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BT-backed e-telco launches Tuesday

A low-cost Internet-only telecomms company backed by BT launches Tuesday

Quip, which is billed as the UK's first e-telco, is a joint venture between BT (quote: BT.A), Unisys and Bank of Scotland. The company said that it would offer the cheapest international call rates on the market.

The service will only be available via subscription over the Internet, with users receiving a four-digit pin code that will enable them to use their existing phones with the company's cheaper rates.

Quip will not be providing local call rates or any form of Internet access package, claiming that BT's domination of the local loop meant that it was not a profitable area for it to enter.

"No one can offer cheaper local rates than BT," says Quip marketing manager Simon Lubin, "There's not enough margin to make any profit. Our main purpose in life is to offer low cost international calls."

The company has however entered into an affinity deal with ISP Line One to offer its subscribers 500 and 1000 free Internet minutes when they spend £5 and £10 a month respectively. Lubin said that Quip would be announcing further deals with affinity partners next month.

Although the company is 49 percent owned by BT, it exists as a totally separate entity, said Lubin, with separate offices and management. He claimed that Quip would be "totally independent" of BT, with the service receiving no branding from "BT or any of our other backers."

All management of Quip accounts, including billing, payment and customer enquiries, will be done online.

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