Tesco Internet Phone for Linux

After wasting many hours messing around with VoIP solutions, I’ve finally decided that Tesco Internet Phone is the way to go. There’s a few good reasons why I think this, it’s easy for anyone to obtain and install. This was one of the main factors in my decision. With Tesco Internet phone, you don’t have to open ports on your router, it comes with a USB handset, so no need to get one of those, and you can just pop down to tesco and pick one up for really cheap (£15 I think) WITH a £5 calling credit thing.

Anyway, on to setting it up on linux. You’ll need to install kiax or some other IAX capable client. Unfortunately, Ekiga CVS still doesn’t support IAX (as far as I can see) so you’ll be stuck with a qt or kde client.

You’ll probably have to set up on a windows machine unfortunately, but basically, the main thing you’ll need to know is the Tesco IP server address, which is:
Use your phone number as login and the password you set up. Then under Kiax’s settings you should be able to choose /dev/dsp1 to use the handset. There’s a few little quirks. The hash key doesn’t work, as don’t the volume controls, although there’s probably a way of getting these to work. More later!

16 thoughts on “Tesco Internet Phone for Linux

  1. Ekiga woks well for Linux.
    I have tried them all over the years
    and have settled on Ubuntu.
    The problem for Voip on Linux
    is the Webcams. chips that are used and
    wether any Linux Hacker has written any software for the webcam.
    Makers are still intimidated by Microsoift
    and do not incude Linux Drivers, but in time
    that will change.
    If you use Ekiga and i do with Canada,
    the Q-Tec Webcam 110 USB is recognised
    by Ekiga; the chip is recognised by Ekiga as
    Pixart PAC207 BCA.

  2. i just got kiax up and running on my bt2 (slackware) but i cannot get the computer to recognize my phone . all i see is /dev/dsp … no 1,2,3 etc.. do you have any suggestions to what i can do ? i have the tesco IP phone as well, but i have the cordless handset , does that make any difference ?

  3. Hi

    Sorry to spoil all your linuxing fun but…

    They sell an adaptor which plugs into your LAN (RJ45 connection) and then you plug in any “normal/regular” phone into it and you don’t have to have a computer switched on all the time (£49.97 with £5 call credit)

    The good thing is you can take it with you anywhere…even to an Inet Cafe and plug into their Lan and away you go…great for travellers or sending abroad to a relative etc.


    or my other post on your site:
    where I gave a few more details.

  4. Thanks a lot, this was very useful. I switched my machine few months ago to Linux only. However, Tesco IP was of some importance to me, now this is solved 😀

  5. Lund, are you using one of the Tesco branded ‘IP’ Phones (you should know they are just gussied up speaker and microphone with lots of buttons)

    If so, go to your linux console as root and do:


    Now plug the Tesco device in and do ‘lsusb’ again, see if it is recognising the fact that you have just added a device. I hope this makes sense.

  6. Hello,

    It started working perfect, but recently it started refusing to connect with message in the bottom of kiax: [name] rejected… wonder if tesco server’s changed?

    I’d be grateful if someone has more insight into this.


  7. @Hmmm:

    I’ve joined Tesco Internet Phone, with one of their IPA1000 units (now half price at £24.98), and have also got Kiax working with it.

    I’m using gateway.tescointernetphone.com (, and it worked first time. I have a US Robotics USB skype-phone, which works fine with it, so I’ve got the ringer on /dev/dsp, and input & output on /dev/dsp1.

    Also, one little funny with the IPA1000, it wouldn’t ring any of my phones (a BT one, some no-name slimeline thing and a Siemens DECT). A very non-obvious workaround was to plug a spare ADSL microfilter between the phone and the IPA1000! Whatever it does to the POTS side of things, it also allows the phone to ring. It took me ages to work this one out, and wasn’t a solution that Google came up with…yet. Though looking for a solution ishow I found this page.

    Hope that’s of some help to you folks.

  8. Tesco/Freshtel are rolling out SIP, too.

    Simply use sip.tescointernetphone.com for the domain and your user/pass as normal to use SIP instead of IAX2.

    Don’t suppose anyone knows of the linux configuration for the cordless tesco (binatone) phones yet? It’s recognised as usbaudio.

  9. Also, one little funny with the IPA1000, it wouldn’t ring any of my phones (a BT one, some no-name slimeline thing and a Siemens DECT).

    OK, first a little background. POTS phones normally have 48 volts DC on the line. To make the phone ring, 90 volts AC is superimposed on this. The traditional ringer consists of two high-impedance electromagnets which alternately attract and repel a magnetised armature in sympathy with the crests and troughs of the current; the armature has a clapper which oscillates between two metal bells tuned to slightly different pitches. The electromagnets are connected to the line through a capacitor which only lets AC through and blocks DC.

    In most countries, each phone has its own ringing capacitor. This allows just 2 wires to be used between sockets. UK phone wiring (in a throwback to a bodge which sits on top of something done in the bad old days of the GPO for a reason that made sense at the time) has just one ringing capacitor wired between pins 2 and 3 in the master socket. (Pins 2 and 5 are the actual line; pin 4 was once used for earth recall.)

    To get a made-for-UK phone to ring on a two-wire line, it’s necessary to connect a capacitor between pins 2 and 3. The value found in a master socket is 1.8µF, which is good for up to 4 phones (you may squeeze in a fifth if you’re lucky). For just one phone, though, 470nF will work nicely. This capacitor needs to be rated for at least 200 volts. Phone sockets have a space on the PCB for this capacitor, plus a 470k ohm resistor (between pins 3 and 5) and surge protector (between pins 2 and 5). These components are fitted to master sockets, but absent from extension sockets.

    A very non-obvious workaround was to plug a spare ADSL microfilter between the phone and the IPA1000! Whatever it does to the POTS side of things, it also allows the phone to ring.

    An ADSL filter works essentially like a loudspeaker crossover network, diverting the DC and low frequencies to the “phone” side and the high frequencies to the “ADSL” side. The original ringing signal on pin 3 is liable to have all manner of high-frequency stuff on it from the ADSL side of things; so a new, “clean” ringing signal is regenerated from the low-pass (phone) output with a 470nF capacitor.

    (Found this site while looking for something else; hope this explanation helps someone else.)

  10. I was searching for information about getting tesco internet phone working with linux and this came up

    very useful, I now have kiax up and running and connected to the tesco service (using gateway.tescointernetphone.com ) Next step is to try it with the tesco handset I seem to have mislaid 🙁

    thank you

  11. I was just wondering if you are still running VOIP on ubuntu and the Tesco network, as I am having a right game trying to set it up. I am moving to Aus soon and was looking for a good cheap phone service to call home on, but this does not want to play ball.

  12. Although it’s not the cheapest, I have certainly found Skype to be fairly good and easy enough to get working (no firewall configuration, also adjusts the mixer settings automatically, also a lot of people are already on Skye.) Also, I’m on an ISP called Internode here which offer a cheap voip solution with your internet for $10 a month… you can also get this service without paying line rental for your phone line (it’s called naked adsl), which saves you $20. You’re in for a bit of a shock though, the internet is quite a bit more expensive here in Aus. Doh!

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