A US company is set shake up the international communications market with an Internet telephone service that does not require both customers to be connected to the Net.
IDT Corporation has just released a program called Net2Phone, which enables a PC user to be patched to another telephone in any one of 120 countries, via the Internet, at a cost of about 10 cents a minute.
A user, with an Internet connection, dials IDT through their Internet service provider. The company routes the call over their network to a conventional telephone connection.
All a machine requires is a soundcard, speakers and a microphone for the service to work.
Payment is made through the advance purchase of a Net2Phone debit card, which for UK users is made through a credit card. Users are given a PIN number, which has to be entered to make the call.
The company claims that, unlike other Internet phone software, the program, which is downloaded free from http://www.net2phone.com, provides real time conversations without a time-lag.
IDT is currently developing a conventional phone-to-phone Internet-based system.
But BT said it is not scared of losing too much of its international call traffic though Internet competition. A spokesperson said: ?Customers will still be making use of the BT network for their local calls to their ISP. We make our money from a wide range of call types - both local and international. We are also an ISP ourselves."
?International call costs are coming down anyway and we have already acknowleged that by the year 2000 a large proportion of our lines will be taking Internet calls,? the spokeperson said.
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