One in ten overseas phone calls to be made online

Internet phones have left the arena of novelty toys and are making their way towards the domain of serious corporate savings, according to analysts at Datamonitor.

A report from the London-based company reckons the internet will account for more than 10 per cent of all international telephone calls by the end of the year 2002. Major carriers such as Deutsche Telekom, AT&T and Telecom Finland are already offering some limited services, with newer operators laying fibre-based networks specifically intended to carry telephony services.

The report goes on to say that Internet phones will be used for nearly 1 per cent of all telephone calls worldwide -- at an estimated revenue of $3 billion. That compared with today's $20 million.

In Europe, the spur for these services is still the monopolistic hold that companies like BT and Deutsche Telekom have over their markets. Pent up demand for cheap services will create opportunities for companies attempting to undercut the majors, says the report.

Next year, the report says, the vast majority of providers will begin offering Internet telephony services to their customers.