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Free calls for a tenner as Freecall goes live

Wait for details comes to an end for 180,000 registered users

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Freecall-UK -- the UK Net company that promised toll-free access to the Internet -- has finally launched its service after keeping people guessing for more than two months. Snag is though, it's not free. Anyone who wants to take up the offer first has to part with £6 ($10) to register in what is described as a "one-off administrative fee." Sick squid may not be a king's ransom but it's a couple of pints of beer more than many had expected to pay. Then again, it could net 0800 Connect Ltd -- the company trading as Freecall-UK -- a tidy little sum, even if only a fraction of the 180,000 people who registered their interest eventually sign up for the service. That said, there's little doubt the offer sounds tempting especially for those people who use the Net during the day. For every hour online during peak times users receive 30 minutes toll-free time in return. Less attractive paybacks apply to off peak hours and weekends. Yet this proposal is a far cry from Freecall-UK's early plan to provide toll-free access in return for users receiving online ads via email. In an email posted at the weekend, Freecall-UK CEO Richard Jay said the service would be one of the "next generation of Internet service providers." Net users in the UK may not agree. They've had to wait more than two months to find out exactly how the scheme works. Question is, was it worth the wait? ®

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