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SOM personnel who currently have a UNC phone line (phone number begins with area code 919) may wish to establish new phone service with AT&T in order to enable features to support working remotely. With the new AT&T service, personnel will have access to a “soft client” that will enable outgoing phone calls to be masked with a UNC phone number and incoming phone calls to be received on a personal phone or via computer.

What is a soft client?

A soft client, or soft phone, is an application that enables VoIP telephone calls from a computer, tablet or a mobile device. The ‘soft’ stands for software because it is indeed software (in the form of an app) that you download to your device.

The service provider name for the soft client is Communicator. For the remainder of this document, when you see “Communicator” this is referring to the soft client (or soft phone).

The soft phone is available only on the new AT&T VoIP phone system.

DO NOT USE COMMUNICATOR FOR 911 calls!

The Communicator is not a replacement for your mobile or fixed line telephone when placing 911 calls. Alternate arrangements must be made to ensure that you can make emergency calls.

Communicator Options

BASIC COMMUNICATOR (Included with every new VoIP phone line at no additional cost):

  • Works only with a VoIP desk phone. You cannot subscribe to the basic communicator without a desk phone.
  • Works only when the “remote office” feature is activated.
  • Allows users to make outbound calls using the Communicator client on the PC or Mac.
  • The user will receive inbound calls to the number input in the remote office configuration (cell phone or land line).
  • The user may make outbound calls using the Communicator client on a PC/Mac. The call is initiated in the Communicator application. This will place a call to the user’s cell or land-line phone. Once answered, the system will call the destination number. The Caller ID number from this call will be the VoIP (Communicator) phone number.

PREMIUM COMMUNICATOR (Available as an optional service, at no extra cost):

  • A VoIP desk phone is not required to use the Premium Communicator.
  • You can receive inbound calls directly to your PC/Mac.
  • You can make outbound calls using the Communicator client on your PC/Mac. (Remote office feature is not required.)
  • The user has the option to user the PC/Mac integrated speakers & microphone or use a headset.
  • The Caller ID number from this call will be your office extension.
  • This option is also available as a Mobile Client for iOS or Android.

Summary of Plan Options and Costs

Receiving a new phone line will generate the standard new phone line fee ($14.50 per month). At this time, ITS is not yet able to port current phone numbers into the new phone line system (porting is required in order to apply your current phone number to the new phone line). ITS will begin the process of porting phone lines soon, but the entire process is estimated to take up to 3 years (some numbers may be ported soon, but some may take much longer).

If you wish to retain your current phone number, you will be charged for 2 phone lines (additional $14.50 per month) until ITS is able to port your current phone number. If you do not need to retain your current phone number, you will be assigned a new phone number and you will not be charged any additional phone line fees (monthly phone line costs will remain unchanged, standard $14.50 per month). If you need to initially retain your current phone number (because, for example, study materials include reference that phone number), you may choose to do so and then drop the current phone line in the future once you no longer need that phone number and are prepared to use the new phone number.

If you would like the capability to initiate and receive phone calls on your computer (not requiring use of a personal phone when off-campus), that capability is offered with the premium communicator, which is available for no additional cost. If you do not choose to add the premium communicator, you will receive basic communicator, which will require use of a phone and will not enable calling via computer. It is important to note, that if you choose to use the basic communicator, set-up of the new phone line will take longer (because the setup of a desk phone will be required as well) than if you choose to use the premium communicator.

In summary, your options include:

1. New phone line, cancel current phone number, use basic communicator or premium communicator: $14.50 per month total  ($0 additional costs beyond what is already billed for current phone line)
2.
New phone line, retain current phone number, use basic communicator or premium communicator: $29 per month total ($14.50 additional beyond current phone line charges)

Ready to request service?

In order to streamline requests to ITS and provide support for research personnel, CRSO has developed an online request form that provides an overview of the available options and may be used to specify all preferences related to the phone service requests. Requests will be fulfilled by ITS and ITS will provide any needed customer support once service is initiated. Click here to initiate your request.

Additional Information and Guidance:

Basic Communicator Quick Reference Guide

Premium Communicator Quick Reference Guide

Communicator Soft Client Tutorial from Mitel