Net2Phone Spices Up VoIP Platform

Looking to create a wide-ranging communications portal to attract users to its Internet telephone services, Net2Phone, Inc. on Monday unveiled the Net2Phone CommCenter, complete with a real time instant messaging application.

The New Jersey-based Voice-over Internet Protocol (Vo-IP) firm, said the latest version of its PC-calling software would improve sound quality, one of the biggest hurdles for the nascent IP telephony market.

Bart Bartolozzi, Net2Phone’s director of strategic development, said the platform upgrade was part of sweeping plans to create a communications portal for the consumer market.

It is also a sign that Net2Phone has no plans to depart the business-to-consumer space, a strategy adopted my competitors like and Deltathree .

More importantly, he said the software upgrade would include echo-cancellation capabilities to enhance the quality of PC-based telephone calls. The EchoStop technology, from Andrea Electronics, helps reassemble the voice packets at termination, helping to avoid the scratchy, tinny sound that can ruin PC-based phone calls.

Bartolozzi told atNewYork the new CommCenter would have a new user interface offering paid PC-to-phone calls, free unlimited PC-to-PC calling, an active contact list that works like an IM buddy list and the instant messaging application.

He said CommCenter customers would also get to make calls when they are away from their PCs through Net2Phone Direct, the company’s phone-to-phone Vo-IP service.

The Net2Phone-branded IM application, which was created in-house, also logs text-based conversations though a message storage feature. It also provides online account management, allowing users to track call-detail records, billing and costs for individual calls.

To sweeten the pot for new users, Net2Phone said it would give away 5 free minutes of domestic calls (U.S only) for new users and existing subscribers who download 550k the software upgrade.

The company plans to roll out international editions of CommCenter in multiple languages this fall.

Net2Phone is a dominant player in the PC-to-phone market, handling about 72 percent of both traffic and revenue of the market. It makes money from the up-sell and cross-sell of international phone calls, integrated sponsorships from communications companies, calling cards, broadband services, and through the sale of advertising and direct marketing programs.

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