While de-regulation of the telecommunications industry in Japan has
led to an increase in the number of long distance providers and better rates, there are even greater
savings to be had in the form of Internet telephony.
Internet telephony technology has out-distanced even the savings offered by
such international phone companies as Japan
Telecom, IDC, plus a handful of Japan-based callbacks.
This is according to Ken Cotton, a Tokyo-based
computer consultant, president of the Tokyo PC Users Club, and a Web
re-seller for San Francisco-based Quicknet Technologies
and its product, Internet PhoneJack.
“The Internet phone stuff is hot,” said Cotton. “Why pay 25 yen a minute (21 cents) when with the
right hardware and software you can pay 11-17 yen a minute.” (10-15 cents).
Telephony hardware can be used PC to PC, PC to phone, or phone to
phone, with the high-end varying from Nortel Networks’ enterprise-class
system to the user-friendly Internet PhoneJack ISA card, retailing at
“The big guys are pushing their product for thousands of dollars and you
need an engineer to install it. For this only a PC,” added Cotton.
A PC is needed in addition to Internet telephony software (like PhoneJACK, Net2Phone, Internet
Phone, or NetMeeting) and, of course, a phone.
Internet telephony is not only growing in convenience but also improving in sound quality.
“I first tried an Internet phone call with a friend in Taiwan over three
years ago and there was something like a 30-second delay,” said Cotton.
“Things have come a long way since then. I often have calls so clear and
with so little delay that I have to look down at the phone to convince
myself that I’m using the Internet.”
Quality that also may have benefited from his use of NTT’s OCN (open
computer network) and its everyday, 24-hour, 128-kbit access to the
Internet for 38,000 yen ($327) per month.
It’s not for everyone, he acknowledges, as it does involve a 32-page application process prior to
“They plan on selling the 3.0 version of their software for around 30
bucks. If it works as good as it did when I tested it, then it’s simply
going to be amazing,” he said.
Quicknet Technologies also offers Internet LineJACK, a multi-line gateway
for homes or small businesses.