deltathree.com (Nasdaq: DDDC) and its competitors in the Internet teleophony space got a boost Friday from news AT&T was taking a 39 percent voting stake in rival Net2Phone (NTOP), outbidding AOL. Deltathree.com also announced that its customer base has exceeded 2 million subscribers.
Shares in the provider of IP telephony services and other enhanced, web-based communications services were up 5 percent, or 1 1/16 to 20 11/16.
Shares of other Internet telephone carriers iBasis (IBAS), up 8 percent, or 3 1/8 to 47 3/8 and ITXC (Nasdaq: ITXC), up 7 percent, or 3 3/8 to 50 3/4 were also getting a lift from news of AT&T's move Friday.
AT&T outbid America Online (NYSE: AOL) for a large stake, although AOL also announced it will make another investment in Net2Phone soon. Other Internet phone companies look more likely to become buyout targets of other large, established carriers.
deltathree.com's 2 million subscriber base is 75 percent outside of the US, a deltathree.com spokesperson said, but the company plans to change that through its recent deal with eMachines (Nasdaq: EEEE) and Hotbar.com, which plan to expose millions of new customers to Internet telephony. Deltathree.com's 2 million subscriber base, of which 100, 000 are paying subscribers, compares with Net2Phone's 5million subscriber base, 600,000 of which are paying.
The company said its partnerships with carriers, as well as its retail program that includes free and low cost PC-to-Phone calling, Internet-based calling cards and unified messaging, have all driven its subscriber base over recent months.
deltathree.com has recently announced partnerships with Telstra (NYSE: TLS), and the Philippine Long Distance Co. (Philippine Stock Exchange: TEL), the largest carrier in the Philippines, SBI, an eastern European telecom, and Telematic Comunicaciones, a Latin America Telco.