Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Boston.com / Business / Technology / iBasis to offer free calls

Boston.com / Business / Technology / iBasis to offer free calls "iBasis Inc., a Burlington company that has become a major behind-the-scenes wholesale carrier of international phone calls over the Internet for big phone companies like AT&T Corp. and Sprint, is launching its first direct consumer service with a splashy promotion: 1 million minutes of free phone calls for the first customers who sign up.
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To market the consumer service, iBasis has set up a new website called Pingo.com, similar to other so-called "virtual calling card" sites. Using a credit card, people can buy prepaid minutes online that they can use to make international calls by entering a personal identification code, as if they had bought a prepaid calling card with a printed number at a store. Users are charged a 98-cent-a-month service fee, in addition to the cost of calls, and surcharges for calls made from payphones.
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Since it was founded eight years ago, iBasis has handled more than 9 billion minutes of Internet-based phone calls for big US carriers and international giants including Cable & Wireless, China Unicom, and Telefonica. It is now one of the 10 largest carriers of international traffic in the world. After completing a major financial restructuring earlier this year, iBasis stock -- which went from over $80 in March 2000 to penny-stock status three years later -- has bounced back to close at $2.12 yesterday."
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