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Morpheus maker to launch Net phone service

StreamCast Networks plans to sell VoIP-based phone service to people who have downloaded its Morpheus peer-to-peer file-swapping software.

StreamCast Networks, the creator of the Morpheus file-swapping application, has become the latest peer-to-peer software maker to pick up on Internet phone service.

Next month, the company will begin selling Internet phone services that cost between $10 and $35 a month to Morpheus users, StreamCast said on Tuesday. The $10 program covers 300 minutes of calls to the traditional phone network, while the $35 plan gives unlimited calling to anyone within the United States.

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The VoIP equipment and call time for the service will be supplied by i2 Telecom International, according to a representative for the communications company.

StreamCast's jump into VoIP is part of broader trend among peer-to-peer software makers, which are trying to use their presence on broadband-enabled desktops to launch Internet phone service.

Several months ago, file-swapping software maker Kazaa unveiled Skype, a peer-to-peer VoIP service that's been downloaded six million times already, according to the company.

StreamCast's voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone service is open to the 120 million people that have downloaded Morpheus, provided they also buy a Morpheus-branded adapter. The adapter is needed to allow traditional home phones to make calls over a broadband connection.

VoIP is a technology for making phones calls using the Internet Protocol, the world's most popular method for sending data from one computer to another. After years of overpromising and underdelivering, VoIP is generating significant interest among telecom carriers, corporations and consumers, thanks to significant improvements in quality of service.