March 27, 2006 10:59 AM PST

New Internet telephony players emerge

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The Internet telephony market is getting more crowded as two more companies launched new services in the U.S. market on Monday.

Internet search portal Lycos, owned by Korean company Daum Communications, began offering its Lycos Phone service. And Jajah, a start-up with backing from Sequoia Capital, a major Silicon Valley venture capital firm, launched its VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) service in the U.S., after several months of offering it in Europe.

The two newcomers are entering an increasingly crowded market with players such as eBay's Skype, Time Warner's America Online, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and EarthLink already fighting for a piece of the market. But Lycos and Jajah are betting that consumers will value how they've differentiated themselves from the pack.

Lycos says its biggest differentiator is its multimedia offering. In addition to free PC-to-PC calling, instant-message chatting and video chatting, Lycos Phone offers video on demand and an MP3 player. Globe7, which is partnering with Lycos, provides access to video content from Reuters and Bloomberg, as well as movie trailers and sports highlights.

Lycos is also trying to differentiate itself by undercutting its competition. Like other companies offering PC-based VoIP services, Lycos charges for calls made from PCs to regular telephone lines or mobile phones. As a promotion, it's offering 100 free minutes of PC-to-landline or PC-to-mobile phone calls.

To entice users to stick with Lycos, it's charging less than 1 cent for PC to phone calls made within the continental U.S. The SkypeOut service costs about 2 cents per minute, and Yahoo Messenger with Voice charges between 1 cent and 2 cents per minute.

Lycos is also offering several features for free--features for which Skype and Yahoo charge a fee--including U.S. phone numbers, fax service, and transmission of voice mail messages to e-mail. Lycos also allows users to receive calls from traditional landline phones and mobile phones for free, while Yahoo, for example, charges $2.99 a month, or $29.90 a year, for that service.

Jajah's big differentiator from its competitors is its simplicity. Unlike all the other companies, which require users to download software, Jajah's service doesn't require a software download or additional equipment, such as headphones, for their PCs. Instead subscribers use their existing phones.

The way it works is that users enter their own phone number and the one they're calling on the Jajah Web site. The Jajah server then calls the number of the person initiating the call. After the caller picks up, it calls the number of the other person. Once that person answers, an Internet connection is established between the two callers and the conversation, which has been converted into IP packets, travels over the Internet.

U.S. domestic calls cost about 2.2 cents a minute. International calls vary. For example, a call from the U.S. to Austria costs between 2.6 cents and 3.2 cents per minute.

See more CNET content tagged:
Lycos Inc., telephony, IP telephony, Skype, Yahoo! Inc.

12 comments

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A new kind of spam!
Ah, interesting application. Enter in the phone number of your friend's girlfriend in one line and his wife on the other. Or your friend and his ex-girlfriend. At 2 am.

Oh, the fun is endless in a service that allows you to enter any two phone numbers right on the homepage, no questions asked.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's this
What a lovely idea. Where is my address book and how much trouble and strife can I stir up. Just goes to show what evil thgouhgts people have. Fancy putting wives and girl friends on the line together when hubbies are out playing somewhere else.
I'd love to be the fly on the wall when they connected. Come to think of it - threeway conference call so you can listen in to the sparkling discussions.
Posted by Tokyopete (2 comments )
Link Flag
A new kind of spam!
Ah, interesting application. Enter in the phone number of your friend's girlfriend in one line and his wife on the other. Or your friend and his ex-girlfriend. At 2 am.

Oh, the fun is endless in a service that allows you to enter any two phone numbers right on the homepage, no questions asked.
Posted by TV James (680 comments )
Reply Link Flag
What's this
What a lovely idea. Where is my address book and how much trouble and strife can I stir up. Just goes to show what evil thgouhgts people have. Fancy putting wives and girl friends on the line together when hubbies are out playing somewhere else.
I'd love to be the fly on the wall when they connected. Come to think of it - threeway conference call so you can listen in to the sparkling discussions.
Posted by Tokyopete (2 comments )
Link Flag
iDialDirect already does 2 cents in the US
I have been using iDialDirect for five years and they already do 2 cents in the US and many other countries, PLUS its only 1 cent to Australia!!!! OLD NEWS!!
Posted by deshotel (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
may be old news, but..
it's still a neat idea. the other company you mentioned -- iDialDirect -- obviously isn't getting the word out because I've never heard of them. (I use Vonage so I do keep up with VoIP news.) I will check them out -- but the people I've told about jahjah in the second have thanked me. One co-worker has a grandmother in France and she called her this week using this jahjah service I told her about. She actually used the free 5 minutes to try it out -- but she'll use it again and she enthusiastically told her mom about it (who will use it to call her mother).

