Net2Phone for the first time is making available a commercial phone service using Session Initiation Protocol (SIP), a company representative said Tuesday. SIP is widely regarded as the cornerstone of Net-based phone calling.
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Net2Phone's move comes as its chief rival,, is readying its own European entry. Vonage spokesman Mitchell Slepian said Tuesday that Vonage will begin selling broadband phone plans in the United Kingdom, Switzerland and other parts of Europe sometime this year.
"We welcome the competition," Slepian said.
The two broadband phone service providers have been enjoying a modicum of success in the United States, largely because their phone plans are $35 a month, or about a third less expensive than traditional dialing. Europe could be an even bigger market for the companies. Landline phones are even more expensive there, so the savings from using a broadband phone provider would be even more dramatic.