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Net2Phone Offers E-Mail By Phone, Free Accounts

IDT's Net2Phone Thursday said its Net2Phone Direct customers can now retrieve e-mail messages via text-to-speech technology.

By using technology provided by MailCall, subscribers can listen to e-mail messages by calling their Net2Phone Direct account, without the use of a computer or laptop. In addition, the company announced that it will provide free e-mail accounts to all of its Net2Phone Direct customers who use MailCall.

Net2Phone Direct is similar to a pre-paid calling card: users dial an access number, enter an account number, and enter the number they want to dial. If users want to retrieve their e-mail, they enter a code. Users who want to get e-mail from accounts other than the free Net2Phone Direct account can change their preferences through a designated secure Web site. Upon first time use of MailCall, subscribers receive a free Net2Phone e-mail account.

Once the service is activated, users hear the headers of each of their e-mail message, and can then select from various options for managing e-mail. Subscribers can listen to the text of the message in English or Spanish, make a hard copy of the message sent to any fax machine in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico, or reply to the message.

Users also can reply with canned responses, using a customized pre-set response of up to 512 characters set by the user, or a callback phone number which the user touch-tones in and is then sent as part of the reply. Messages can also be responded to via voice, and sent to recipients as an audio file attachment.

Preference options available through the security-encoded Web site include six different voices with three pitches each, a default fax phone number, a customized response, and several pattern matching strings which can be used to filter and prioritize e-mail.

Net2Phone Direct is expected to launch February 15. The cost of the service is $0.25 per minute with no monthly fee. Net2Phone Direct also allows users to make phone calls and send faxes over the Internet for five cents a minute and up.

"Net2Phone has always been committed to offering unique and innovative services to our users, and computerless e-mail retrieval is one of many products we plan to bring to the market," said David Greenblatt, Chief Operating Officer of Net2Phone. "By introducing value-added services to our Internet telephony suite of services, we continue lead our sector with innovative services for consumers."