Also, just because one company does it doesn't preclude another company from jumping in! That just means it's a viable idea.
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Link Flag
iDialDirect already does 2 cents in the US
I have been using iDialDirect for five years and they already do 2 cents in the US and many other countries, PLUS its only 1 cent to Australia!!!! OLD NEWS!!
Posted by deshotel (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
may be old news, but..
it's still a neat idea. the other company you mentioned -- iDialDirect -- obviously isn't getting the word out because I've never heard of them. (I use Vonage so I do keep up with VoIP news.) I will check them out -- but the people I've told about jahjah in the second have thanked me. One co-worker has a grandmother in France and she called her this week using this jahjah service I told her about. She actually used the free 5 minutes to try it out -- but she'll use it again and she enthusiastically told her mom about it (who will use it to call her mother).

Also, just because one company does it doesn't preclude another company from jumping in! That just means it's a viable idea.
Posted by ChazzMatt (169 comments )
Link Flag
Jajah = Nada
Tried to use the service. Went to the jajah.com site and what did I see but the "My Phone Number" box is greyed out and the Call From country defaulted to India. Below the Call button is this message: "The free minutes contingent for this country is used up." Tried 3 different browsers, cookies and popups turned on, nothing worked.

Visit the Jajah forum. You will read that they lost their forum database in March 2006. Very convenient since any posting history of customers' negative experiences with the Jajah service has been wiped out. Of course, Jajah sees this as a positive.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forum.jajah.com/viewtopic.php?t=4" target="_newWindow">http://forum.jajah.com/viewtopic.php?t=4</a>
"Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:09 pm
Post subject: Forum back to life

Dear JAJAH users,

You have undoubdetly noticed that our JAJAH Forum is once again starting from scratch.

Unfortunately we lost all the data in our old forum, all your tales and stories, your suggestions, inquiries and complaints are gone and we obviously deeply regret what has happened.

To look at the bright side, we now have the chance for a fresh start. Please help us get this forum going again, quickly register and start sharing your JAJAH stories.

Thanks, and we're looking forward to hearing from you.
_________________
Your JAJAH Team"
Posted by maxwis (141 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Jajah = Nada
Tried to use the service. Went to the jajah.com site and what did I see but the "My Phone Number" box is greyed out and the Call From country defaulted to India. Below the Call button is this message: "The free minutes contingent for this country is used up." Tried 3 different browsers, cookies and popups turned on, nothing worked.

Visit the Jajah forum. You will read that they lost their forum database in March 2006. Very convenient since any posting history of customers' negative experiences with the Jajah service has been wiped out. Of course, Jajah sees this as a positive.

<a class="jive-link-external" href="http://forum.jajah.com/viewtopic.php?t=4" target="_newWindow">http://forum.jajah.com/viewtopic.php?t=4</a>
"Posted: Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:09 pm
Post subject: Forum back to life

Dear JAJAH users,

You have undoubdetly noticed that our JAJAH Forum is once again starting from scratch.

Unfortunately we lost all the data in our old forum, all your tales and stories, your suggestions, inquiries and complaints are gone and we obviously deeply regret what has happened.

To look at the bright side, we now have the chance for a fresh start. Please help us get this forum going again, quickly register and start sharing your JAJAH stories.

Thanks, and we're looking forward to hearing from you.
_________________
Your JAJAH Team"
Posted by maxwis (141 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They may have short lifespans
if the c|net article "Net neutrality fans lose on Capitol Hill" is taken into account. The backbone providers, who also have a stake in this game, may be able to shut 'em down.
Posted by El Kabong (100 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They may have short lifespans
if the c|net article "Net neutrality fans lose on Capitol Hill" is taken into account. The backbone providers, who also have a stake in this game, may be able to shut 'em down.
Posted by El Kabong (100 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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