German ISP launches public VoIP service

QSC, a provider of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) service to both homes and enterprises, will roll out a VoIP service on 1...

QSC, a provider of DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) service to both homes and enterprises, will roll out a VoIP service on 1 December.

The QSC service, called IPfonie, will allow customers to make calls for free within the company's network. Calls made to other fixed-line networks will cost €0.025 per minute during business hours and €0.015 at other times. Calls made to mobile networks will cost €0.189 per minute.

Users of the IPfonie service must pay a minium €49.90 a month for QSC's flat-rate DSL service, in addition to a €4.99 monthly charge for the IPfonie service and a one-time installation fee of €9.99.

Unlike fixed-line telephone systems, IPfonie requires users to keep their PCs running to accept calls around the clock. This requirement could add a few extra euros to the bill.

However, the company claimed that IPfonie users would spend less than customers of Deutsche Telekom.

The German carrier charges around €24 for a monthly phone line, in addition to about €13 a month for a DSL line and a monthly €30 flat-rate for DSL service.

Per-minute call fees can range from €0.06 to €0.122, depending time of day and distance, for an analogue connection and €0.06 to €0.091 for a digital connection.

IPfonie customers will receive their own phone number, which callers can reach from all national and international fixed-line and mobile networks. Additional phone services, such as caller identification, call waiting and conference calls are also available.

IPfonie software supports both Microsoft's Windows and the open-source Linux operating systems.

In addition to offering residential customers high-speed connectivity based on ADSL (Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line) technology, QSC provides businesses with a SDSL (Symmetric Digital Subscriber Line) service that can support speeds up to 2.3Mbps for both uploading and downloading information.

Internet telephony is fast becoming a popular service in the small and medium-sized business market.

Earlier in the week, Richard Notebaert, chairman and chief executive officer of US phone company Qwest Communications International said the US phone company will roll out VoIP service to the mass market in Minnesota.

Australian network operator SingTel Optus announced a scalable VoIP service for its SMB customers, while BellSouth last week unveiled a package of net telephony services for small and midsized customers.

John Blau writes for IDG News Service

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