Gossiptel touts cheapo flat fees for overseas calls

New VoIP tariffs

Gossiptel, the UK broadband internet telephony outfit, has introduced new call packages aimed at people who like to rabbit.

"World 500" gives subscribers 500 minutes per month of talk time to landlines in 35 countries for £9.99, while its World Unlimited bundle offers an unlimited talk time package to landlines in 35 countries for £19.98.

Both plans include calls to mobile phones in the USA, Canada, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Calls to any other broadband telephony services which use the "SIP" industry standard SIP protocol are free. Subscribers can also choose their own geographic number from the most popular UK STD codes including London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Birmingham and Bristol.

Said Gossiptel co-founder Kim Thesiger: "Today marks the beginning of end for phone services where people are billed based on how long they make a call for or even where in the World they call. In future, consumers and businesses will pay flat monthly fees for their phone services no matter where they are calling or for how long. Gossiptel already allows you to make unlimited calls to more than a third of the World's population for a flat monthly fee."

Recent research by Cambridge-based Analysys predicts that more than 50m broadband users in Europe could be using VoIP by 2008, making a severe dent in revenues for traditional telecoms businesses.

Said analyst Stephen Sale: "The recent rapid take-up of one PVA (private VoIP applications) variant peer-to-peer VoIP using free downloadable software from providers such as Skype raises the possibility of the appearance of a critical mass of PVA users that could unleash a significant structural change in the voice market by the removal of a large proportion of PSTN revenues.

"In the residential market, PVAs are typically used to make longer calls to friends and family, the core telephony business of fixed-line incumbents. In combination with increased mobile usage, this could render the PSTN subscription worthless for many broadband users."

Yesterday, BT began offering its punters free VoIP calls for a year if they sign up to one of its broadband services. ®

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