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Vonage offers free calling to subscriber numbers

Under new service, long-distance and international calls are free for anyone dialing a Vonage phone number.

Internet telephony provider Vonage is launching a service called V-Access that not only cuts costs for its subscribers, but also will provide savings to friends and family members who call them.

V-Access allows anyone calling a Vonage phone number to make a long-distance or international call for free, the company said Monday. Callers obtain a local access number from the Vonage Web site, and after dialing this number, they enter a Vonage number or an 800 number. The call is then connected to that number without incurring a long-distance or international usage charge.

Access numbers can be obtained by anyone, regardless of whether or not they are a Vonage customer. V-Access is currently available in the U.S., Canada, France, Italy, Mexico, Spain and the U.K. Vonage is marketing the service for college students and frequent business travelers.

"We wanted to make sure that every Vonage customer and their loved ones can enjoy the savings of Vonage wherever they go," CEO Mike Snyder said in a statement.

Vonage has struggled to impress Wall Street investors since it went public in May. The company, which spends millions of dollars each quarter on marketing, has consistently been losing money for several quarters. The company's primary Internet telephony business has come under pressure over the past year as cable operators have pushed their own telephone services as part of a bundled package of services.

As a result, Vonage has been trying to expand its business by offering new services to attract more subscribers. Earlier this month, it announced a deal with EarthLink to resell broadband access in cities where EarthLink is building citywide Wi-Fi networks. V-Access is yet another added feature that Vonage hopes will entice customers to sign up for its service.