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Microsoft Enters VoIP Market with MCI Deal
Posted on 13-Dec-2005 20:36 | Tags Filed under: News

Microsoft Corp. and MCI Inc. are announcing a global, multiyear partnership to provide software and services that enable customers to place calls from a personal computer to virtually any phone. The solution, MCI Web Calling for Windows Live Call, will be available through Windows Live Messenger, the upcoming successor to MSN Messenger

MSN Messenger currently counts more than 185 million active accounts around the world.

The solution combines Windows Live software, voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) capabilities and MCI's global network to give consumers an easy-to-use, convenient and cost-effective way to stay connected.

MCI and Microsoft are testing the service as part of a Windows Live Messenger limited beta with subscriptions initially available in the United States, and expect to jointly deliver the PC-to-phone calling capabilities to France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom in the coming weeks.

Once subscribed to the service, customers can place calls to and from more than 220 countries with rates starting at US$.023 per minute to the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Western Europe during the beta testing period. Upon sign-up, MCI Web Calling customers will receive up to one hour of free calls. Final pricing will be determined when the product officially launches in 2006.

The Microsoft and MCI technology builds on Microsoft's PC-to-PC voice investments, and will enable customers to call from a PC to phones around the world, including mobile phones, by clicking on an entry within their contact list in Windows Live Messenger or typing a phone number into the Windows Live Call softphone.

Customers will be able to sign up for MCI Web Calling via the Windows Live Messenger client. MCI will manage customer registration, terminating calls, customer account management, customer support and billing for the PC-to-phone voice service, and will work closely with Microsoft on delivering a high- quality software service and customer experience. Customers will purchase prepaid calling time from MCI in US$5, US$10 or US$25 blocks for use with the service.

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