China Telecom Set to Put Domestic Calls on IP

HONG KONG (04/25/2000) - China's dominant telecommunications carrier next month will launch IP (Internet protocol) telephony services inside China, bringing the rapidly emerging technology to a huge and largely untapped telecommunications market.

China Telecom Ltd. will introduce domestic IP calling services in June in the 16 largest cities in China, according to a statement by Clarent Corp., which will provide software used in rolling out the services.

IP telephony uses an IP-based data network to transmit voice traffic in the form of packets. This can make calls less expensive because it does not require the dedicated point-to-point circuits used in traditional telephone networks.

In China, where phone services today reach only a minority of the population in much of the country, IP telephony could become a major part of the telecommunications network.

China Telecom plans by the end of the year to offer a service that can be accessed through any of the carrier's 150 million wireline phone customers across the country, for domestic or international calls.

The carrier will offer two types of services. One will be a prepaid service that requires customers to dial a special prefix, and the other will allow users to dial directly. Both will be charged on users' regular China Telecom bills, according to Clarent. The carrier will use Clarent call-accounting software for the services, according to Clarent.

After rolling out the services to 16 cities in June, China Telecom later will extend them to 30 other cities across China. The network is designed to handle 100 million minutes per month of IP telephony traffic.

The carrier last year introduced an IP telephony service, also using Clarent software, that was limited to international direct dialing (IDD), using prepaid calling cards.

Clarent, in Redwood City, California, can be reached at +1-650-306-7511 or online at http://www.clarent.com.

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