A mega upgrade for landlines

Callbox offers an invaluable one-stop receptionist service for small businesses

Callbox, £199
Callbox, £199 | Image: Hugh Threlfall

The UK boasts some astonishing numbers for a small country. Talking to the inventor of this British-designed and made device for small businesses to get superpower from their landline phones, I was amazed to hear there are still around 33 million active landlines in Britain. I would have guessed less than half that. But the same day, on a Tube train, I saw an ad for an office phone service that claimed 600,000 small business users. “A likely story,” I thought, wondering if there were even that many in the UK. The surprising answer? According to the Federation of Small Businesses, there are 5.5 million, employing 15.7 million people. Well I never. 

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Anyway, Callbox is a nicely presented 11cm sq magic box that, among other tricks, can record calls, block spam callers, email voicemails left on your landline to your smartphone and route voicemails to specific people. The one thing, oddly, it doesn’t do (yet) is direct callers to your landline to your smartphone – but that is coming in a software upgrade.

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Callbox is easy to install – you just plug in the telephone and the internet. I had it connected for a week, but can’t quite give it a ringing endorsement (see what I did there?) because not a single person called my landline in that week. But I have checked it does indeed work, and gather small businesses still get a lot of calls. Fair enough.

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