IDT touts 10 cent US telephony

US telecommunications company IDT is boosting the international presence of Net2Phone, its Internet telephony product that has been the subject of rave reviews in the US.

Net2Phone allows any Net user to make full-duplex calls to anywhere in the US from 10 cents (about six pence) per minute because voice data is carried over the Internet until it reaches IDT's US telephone infrastructure. It is available for free download.

IDT public relations director Sarah Hofstetter said the product is targeted at small businesses and expatriate users. It has recorded particularly strong sales to students and other expatriates, including 80 US soldiers serving in Bosnia. "It's very hard to get big business because we can't penetrate firewalls and there is still a slight time delay," she said.

IDT is set to release a Macintosh version of the product later this month, to be followed by Net2Phone Direct, a service that doesn't require a PC. Net2Phone Direct should be running in the UK within four months, said Hofstetter: "We're currently working with people to set up switches and once we have that we'll have the service in the UK."

IDT hopes to expand its presence by a new direct marketing initiative whereby free accounts will be available to businesses who advertise their Net2Phone connection on Web site banners.

Through 1997, IDT plans to crunch the current 10.4Kbits/sec voice bandwidth to 3.4Kbits/sec, enabling better audio quality and less delay. Videoconferencing through White Pine's CUSeeMe software is also planned.


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