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Sipgate review

Our Rating :

Sipgate falls in between the commercial VoIP providers and the no-frills pay-as-you-go services.

It sells VoIP hardware as well as a customised version of the X-Lite softphone and even an iPhone application that lets you use VoIP when connected via WiFi. Its Sipgate1000 package gives you 1,000 minutes of free UK landline calls, but we tested the standard pay-as-you-go tariff.

Once you’ve signed up and logged into Sipgate’s website, the entire site changes – the home page becomes your personal control panel. Here, you can set up voicemail to be sent via email, configure call-forwarding options and even send SMS text messages from a web interface. You can also manage your contacts, although unfortunately there’s no way to import contacts from popular mail clients.

You can download a version of X-Lite that’s pre-configured with your account details, which makes setup even easier. However, this version works only with Windows XP, so for Vista you’ll have to download a newer version and configure it yourself. Thankfully, there are numerous guides available for various hardware and software VoIP phones, which even show your own personal account information where relevant.

For our UK scenario, Sipgate is third-cheapest after the two no-frills services. Its weakness is its international call costs, which are more expensive than BT’s own call plans. For cheap UK calls, Sipgate offers the best all-round service, with superb support and easy setup, and so it wins our Budget Buy award.

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