NTT Launches Asia's First IP Telephony Exchange

NTT Worldwide Telecommunications Corp. (NTT WT) launched on Sunday the first Asia-based IP (Internet Protocol) telephony clearinghouse.

The NTT Communications Clearinghouse is marketing itself as a one-stop shop to current providers of Internet telephony services and companies such as Internet service providers and telecom carriers that wish to provide such services.

At present, companies wishing to start their own Internet telephony services must work out termination deals with carriers in each of the countries they wish to provide service to and also make monthly payments to the companies. By joining the service, companies can benefit from the existing agreements NTT Communications Corp., the parent of NTT WT, has with carriers in 220 countries and also make use of its Internet and PSTN (public switched telephone network) backbone to all these countries. They will also receive a single bill for all services.

The new system will initially target Asian companies, NTT WT spokeswoman Mariko Echigo said. Thanks to its base in Tokyo and direct connection to NTT Communications' Internet backbone, delays and echo on calls will be minimized and much less than those from competing clearinghouses, which are based in the United States.

In Asia, where a lack of competition keeps international telephone charges high in many markets, U.S.-based companies have been busy signing up local carriers to their clearinghouse services. ITXC Corp.'s client list includes China Telecom, Korea Telecom and Japan Telecom, while iBasis (formerly VIP Calling Inc.) counts Korea's Dacom, Japan's RimNet and China Unicom as customers and runs its own service in Hong Kong.

NTT WT, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.ntt-wt.co.jp/.

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