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March 22, 2006

Yahoo Messenger with VoIP

Yahoo launched a VoIP service in the United States that lets people make phone calls through the company's instant messaging software.

Available in several other countries since December, the service allows users to make calls from their computers for 2 cents a minute or less to the top 30 national phone markets, including the United States.

Here are the new features of the VoIP service:

  • Phone Out: Calls within the U.S. and to more than 30 other countries can be made for two U.S. cents a minute or less.
  • Phone In: For $2.99 a month or $29.90 a year, people can select a personal phone number, and receive incoming calls free. In the beta service, country-based phone numbers are initially available in France, the United Kingdom, and the United States with additional country-based numbers available in the coming months.
  • Free Voicemail. Additionally, Yahoo! Mail now includes useful links to Yahoo! Messenger with Voice, enabling people to easily check their voicemail directly from Yahoo! Mail.
Of course, this service competes directly with Skype that offers similar features for slightly higher prices. Yahoo Messenger with Voice rates average between 20 percent and 30 percent lower than Skype to many major markets outside the United States, according to a comparison furnished by Yahoo. Yahoo has struck phone partnerships with headset maker Plantronics, VTech, a maker of USB handsets, and Siemens AG, a big maker of cordless phones.

More at Reuters.

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