Looks like the excellent Skype (www.skype.com) has its first bit of serious competition in the rapidly growing PC-based VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) market. BT and Yahoo! have teamed up to provide BT Communicator with Yahoo! Messenger – a package that combines webcam, instant messaging, texts and e-mails in one free package.
BT already offers VoIP without having to use a PC. Called BT Broadband Voice (www.btbroadbandvoice.com), it costs £6.50 and works by connecting an adaptor to your broadband modem/router.
However users of the new service will be able to make free telephone calls when connecting from their PC to another PC. Unlike similar packages from Skype and microsoft, they will also be able to make calls to a landline or mobile phone for the same cost as a phone call on their BT Together fixed line phone package.
International calls can be made into the UK via the PC for the cost of a local call, but it isn’t possible to dial an international number from the UK using your computer. Multi-way video calls are set to be added in 2005.