Tesco has offered a VoIP service for some time, but last year expanded its offerings to allow users of a number of Nokia handsets to make free calls to contacts in a Wi-Fi hotspot or other Wi-Fi area. You don't need a Tesco SIM to use Tesco TalkWi-Fi.
A ‘free' TalkWi-Fi applet allows you to make the Wi-Fi calls. To set things up you must first send a text message to a premium rate number (this costs £1 but is reimbursed in the form of a credit for the TalkWi-Fi service), in return for which you get a reply containing the link to download the app.
Once installed on your phone, TalkWi-Fi gathers contacts from the handset and your SIM card.
Anyone in your contact list who also has Tesco TalkWi-Fi installed on their mobile phone or home PC and is within a Wi-Fi area are displayed in green. Calls you make to these users using the VoIP service are free. You can chat to friends in the UK or abroad for 59 minutes at a time - international calls cost 1p. If one of the callers strays from a Wi-Fi area, the call is immediately dropped.
Making calls without the use of Wi-Fi will cost 2p a minute to landlines and 10p a minute to a mobile phone on any network Tesco offers the Talk WiFi service on either a contract or a pay as you go basis. Top-ups are via a Tesco Internet Phone voucher from a branch of the supermarket or can be on a contract.
The handsets currently compatible with Tesco TalkWi-Fi include: E51, E65, E66, E71, E90, N81, N81 8GB, N82, N95, N95 8GB. Tesco plans to extend the list.
It's not yet possible to send text messages via the service and while Tesco TalkWi-Fi doesn't offer the ability to call emergency number, you can still use your handset in an emergency, your call will simply be routed through your existing network operator.
The free calls are subject to a fair use policy and exclude voicemail. Voicemails left on your number can only be picked up via your mobile operator.
Anyone with a Nokia handset and lots of like-minded friends will love Tesco TalkWi-Fi.