British Telecommunications PLC (BT) plans to extend its hosted Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service from the U.K. to Ireland, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands this year, it said at the Cebit trade show here in Hanover, Germany, on Thursday.

BT is offering two VoIP products; a fully hosted multimedia service, called MM VoIP, that gives multimedia communications using Cisco Systems Inc. IP phones, and BT VoIP Port which lets companies gain some of the benefits of IP without having to throw out their legacy time division multiplexer (TDM ) PBXs and handsets, BT said.

MM VoIP, as an IP service, does not need a PBX system. It offers services such as video telephony, where a camera on the phone captures video and displays it on the desktop, plus access to shared databases over screens on the handsets.

The Abbey National PLC building society in the U.K. is currently using the MM VoIP service on 9,500 phones in 750 branches, and is a good example of what can be done, BT Global Services Head of Hosted IP Telephony John Blake said. It has not completely switched, still having some PBX offices, but will soon change to a completely IP network, he said.

The Abbey National contract, signed in February 2003, is worth