Cheaper and Free Phone Calls

Reporter: Chris Simond

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) has already connected more than 400,000 Australians to cheaper phone calls because it uses the internet to make them.For around $140, VoIP customers can use their broadband connection as a telephone line and with monthly subscriptions as low as $9.95 from providers, phone bills are plummeting.

VoIP consumer Craig Lamby said it reduced his overall bill by about $100 to $150."VoIP to VoIP is free which is a bonus and your 10 cent local call to anywhere in Australia always helps," he said.

If you want to ring five interstate friends every day, Telstra said you might as well call 10 or 20 friend because its monthly package deal of $89.90 allows you to call as many as you like..With Telstra's fixed line revenue dipping 7 per cent in the last half of 2005, Rosemary Sinclair from the Australian Telecommunications Users Group said the telco's objective is clear, slow down VoIP's growing market dominance or suffer the consequences.

"The emergence of this pricing plan tells me they're coming back to the market to actually fight for the future of the company in the market," she said.So what is Telstra's future going to be like once VoIP becomes even more popular? Well, not half as bad as when Colin Pask and the army he is part of muscle in on Australian telecommunications. Colin is just one of millions of users worldwide who have downloaded a software package known as Skype.It is a peer to peer system that allows anyone with a broadband connection to access it for no cost at all.

"It takes only a couple of minutes to download and then install it in the computer, it installs in about 30 seconds and you're up and running," Mr Pask said."If you're calling Skype to Skype, it doesn't cost you anything." It means you can call landlines and mobiles, anywhere, anytime, free.

VoIP providers