Provider in the Spotlight: Localphone
Localphone Ltd. is a business located in the UK that specializes in residential VoIP. British entrepreneur Paul Cusack founded the company in response to a growing need for cheap international calling solutions.
How did Localphone begin?
After selling the company Ebuyer Limited, Cusack spent a lot of time travelling. It was during this time that Cusack noticed his phone bills were inordinately high, a byproduct of expensive international calling fees.
In his search for an alternative to traditional phone service, Cusack discovered Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). However, while Cusack found that there were plenty of VoIP providers that offered cheap rates on international calls, he felt he could do better. So, he created Localphone.
How does Localphone’s VoIP service work?
Localphone functions like a calling card service without the actual calling card. A user creates a prepaid credit account with Localphone, which they use to pay for all calls. A user dials into Localphone, inputs a pin tied to their account, and then dials the number they would like to call. For every minute that the user is on the call, Localphone deducts a certain amount from the user’s account. Rates vary by country, and calls to some countries can be less than $0.01/minute.
Localphone offers low international rates because they use local numbers. Every time a user dials a different contact, they are given a local number for that contact. So, for every international contact that the user has, they are given a different local number. For example, if a user lives in New York and wants to call their friend who lives in Germany, they will dial a New York landline number which will connect straight to their friend in Germany. That way, the call is treated like a local call, and does not carry expensive international rates. It’s still “technically” an international call, but rates are much lower with Localphone than traditional phone service.
How does Localphone compare to other VoIP providers?
An added benefit of Localphone’s service is its mobility. Users can dial into Localphone from any phone, be it a home phone, business phone, cell phone, or smartphone. That means, no matter where they are, a user has access to cheap phone service.
Localphone offers a softphone app, which allows users to make calls from a computer or smartphone. When using a softphone, a user doesn’t need to dial into Localphone first before calling a number. The user logs into their account with the softphone, and then they can call any number using its on-screen dial pad. Most importantly, calls between two people using Localphone’s softphone are free.
Global SMS service
Localphone’s global SMS service lets users send cheap international text messages. Users can send texts from Localphone’s softphone application, like they would from a smartphone, or directly from a computer. That includes sending text messages from Localphone’s iPhone and Android apps as well.
All the user needs to do is input the number and message on the Localphone website, and Localphone will send it for them. Rates vary by location, but some international text message rates can be as low as $0.02/message. Traditional cell phone providers, on the other hand, will charge around $0.50/message.
Competitive International Rates
When compared to a similar service, like Skype for example, Localphone offers very low rates on calls to popular international destinations. Skype charges $0.092/minute for a call to India, for example, while Localphone only charges $0.015/minute.
Incoming Number Rental
A user can also rent local incoming numbers from Localphone, which helps them save money for their friends and family. A user might live in the UK, but they can rent a local incoming number in China if they have a lot of family living there. That way, anytime their family calls that number, only local rates will apply.
What makes Localphone a popular VoIP provider?
ITSPA Member and Award Winner
Localphone is a proud member of the Internet Telephony Services Providers’ Association (ITSPA). The ITSPA represents network operators, service providers, and other telecom companies in the UK that service both residential and business customers.
Recently, Localphone was the recipient of the ITSPA’s “Best Consumer VoIP” award, which recognizes the provider who produces the most well-rounded VoIP service. The “Best Consumer VoIP” award also takes into account:
- The value associated with the VoIP service.
- What features the provider offers.
- How easy their service is to use.
- The reliability of the provider’s customer service.
Part of Localphone’s dedication to their customers includes special referral programs. These programs reward current customers for convincing friends to use Localphone’s service. For the month of March, Localphone has a one-time offer of $5 in credit when a friend adds $5 or more on the first top-up. Speaking about his company’s referral program, Paul Cusack said, "We know that our customers trust advice and recommendations from their friends so we like to reward our customers for doing just that and to thank them for helping to grow Localphone.”
State-of-the-Art Security Measures
Localphone’s staff includes a development team that has many years of experience creating safe and secure websites and networks. Localphone’s staff have deployed advanced security measures that protect all of their customers’ private data (i.e. log-in information, password, credit card number).
A Strong Commitment to the Environment
In addition to delivering low rates and great customer service, Localphone also focuses on reducing their carbon footprint. That includes hosting their servers at a carbon neutral facility in Amsterdam, and finding partners and suppliers that have a similar outlook on environmental issues.
Rachel Greenberg is site editor for www.voipreview.org.