Jajah to power Yahoo Messenger's premium voice service

Beginning later this year, the telephony start-up will take over customer service, payment processing, and network infrastructure for Yahoo's VoIP service.

Yahoo announced on Tuesday that it's no longer going to power Yahoo Messenger's Internet telephony service with in-house technology: the company has inked a deal with start-up Jajah to replace its phone-to-PC and PC-to-phone communications.

Under the agreement, Jajah will start providing the service for Yahoo's "Phone In" and "Phone Out" features, which allow members to make calls to landline and mobile phones, starting in the third quarter of 2008. Yahoo's telephony option is a paid service; Jajah will be responsible for processing the payments, and providing customer support and the network infrastructure.

Jajah's calling rates to and from the United States are about 2.9 cents per minute.

Last year, Jajah introduced an option to let users place calls without using their computers. It has partnered with would-be rival Jangl to take on bigger voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) players like eBay's Skype.

Founded in Austria but now headquartered in Silicon Valley, Jajah has amassed 10 million users in two years of operation; Yahoo Messenger boasts 97 million users but has not released data on how many of them pay for premium voice services. Terms of the deal between the two companies were not disclosed.

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