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London-based ClaraNet has joined in the free calls gold rush currently sweeping through the UK ISP market. Starting on 2 August, ClaraNet will begin operating four packages all offering free calls. FreeTime12 costs £5.99 per month and gives the user 12 hours of free calls; FreeTime35 costs £14.99 per month and gives 35 hours of free calls; FreeTime80 costs £29.99 per month and comes with 80 free hours and FreeTime Weekend costs £11.99 and gives free weekend calls to ClaraNet along with a 20 per cent discount off the BT local rate call charge. ClaraNet is claiming that subscribers to the FreeTime80 package stand to make an annual saving of £357 compared with standard BT call charges. A representative of the ISP claimed it could avoid falling into the same trap as companies like Screaming.Net and LocalTel, who have been so swamped with demand for their free call package they have found it impossible to provide a consistent service. "We don't anticipate people will be clamouring to join," he said. "This is a serious package aimed at serious users -– we're not marketing it as a gimmick." He went on to say that more ISPs would be forced to offer free calls to the Web. "It's the way the market is going." ®

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