If you want to sell to Sally, forget advertising, its all serendipity: let her tell you the tale of her telecoms purchases. BT loses out but Royal Mail proves a star
Some twenty years ago, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys gathered in Stratford-Upon-Avon for its Annual Conference. Delegates were (with varying degrees of
At the end of 2014, the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys held a Reception in Edinburgh. In my pocket when I took the train south (from Edinburgh to Windermere) was a newly-acquired Vodafone Smart 4. Why?
“I can't get a signal” could be a cause of frustration or it could be a cause for celebration. In business terms, it's going to be frustration. And, in Cumbria, there are places which have network coverage from one operator but not from another (and there are places where there is no coverage at all).
I wanted a phone that could use 4G and (because I'm a serial loser of mobile phones and careful about money) I wanted to start by using PayAsYouGo / see what I could get for around £100. Also, I had recently visited Wray Castle. This National Trust property on the north-west shores of Windermere was (before opening to the public in 2011) leased to a telecommunications company which not only “wired” the Castle but also left the legacy of a mast on the tower – now a Vodafone mast.
The final piece of the jigsaw was my hotel in Edinburgh (end of 2014) being in the same block as the Vodafone store on Princes Street. It was a swift purchase. I had a train to catch. And an appointment to keep – to collect the keys to my new office in Windermere.
The only “blip” with the phone so far has been self-inflicted (if you can self-inflict a “blip”). I walked nervously into a Vodafone store and explained I was happy with the phone – but it didn't seem to want to take incoming calls. Oh! The embarrassment on learning that its number began 07918 and not 07819! Problem solved in an instant!
In fact, I was so embarrassed that I went on to explain my intention to use the phone “for business” and “in Cumbria” after the end of 2014. In subsequent discussion, the words “virtual landline” entered my vocabulary. Also, I was introduced to the idea that, whilst BT has restrictions on allowing a number to be taken “out of area” (and a first conversation with BT had said “no” to taking 0161 (Manchester) numbers to Cumbria), a BT number can be “ported” to another telecoms provider.
I learned a lot more about virtual landlines through watching the videos for Vodafone's One Net service. In essence, that service provides both “local numbers” (so clients / customers feel they are dealing with a “local business”) and “when one phone isn't answered by the business - move call seamlessly to the next phone - so client / customer is sure of talking to someone and doesn't have to leave a message” (a service for which there's undoubtedly a technical term).
I wasn't interested in “when one phone isn't answered” but I was very interested in being able to keep two 0161 (Manchester) numbers. I had used 0161 941 3362 for twenty-four years (latterly phone and internet) and 0161 941 1246 for nearly as long (latterly fax and internet) and I didn't want to leave them behind / release them back to BT.
In the end, I decided Vodafone's One Net service offered more than I needed. But searching “virtual landline” on the internet took me to Virtual Landline and present circumstances. Both 0161 941 3362 and 0161 941 1246 were “ported” from BT on 31st December 2014. When anyone calls either number, their call is (automatically / seamlessly) forwarded by Virtual Landline to the Vodafone (number beginning 07918). I'm still a novice on other features of the service and will be experimenting further with (a) the app which seems to allow me to make outgoing calls from the Vodafone with number given to recipient as 0161 941 3362 and (b) the various “message” services that operate when the Vodafone is not answered / switched off – extending to a voice mail being left at the email address of firstname.lastname@example.org.
So – at present – no land line: though paying for a land line to sit alongside the Ethernet cable that links computer-on-desk to the internet remains an option.