What is a Batphone?
The term "batphone" gets its name from the 1966 Batman TV series.
On the show, Commissioner Gordon could reach Batman and Robin on a dedicated telephone circuit whenever there was an emergency. Following similar naming convention to the Batmobile and the Batarang, this dedicated telephone and line was known as "The Batphone."Today, the term "batphone" has been co-opted to refer to a telephone line that is dedicated to a single purpose. In call centers, shared lines or supervisor hotline phones are sometimes called "the batphone". In the military, a secure encrypted line or a satellite telephone is sometimes called "The Bat Phone". Getting a call on The Bat Phone usually means something important was about to happen.
On this website, a batphone is a secondary phone line dedicated to a specific purpose. It takes the form of either a device/application that makes free or low cost calls via the Internet, or a cheap prepaid mobile phone.
If you are interested in your own batphone, begin with Phase 1, shopping for phone service. Once you have your service picked out, test it by moving to Phase 2, using software to access your service. Once you are comfortable with using your service via an app, you may want to move to Phase 3, using dedicated hardware for your batphone.
If you are just interested in phones in general, check out The Bat Signal, a growing collection of random observations about telephones and other communications gadgetry.
Here is a list of random reasons why you might need batphone:
- Dedicated line for specific use - so you don't have to give out your home or mobile number to members of your team, club, church, etc. You never know who might be a super-villain. Examples include:
- Using your personal phone for work - Do you need to make business calls from your mobile or home phone? Are you reluctant to give your mobile or home number out to your customers or coworkers? Use a calling app or VOIP service to make calls from a number that isn't associated with your personal life. When you are done you can log out of the app or service until you need it again and not be bothered by unwanted calls.
- Using your work phone for personal stuff - Do you need to make personal calls from a phone supplied by your employer? Use a calling app or VOIP service to make calls from a number that is yours to keep, regardless of where you work.
- Emergency phone - a family or work emergency can mean lots of phone calls and burn lots of mobile minutes. Overages can be very expensive. If you can connect to the Internet, using a VOIP phone could save you a lot of money. Prepaid minutes are generally more expensive than those of a contract plan until you have exceeded your monthly allotment, then the per-minute price for plan minutes can increase sharply. A prepaid phone won't save you as much as VOIP, but it could still save you.
- Backup phone - if your mobile phone is dead, broken, or left behind at your batcave, you can still make and receive calls and texts on your computer or other Internet-connected device. A prepaid backup phone can help you keep in touch when your primary phone is not working.
- Disposable number for short term use - handy for online dating or for prank calling super-villains. A batphone is not useful for evading actual law enforcement. Police and federal agents have access to sophisticated surveillance technology and can compel service providers to disclose detailed user records.
- Secret line for secret calls - Having more than one phone and phone number is handy when you are keeping a low profile
- Secret Line - calls and texts to and from the batphone don't show up on your mobile phone bill, making it difficult for someone outside of law enforcement to see who you are calling and texting, and when.
- Secret Calls - calls and texts to your secret line don't show up on your "real" phone, so you can make contact in secret.
- Find your missing mobile - lost your mobile somewhere around Wayne Manor? Call it from your batphone and use echo-location to find it... like a submarine. If your phone is missing right now and you don't have time to set up a VOIP or prepaid phone to call it, click here.
- Cheap International Calls - VOIP is great for calling friends and family in other countries for free. Some services offer great rates for calling landlines and mobiles in other countries as well. If you are visiting a foreign country, using a VOIP app over wifi can save you from expensive international roaming charges. If you have a quad band GSM phone, you can buy a prepaid SIM for a local mobile carrier that can let you make local calls without paying international or roaming rates.