number. In 2009, Offcom has reclassified the 0871 range from national to premium rated number. So for now on the 087 number ranges, excluding 0870 is now subject to special rules and is now regulated by PhonePayPlus, the same UK phone-paid services regulator of the 0900 number ranges. The most important thing to know is that if you are asking customers to call your 0871 Fixed rate premium number, you must state the call rate you will charge clearly and straight forwardly. Also mentioned that price to call your 0871 number is if you were calling from a BT landline. Also 0871 calls from mobiles, and other providers charge more for the same call. So do not waste money printing stationery and marketing materials that could get you in trouble with the regulator.

Please take a look at PhonePayPlus and their Code of Practice for 0871 number regulations to check whether you are compliant to the current regulations with your 0871 number.

Telephone Preference Service

Stop unwanted calls
Looking at telemarketing, but unsure about the red tape?
Have no fear: our handy bluffer’s guide to staying on the right side of the regulators will see you through – and could save you time and money too.

What is the deal?
Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Act 2003, individuals and businesses can choose protection from unsolicited marketing calls, by opting out through the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) and Corporate Telephone Preference Service (CTPS).

Tell me there is some good news!
The TPS actually saves you time you might waste calling people who do not want to talk to you. By cleaning your contact list of contacts who have stated they do not want any telemarketing calls, it is easier to focus on real prospects. Why would you pay your telemarketing team to call people who have already said they are not interested?

What is the worst that could happen?
Well, there is some bad news too. Calling a TPS registered number is an offence, and you could be liable for up to a £5,000 fine if you do so.

What should I do?
The Telephone Preference Service offers a telephone number checking service, with both high and low volume options: contact CTPS for more information. Alternatively if you search online there are a range of number checking services available catering for large and small businesses alike. Check your numbers! And if you are considering buying a telemarketing list, or using a telemarketing service, make sure your supplier uses lists are TPS/CTPS checked.

How long and how much?
Checking numbers should take at most a few minutes it is usually just a matter of uploading a list of numbers to your chosen number checking service, and noting which if any are flagged up as TPS registered. Reckon on paying up to twenty five pence per number, depending on the size of your list and the service you use.

How often should I check?
If you are making telemarketing calls on a regular basis, you should check new additions to your list every twenty eight days, or at the minimum before beginning a telemarketing campaign. As for existing customers, it is recommended that you don’t make marketing calls to them if they are TPS registered, unless they have clearly opted in to receiving your calls (eg by ticking a box on a form).

Do not be put off by the current telemarketing regulations?
Telemarketing can be a great addition to your growth strategy. But do not put it off either, your brand or even business reputation may depend on it!

For read more about the Telephone Preference Service, Click Here.
For a summary of UK regulations governing direct marketing, Click Here.

Top Five Myths About VoIP Busted

VOIP Telephony Myths Busted
What does VoIP stand for? 
VoIP stands for Voice over Internet Protocol, a method of sending voice communications over the internet rather than the ‘traditional’ Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN).

1. Myth: Very few people use VoIP for telephony
Fact: Much of the backbone of general telecoms is run over VoIP these days. VoIP services such as Skype have become hugely popular. In fact, lots of people use VoIP without realising that they are using the service.

2. Myth: The person you are talking to needs to be using VoIP as well
Fact: Media gateways, also commonly referred to as VoIP gateways, are devices which bridge PSTN telephone networks and equipment to VoIP telephone networks and vice versa. So the person you are talking to does not need to be using VoIP as well.

3. Myth: You ca not use 'normal' PSTN lines and VoIP at the same time
Fact: With the right service, you can combine VoIP and PSTN and even use both simultaneously – meaning there’s no need to install a whole new system to take advantage of the cost savings of VoIP!

4. Myth: VoIP call quality is never as good as PSTN
Fact: VoIP call quality can be compromised factors such as a highly compressed codec (the way the sound is packaged for transmission), a poor internet connection or a low quality microphone. But with the right equipment VoIP can be the same or better quality as PSTN: for example Blue Penguins uses the same codec to transmit VoIP as PSTN calls, meaning you don’t need to compromise on quality.

5. Myth: You are tied to a computer if you’re using VoIP
Fact: There are lots of ways of making VoIP calls. You can use a dedicated VoIP handset, a DECT/VoIP hybrid, an analogue telephone adaptor (ATA – a device that adapts a ‘regular’ PSTN handset for VoIP) or a ‘softphone’ program that runs on your PC along with a headset. You certainly don’t have to be tied to the computer unless that suits your needs!

0800 numbers could be free from a mobile.

0800 could be free from a mobile.
Paying astronomical prices to ring a 0800 freephone from your current mobile operator in Great Britain could be a thing of the past. Ofcom, which is the United Kingdom's current telecommunications regulator, has outlined a proposal to make the 0800 telephone range free to mobile callers. The concept of the 0800 freephone service originated out of America in the late 1960's, as an alternative method from the operator assisted reverse charge service which needed an live operator to complete the call. The general intended purpose of the 0800 freephone number range and service would reduce the need for live operators, as having a 0800 number makes the reverse call charges automatically. Currently anyone making an a call to a 0800 freephone number, the called party pays to receive the call. Calls to a 0800 Freephone number are also generally free from anyone ringing from any landline in the UK. 0800 numbers were also initially free from some UK mobile operators until around 2005. Most mobile operators in Great Britain never included minutes for callers to make calls to 0800 freephone numbers. To make the matters even worse, most UK mobile operators generally mark the price up to twenty pence per minute, therefore making a freephone call from a mobile not so free. If this proposal with 0800 freephone numbers is ever approved, all calls made to 0800 freephone numbers will be free from any phone in the UK, regardless if it is a mobile or a landline. In addition, Ofcom also proposes that more clarification is needed on 087 numbers, as well as 09 and 118 prefixes. On 087 numbers, callers are currently being told: "This call will cost you certain amount of pence per minute from a BT land line, calls may vary on other landlines and will cost considerably more from a mobile." If Ofcom makes a change to this provision as proposed, it could be stated as; "This call will cost you a certain amount of pence per minute plus your phone company’s access charge." All current proposals are in reaching the end of their consultation period, and Ofcom is expected to rule on any changes very shortly. With the need to make all calls to 0800 numbers free from all phones, especially from mobiles, to the benefit of consumers. This proposal will also help bring 0800 freephone telephone numbers back to it's original intended purpose, as an alternative method to reverse call charges.

Do you welcome the news of 0800 Freephone Numbers being free to all callers, including calls made from a mobile.
Please feel free to make a comment down below.