Microsoft Taps Telefonica to Deliver Live Messenger VOIP

Microsoft has chosen Telefonica as the exclusive carrier to provide VoIP (voice over Internet Protocol) services to Windows Live Messenger users in the U.S. and some South American countries, the companies said Friday.

Telefonica has branded the service "Voype" and it is now available to customers in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and the U.S. It will be available in Venezuela beginning Monday, Microsoft said.

With the service, people using Windows Live Messenger can make calls directly from PCs to fixed or mobile phones anywhere in the world, according to Telefonica.

Voype, which competes with eBay's Skype VOIP service, offers free PC-to-PC calls between Windows Live Messenger users. Calls to phones in the U.S., either fixed or mobile, cost US$.014 per minute, while both fixed and mobile calls to Canada cost $0.055 per minute. Calls to fixed lines in Mexico cost $0.104 per minute, while calls to mobile phones cost $0.277 per minute.

A list of other countries and call rates is available on the Voype service Web site, where people also can sign up for it.

Microsoft would not say if and when the exclusive deal with Telefonica expires.

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