Matsushita Unit to Produce Internet Telephone

Kyushu Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., a unit of Japan's Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. Ltd., which is better known by its Panasonic brand name, has signed an agreement with Internet telephony company Net2Phone Inc. that will allow it to integrate the latter company's technology in future consumer telephone products.

The first product to come from the agreement is currently on show at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. It allows users to choose between sending a call over the public telephone network or routing it over Net2Phone's Internet-based network. By opting for the latter, customers can typically save money over direct-dial rates, especially for overseas calls.

The telephone is expected to hit the U.S. market in mid-2000.

Kyushu Matsushita Electric Industrial, in Kyushu, Japan, is on the Web at http://www.kme.panasonic.co.jp.

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