Broadband phone services firm Vonage has quietly launched a Voice over IP service in the UK that can run directly through a users landline phone handset.

The system works by providing a convenient phone adapter/router which converts analogue signals to digital signals which plugs into a broadband connection. A standard telephone can then be plugged into the adapter so that when a call is made or received the signal is converted to digital and routed through a high-speed DSL or cable modem across the Internet and back through a traditional phone network to the receiver's phone - providing low cost and high quality phone calls anywhere in the world.

The key to the service is that users won't have to rely on a headset plugged into a computer.

Prices start at £9.99 a month, which will include unlimited calls to landlines within the UK.

The company is also planning a mobile phone version called the F1000 to be used at Wi-Fi hotspots.