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Free voice and video firm plans April 1 UK launch

Red letter day for ad-funded Voixio

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New UK service Voixio is to offer free national or international phone and video calls to internet users. The catch? For every call you first have to watch an ad or commercial.

Voixio was set up by London-based Requestec, which specialises in web 2.0 communication applications, including high definition video calling from within a Flash client. Its team has worked for Nokia, Demon Internet, JP Morgan, and Symbian.

The new service is simple to use. There is no need to install software, and the interface - called Zenon - is fully Flash-based and will detect the webcams and microphones available on your computer.

Users can make calls to domestic and international landline and mobile telephone numbers, to other Voixio users, or any SIP address. Conference calls between Voixio users are free. Video calling to 3G mobile networks is also possible, and phone calls can be made to standard email addresses.

The service was announced last November at World Telemidia in Prague, but will officially launch on 1 April.

The service has been available for internet users to try out, but Voixio has temporally disabled it. "Many people abused the service by getting as many accounts as possible," a spokesman told The Register. "We need to sort that out first."

Depending on advertising and destination, a free call lasts at least 15 minutes, though 3G videocalls will be limited to 60 seconds. Extra time can be bought through PayPal.

Users will have to submit their sex, age, and interests, while "built-in" geo-location enables advertising to be targeted even further, the company promises. "

Although most ad funded free call projects so far have failed, Voixio believes there is enough interest to attract advertisers. ®

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