TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: IIM Services Offer Alternative to Phones, But Are No Bargains

IIM Services Offer Alternative to Phones, But Are No Bargains

Monty Solomon (
Mon, 31 Oct 2005 01:45:32 -0500

By Sarmad Ali

All over the world, consumers are turning to the Internet for phone
service. Companies like Skype Technologies and Vonage Holdings have
been marketing inexpensive, even free, calls. Now, Internet giants
like Google and Yahoo, and software manufacturer Microsoft are
upgrading their services and features to win the same customers.

Instant-messaging services with voice calling have been around since
the late '90s, but the sound quality was poor, and most customers
could only text message or call people with the same service.

That is changing. Google recently launched Google Talk, a call service
integrated into its messaging service. And Yahoo and Microsoft have
announced plans for next year to have users trade messages and
eventually conduct voice conversations. The two companies also
recently released versions of their services that aimed to improve
voice quality and offer new features like free voicemail.

I have been testing the latest versions available at Yahoo Messenger
and Microsoft's MSN Messenger on my Windows PC, focusing on IM voice
services. Both voice services worked well, but they still need to
improve voice quality, especially for international long-distance

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