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Google gears up for a free-phone challenge to BT (British Telecom)
Contributed by: G3nu1n3, at 1/24/2005 11:10:00 AM.

The company behind the US-based internet search engine looks set to launch a free telephone service that links users via a broadband internet connection using a headset and home computer.

The technology that will enable Google to move in on the market has been around for some time. Software by the London-based company, Skype, has been downloaded nearly 54 million times around the world but no large telecommunication firms have properly exploited it.

BT, which connects seven out of ten British households, has developed its own internet-telephone service. However, the telephone giant, which has the most to lose if the new technology takes off, has been reluctant to promote it heavily.

Elsewhere in the world, using the internet to make phone calls has caught on more quickly. In Japan 10 per cent of households already use the so-called “voice over internet protocol” and an internet service offered by Softband has 4.4 million subscribers. Its growth has depressed revenues of the local telecom group, NTT.

In the US, a company called Vonage offers customers unlimited calls each month for as little as $24 (less than £13).

Big companies and multinationals that make huge numbers of long-distance calls are also increasingly switching to internet calls to try to slash their bills.

Source: Link


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