Priceline.com this week added long distance to its rapidly growing product line.
The company late Wednesday unveiled Priceline Long Distance, a wholly-owned priceline.com
subsidiary, that claims it can save callers up to 40 percent on standard base rates
on domestic and international long-distance calls.
, which agreed to participate in the program
last year, signed up more than 10,000 customers in its beta test. ZeroPlus.com
signed on Thursday. In total, the three IP telephony companies account for the majority of all IP telephone calls from the U.S.
The new service differs from traditional calling programs in that
customers go to priceline.com and set the price they
would be willing to pay per-minute for a block of calling time. A database
search determines if an offer can be accepted.
When a customer’s offer is accepted, an e-mail is sent with the name of
the provider that will supply service. To place calls using purchased
minutes, the customer dials an access number, enters a four-digit personal
identification number (PIN) and completes the call.
The service was created to embrace the fast-growing segment of the
telecommunications market, said Daniel H. Schulman, president and chief
executive officer of priceline.com.
now has the technology, quality and reliability to attract broad consumer
and small business appeal,” he said. “The time has come for IP telephony to
go mass-market. We will leverage our brand-recognition and marketing
expertise to accomplish that goal. We are providing a service with no
surcharges, hidden fees, membership costs or minimum call times.”
As part of the three-year marketing agreements with Net2Phone,
ZeroPlus.com, deltathree.com and other IP telephony companies, Priceline Long Distance
also receives multi-million-dollar participation fees from participating
The program rolled out with a nationwide TV ad campaign
featuring singing spokesman William Shatner.