Text Relay and Next Generation Text

You have been redirected to the Next Generation Text (NGT) Service because it's replacing the current Text Relay service.

The new NGT Service will work in a similar way but, by using an internet connection as well as a phone connection, you'll get faster conversations and be able to use computers, tablets and smartphones instead of textphones. But you don't need to change - textphones will still work.

NGT will be available on home, office, and mobile phone lines from BT and other phone providers.

NGT will offer advanced features when you're using the NGT Lite, including alternatives to the 18001/18002 prefix, dedicated textphones, Voice Carry Over (VCO), and Hearing Carry Over (HCO). And it will support these features if you don't use NGT Lite.

18002 alternative

We're introducing TextNumbers an alternative to the 18002 prefix. These TextNumbers don't replace the 18002 prefix as callers can chose either to dial the TextNumber or 18002 followed by your phone number.

As a text-user, you'll be able to link your home, office or mobile phone number to a TextNumber. TextNumbers have the same number of digits as standard phone numbers and there will be two groups, one starting with 03 for your home or office, and the other starting with 07 for your mobile phone.

You'll be able to give your TextNumber to your bank, friends and family, or anybody who wants to call you. When they dial the TextNumber, their call will connect to you via the NGT Service. When you make a call through the service, the person you're calling will see your TextNumber, so if they return your call they'll automatically dial the TextNumber rather than your phone number. TextNumbers will also work with your textphone as well as the NGT Lite.

If you prefer not to use a TextNumber, you can still receive calls to your home, office or mobile phone number if the person ringing you uses the 18002 prefix.

People calling your TextNumber should pay the same charge they would pay for any other geographic or mobile telephone call. They need to contact their telephone service provider for details of their charges.

Textphone alternative

With the new NGT Service and our free NGT Lite, you can use an internet connection to receive the text part of a call, and the home, office, or mobile phone for speech. The NGT Lite works on computers, tablets and smartphones and uses an internet connection, in parallel with the phone call, to create two paths between you and the service.

Path 1: the home, office, or mobile phone will be used for voice.
Path 2: the internet connection will be used for text.

As with Text Relay, the phone or mobile call is also used to set up the call and will be billed by your phone service provider.

We're using two paths, an internet connection in parallel with a phone line, because:

  • it guarantees the voice quality for text-users with some hearing
  • when someone calls you, any alerting device on your phone will be triggered (such as house lights flashing, phone vibration, pager vibration)
  • you won't need a separate phone account for text calls
  • you can chose your phone service provider
  • phone providers can offer text calls as part of their standard bundled packages
  • the emergency services can use existing location systems
  • it significantly reduces the possibility of fraudulent use.

Voice Carry Over (VCO) and Hearing Carry Over (HCO) alternative

VCO – if you use your voice but you're deaf or hard of hearing, you could speak your part of the conversation and read replies.

HCO – if you use your hearing but you can't use your voice, you could listen to the other part of the conversation and type your reply.

The old Text Relay allowed both of these operations, but the service was restricted to either voice or text at any time.

With NGT, using two paths in parallel (see above) text can be typed while words are being spoken so the whole conversation is quicker and more natural. Parallel channels also mean that, like a voice phone call, either party can interrupt the other, which also helps makes the conversation flow.

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Updated: 24 September 2014