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T-Mobile internet biz buys a slice of VoIP action

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Jajah, the Austro-Californian VoIP outfit we profiled last week, has announced that the mystery second investor in its third funding round is Deutsche Telekom (DT).

DT's T-Online Venture Fund paid about $5m for a "less than five per cent stake" in Jajah. Intel coughed the rest of the $20m earlier this month. The chip giant plans to load Jajah firmware onto every CPU it ships from 2008 onwards.

The DT deal was cut at this year's 3GSM mobile phone trade show in Barcelona. Jajah co-founder Daniel Mattes told the Register that execs from T-Online moved very swiftly to pony up the cash for a slice of the self-proclaimed "Google of VoIP".

DT's mobile arm, T-Mobile, has been among the most receptive operators to over-the-top internet services. Its Web 'n' Walk tariff packages' liberal fair use policies have made them popular with VoIP users.

Mattes said the telco had made the investment because "they have no choice" but to accept that cheaper VoIP calling will become the norm. In return for a small chunk of equity, Jajah will get ready access to T-Mobile subscribers, who numbered 31 million in Germany, 17 million in the UK, and 25 million in the US at the end of last year. Jajah has accrued about two million users in 55 countries in its first operational year, and plans an IPO next year.

Perhaps equally important to the VoIP operation is the Mutually-Assured Destruction-style protection of DT's telecoms patents, which should help it dodge the intellectual property mauling which has sabotaged Vonage's expansion bid Stateside. ®

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