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Broadband ISP Andrews and Arnold Close UK SIP2SIM Service

Saturday, Mar 9th, 2024 (7:31 am) - Score 4,840
andrews and arnold isp logo aaisp 2015

UK ISP Andrews & Arnold (AAISP) has informed customers about the forthcoming closure of their long-running SIP2SIM (mobile voice) service, which is essentially a special SIM card that you could put in an ordinary dumb mobile phone, and it makes that device appear as if it is a SIP extension (SIP phone) on a phone system of your choice.

The admittedly “somewhat niche” service, supported by O2’s (VMO2) underlying mobile network, has been running since 2014 and costs from just £2 +vat per month (plus £5 one-off per SIM card) on a monthly rolling contract (2p per minute for calls, 2p per TXT / SMS and 2p per MegaByte of data / broadband).

NOTE: Most people are familiar with the term VoIP (Voice-over-Internet-Protocol), but you’ll also hear providers mention SIP (Session Initiation Protocol), which is essentially a common protocol for enabling a VoIP service.

The bad news is that AAISP has this week announced that their SIP2SIM service “will stop” on the last day of April 2024 (credits to Jack for notifying us of this), which is because their partner for the service has decided to terminate the agreement they currently hold with the ISP.

SIP2SIM Service Statement

Unfortunately, on 1st May 2024, the partner with whom we’ve had this relationship is terminating our agreement. There are several factors at play here, we think :

3G masts are going away, and a portion of our SIMs in the wild are still 3G only, so would need replacing.
– The O2 MVNO that our supplier uses to provide SIMs connected to the O2 network is coming to an end.
– Our supplier is (as many telcos are) focussing more on IoT/M2M data only services, and less on voice.

We did attempt to find a way to retain service with them, but even had we been able to do this, SIMs would still all have had to have been swapped, and pricing models would have needed to be very greatly changed.

We also explored finding service with a number of other suppliers, but as mentioned above, many telcos are now much more focussed on M2M/IoT type services, and not on voice. This makes intuitive sense; a decade ago, voice calling was far more common than it is now, and data-based services (including VoIP as an over-the-top service) were not really as established as they are today.

Therefore, unfortunately, SIP2SIM as a service will stop from the last day of April 2024.

The provider’s statement (see above link) includes details of alternative solutions for existing customers. In addition, there are other providers out there, including OnSIM, who “may” be able to offer something technically “similar enough” that it might work for some, although, in a different pricing model.

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Mark-Jackson
By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on X (Twitter), Mastodon, Facebook and .
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Comments
22 Responses
  1. Avatar photo Big Dave says:

    Can’t imagine it will affect too many customers. I should imagine most voip lines have the call forwarding *21* service as standard these days.

    1. Avatar photo Ryan says:

      I’m going to go against the crowd here. I’ve had nothing but problems with AAISP VoIP. As for their supposedly second to none support? hah. You ask them on IRC they say they’ll talk to their upstream provider then you hear nothing. 3 times now when i’ve been left with no voice or no SMS. And you pay through the nose for this privilege too.

  2. Avatar photo Name says:

    That’s a shame. But hopefully there’s room for improving the data-only sim cards they sell.

    The arrangement in place currently is extremely expensive at 1.75 pence per MB PAYG & I wouldn’t touch it myself unless it was for lightweight usage.

    1. Avatar photo Turner says:

      £21 for a gigabyte after tax!?

    2. Avatar photo I love Starlink says:

      Indeed if places like 1p can do it for 1p are they just being greedy? Or is O2 more expensive than EE to resell?

    3. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      typical A&A really – just as they’re essentially the only home broadband provider left that still has data caps. Their very vocal but small minority of fans will insist that the IRC support channel justifies the significant extra cost, though.

    4. Avatar photo NE555 says:

      What do you mean “insist”?

      Different products suit different people. If someone values good customer service and is prepared to pay for it, why shouldn’t they?

    5. Avatar photo gpmgroup says:

      A&A are an amazing ISP. With respect to data caps they give 50% of any unused allowance back to the end user to carry over to the next month. Their caps are quite large, don’t think there would be enough time in life to use all of the cap for most people.

