Tiscali to Offer Free Internet Phone Calls

Tiscali SpA, an Italian Internet and telecommunications company, will allow customers to make free long distance telephone calls over the Internet, the company announced yesterday. The service, called Voispring, is the first of its kind in Europe, Tiscali claims.

"Thanks to a personal number obtained by registering with Voispring, you can receive and make calls, even long distance, directly from your PC, free and without extra charges," Tiscali said in a statement. The only charge is that of the local phone connection fee, it said. "Unlike other VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) services, Voispring allows you to be reached by customers using the traditional telephone network, from anywhere in Italy," it said.

The personal number will enable subscribers to be contacted by phone even while they are navigating online, the statement said. The company plans to expand the service to include fee-based international calls and calls to mobile phones, it said.

The service has been created in collaboration with networking vendor Cisco Systems Inc. and Pagoo Inc., a provider of Internet Protocol (IP) telephony software, the company said.

Tiscali, based in Cagliari, on the island of Sardinia, was the first Internet Service Provider (ISP) to offer free Internet access in Italy. The company is a partner in Andala SpA, one of the consortia currently bidding for a third generation UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) license in Italy.

Tiscali can be contacted in Cagliari at +39070-46011 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.tiscali.it/. The Voispring service can be contacted on the Web at http://www.voispring.com/.

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