Freeserve's 1.5 million users will soon be able to access their email by telephone, but only from within the UK.
As part of a deal with speech recognition technology company Vocalis, Freeserve plans to offer a free email reading service to its members. Bought separately from Vocalis, the service would cost £2.99 per month.
Customers can access their email from any fixed or mobile phone, just as they would voice mail, by dialling a national rate 0870 number. However, this number however cannot be used from outside the UK.
Freeserve has not yet said when the service will be available to customers.
Using Vocalis’ Speechmail technology, the system reads out the email message using a synthesised voice, plays sound attachments and lets users reply to the message, save or delete it.
Freeserve and Vocalis said they will fund the service by equally splitting revenue from the telephone calls.
The Vocalis deal is the latest in a host of new features Freeserve has been adding to its service in a bid to retain subscribers. Last month VNU Newswire reported the ISP was losing as many as 4,000 registered users a day. (see Newswire 19 July 1999)
In March Freeserve added a local search engine from UK Plus in addition to its worldwide Web search from Lycos, while in July it added online chat and a Web email service.
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