    6. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      “insist” in that’s the big thing the fans like to talk about. Probably because it is the only thing left that differentiates it from other providers, and even in the small ISP space there are providers with good support and no caps (but no IRC channel)

      As for “quite large” caps – the sort of person who has broadband just to check emails and do online banking is probably not with A&A – ironically they’re probably with an ISP that has no data cap.

    7. Avatar photo Ben says:

      @Ivor OK, I’ll bite. On their home tariff A&A offer up to a /29 of IPv4, plus essentially unlimited IPv6 space, on 115Mb / 20Mb FTTP, with 1TB of transfer, for £37 per month (inc VAT). Which other provider(s) have a similar product?

    8. Avatar photo Ivor says:

      no idea Ben. I grew out of trying to host stuff at home years ago and haven’t needed a /29 since then. I do enjoy lower prices and not counting every byte as I would have to do if I was with A&A, though.

      by “biting” you seem to be implying that I’m trolling – which I most definitely am not.

    9. Avatar photo Rich says:

      Nobody needs a /29 when SNI proxies exist. I’m perfectly happy hosting all my services on a single IP! I’ll take no data caps over a /29.

    10. Avatar photo Cognizant says:

      Remember kids, transit and peering costs money.

    11. Avatar photo the hatter says:

      The reason their payg data is expensive isn’t so much the data, it’s the service behind it. Static IP to a SIM is not common, no NAT or filtering is not common, and obviously there’s no economies of scale. If you need it, you need it. If your only need is to stream 4k video then obviously you don’t need any of that, so you’d shop elsewhere and pay a tiny fraction of the data costs. Also, they’re A&A, a small, tech-centric flexible ISP, if you need those features but a regular, large amount of data I suspect you can give them a call and come up with a much more affordable monthly/annual package than paying per MB.

    12. Avatar photo name says:

      I feel like this thread has gone somewhat off the rails. A&A is expensive naturally because they provide a different class of service contrasted to the vast majority of communication providers on the market.

      However, the data is still remarkably expensive. I don’t see why, by the time you remove a few of the middle men in the supply chain, why A&A wouldn’t be in a position of reducing the price of their data SIM cards.

      If they were targeting a price point of say, £5/£6 per gigabyte why that would significantly compromise the existing service they offered.

      What’s the arrangement now in place exactly? O2 > Some MVNO > Some supplier > A&A.

      [Correct me if that’s wrong]

      Imagine if the chain was O2 > Some MVNO > A&A. Or even EE > BTw > A&A.

    13. Avatar photo Hamas Supporter says:

      Remember kids, this is the year 2024 not 2004.

    14. Avatar photo Techno says:

      The data SIM uses the Three network not 02. Also it’s Aql that’s the supplier

  3. Avatar photo Jack says:

    Shame I had to find out about the closure via this site, no email or text from A&A about it.

    1. Avatar photo Jack says:

      Strange how you didn’t get an email. I had one on 4th March from the general manager. There was also a stop sell put on the website I noticed around 21st/22nd February I noticed for new customers. Shame really as although a niche product offering I have found it very vital for distant ‘extension’ phones and useful for when I’ve been roaming in Europe for vital business comms. Hopefully some other operator does a similar SIP to SIM service in the very near future.

  4. Avatar photo Stephen Coates says:

    This is a shame. I’ve had SIP2SIM for a year or so and it has been really useful having the same phone number on both my desktop VoIP phone and my mobile. Also, I was previously using GiffGaff for my mobile whose call prices are far higher than A&A. I don’t use A&A for data, but even if I did, their prices are still cheaper than GiffGaff who charge 10p/MB.

  5. Avatar photo Alan says:

    Sip2sim has been the best thing about A&A. This product will be missed, as the only way to make a SIM a SIP endpoint.

    I’ve looked into OneSim but as said, it doesn’t look to have half the feature set and seems to be locked to their PBX. More expensive to boot.

    If anyone knows of any alternatives, I’d love to hear them.

  6. Avatar photo George L says:

    It might be expensive for people with a lot of incoming calls, but SipGate will forward calls to a mobile number if that’s what you need.

Comments are closed

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