BT Business has announced a new VoIP telephone service that allows businesses to use a geographic phone number, reports Comms Business.The move reportedly came after research showed that customers preferred doing business with local companies, which they often recognised through sharing the same area code.However, competitor Vonage has criticised the move as copying – and charging extra for – a service it has offered for years, as well as only using virtual numbers which do not register as having geographic codes when calling out to a customer."We know that people like to deal with local companies and feel more comfortable calling numbers with codes they're familiar with," said Bill Murphy, managing director of BT Business, reports Comms Business."Geographic numbers are clearly what our customers – residential and business – want and have been enjoying for some time. It's just a pity BT's residential customers aren’t going to get a look in yet," added Kerry Ritz, managing director at Vonage UK."With Vonage, you don’t need a separate account for each number and we offer a choice of additional numbers across Europe and around the world, not just the UK."Small business interest in VoIP has grown substantially in recent years, as it offers substantial call savings, particularly when calling long distances or overseas.© Adfero Ltd