OzEmail adds to Internet telephony services

OzEmail today launched the second phase of its Interline Internet telephony service, announcing PC to phone telephony with integrated Microsoft Internet Explorer 5 and Outlook functionality.

Dubbed the OzEmail PC-Phone, the new service allows users to make overseas and local calls to standard telephones, using an Internet connection and free software that utilises Microsoft NetMeeting.

Calls can cost from 9 cents per minute within Australia, or 25 cents per minute to the US, for example, and can be made in over 200 countries, the company claims.

OzEmail Interline software, the "dialler" used with the OzEmail PC-Phone service, has been developed for use with Microsoft Outlook, enabling users to dial straight from an Outlook address entry.

OzEmail PC-Phone will also be useful for corporates with a permanent Internet connection and an existing Outlook database, company officials said today.

In reference to a past view of Internet telephony only providing cheap calls, OzEmail sees the new PC to phone offering as a value-added service, said Jon-Baptiste Rousselot, CEO of OzEmail Interline. "You're not using it just because it's cheaper but because you're already at the PC and on the Net."

Support for contacts software from other vendors is not available yet, said Rousselot, citing the choice in Microsoft software due to the fact that it is the first vendor to have an H323 standard product - a standard for interoperability between voice-over-IP products, he said.

Users of OzEmail's Internet service will get better quality calls using the OzEmail PC-Phone service, said company officials, because they are already on the OzEmail network and have better access to an OzEmail Internet gateway.

Today's launch follows more than two years after the company's first foray into voice-over-IP telephony with a phone to phone service.

In answering why OzEmail had not heavily marketed its voice-over-IP phone service, CEO David Spence said: "It was no use pushing our foot hard on the accelerator in competing against the other gorillas [who were providing cheap calls]."

"Value added services have taken a little bit longer than thought but are here today with this launch," he added.

The OzEmail Interline software is available as a free download from http://www.ozephone.aust.com

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Molly Furzer

PC World

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