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Last Updated: Monday, 7 February, 2005, 14:54 GMT
Skype in deal with Hutchison unit
Skype webpage
Internet telephony is picking up momentum
Skype Technologies, a firm that offers users free phone calls over the internet, has agreed a partnership with Hutchison Global Communications (HGC).

The companies will promote internet telephone services in Hong Kong through their joint "HGC-Skype" portal.

Skype was launched over a year ago by the same team behind the controversial file-sharing program Kazaa and now has more than 24 million users worldwide.

It is now one of the biggest instant messaging and internet telephony firms.

Freephone?

Voice over internet protocol service, or VOIP, technology converts phone conversations into packets of data which are then transmitted down the same wires used to surf the web.

Subscribers to broadband internet services, which allow a quicker transfer of information and data, can use Skype to link their machines together and talk to each other using a microphone and speakers.

The company now also can connect computers to telephones via its SkypeOut service, offering calls to landlines and mobile phones at low rates.

HGC is a part of Hong Kong industrial giant Hutchison Whampoa and plans to benefit from increasing broadband access in Hong Kong.

User numbers have been improving, but analysts said that it will be a while before internet telephony challenges more traditional phone systems.


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