Paying BT or Virgin Media £10-£15 per month for a landline telephone seems like a waste of money when I have a mobile phone contract which gives me 300 free minutes per month. But it still costs more for other people to call me on t'mobile, and not everyone has a contract phone (do they, Mum?). So I've been looking around for VOIP providers who could give me a geographic UK phone number which I could take calls on via my home internet connection.

There are quite a few providers who'll do this for £3-£4 per month, but sipgate are doing their best to disprove the theory that there's no such thing as a free lunch, offering UK numbers for free (at least for the moment).

Within a couple of minutes of signing up, I was the proud owner of a 'real' 01865 Oxford phone number and some SIP credentials for registering a device to make/receive calls via it (obviously outbound calls cost real money, it's just that there's no line rental or monthly charge to have the number which people can call at their usual geographic rate).

I managed to set up Linphone as follows:

Under Linphone > Preferences > Manage SIP Accounts, hit 'Add' under 'Proxy Accounts', set "SIP Identity" to sip:[email protected], "SIP proxy address" to OK out and you should get a prompt for your sipgate password; put it in and the status bar should read 'Registration on successful'.

I'm pleased to report that incoming calls come with the caller ID information - the incoming caller will be "01234 567 890" . As far as I can tell, it only supports one incoming call at once, but for £0/month, that's not too shabby :)

Next on my list is to buy an ATA and hook up my real cordless phone to sipgate. Watch this space!