Thu, Nov 25, 2004 - Page 11 News List

Savecom begins `Free Call' service


Competition between call-service providers will intensify, after SaveCom International Inc (宏遠電訊) joined the battle yesterday for long-distance business.

SaveCom, an Internet network service provider, rolled out its "FreeCall" service, which can help cut phone bills through a session-initiation protocol (SIP), a device that can initiate interactive communication sessions between caller and recipient, to either fixed lines or broadband Internet.

"The service could cut into the fixed-line carrier's long-distance revenue worth NT$15 billion every year," Rock Hsu (許勝雄), chairman of SaveCom, told a press conference yesterday.

State-run Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信) is the largest fix-line operator in the country.

It charges NT$2.1 per minute on long-distance calls. FreeCall bills such calls at the local rate of NT$1.6 for three minutes. Chung-hwa charges NT$5.6 or NT$5.9 per minute to the US and Canada, depending on the time of day, while FreeCall will bill its users just NT$1.3 per minute to either place, as well as China and South Korea.

FreeCall users can call from a regular telephone after installing a SIP gateway that connects phone lines and Internet access.

Citing statistics from the Industrial Technology Research Insti-tute, Donald Weng (翁樸棟), general manager of SaveCom, said output value of Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) will reach NT$11.8 billion this year.

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