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 Post subject: Yahoo calls on customers to try its new phone service
PostPosted: Wed Mar 22, 2006 6:55 am 
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By Jefferson Graham, USA TODAY

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LOS ANGELES — Internet giant Yahoo Tuesday launched a new way to get a local telephone number for just $2.99 a month.

The calls have to be initiated from a PC, but can be made to traditional landline phones and cellphones. Yahoo customers can receive calls from those phones, as well.

Yahoo will charge 2 cents a minute for domestic calls, on top of the monthly $2.99 fee. Per-minute charges to 180 other countries will vary. It won't charge to receive calls.

Yahoo is undercutting Internet telephone leader Skype by about $1 monthly for such PC-to-phone service.

Yahoo and Skype both offer PC-to-PC calls for free, as do instant-messaging services including America Online's AIM, Microsoft's MSN Messenger and Google Talk.

You need a headset with microphone to make calls or a PC with a built-in microphone and speakers.

MSN is now testing a PC-to-phone service. AOL says it will have PC-to-phone calling available later this year.

Yahoo Vice President Brad Garlinghouse says what sets Yahoo's service apart from competitors' is "aggressive pricing," and the fact that the calling services are entwined in Messenger and the Yahoo network. Unlike Skype, which is pure calling, Yahoo offers e-mail, instant message, news headlines and many other features.

Customers of Yahoo's phone service will eventually be able to click a button to check their voice mail and have it played back through the Yahoo Mail program.

Jan Dawson, an analyst with research firm Ovum, says there are now 2 million paying customers of PC phone services.

But he says Yahoo's move won't bring the concept mainstream. "This is aimed at young people. ... It's a cheap way for them to give it a try."

Phone service for $2.99 monthly won't make people run out and replace their traditional phones. But, "we see a continual chipping away at the traditional model," says Maribel Lopez, an analyst with Forrester Research. "And this really hurts the future phone business."

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 7:57 pm 
Hmmm, wonder where they got that idea from??? (*cough skype)

O well, I guess competition starts sometime :P


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