Serome Technologies, a partial owner of Dialpad.com, based in Seoul, pays Korea's Hannaro Telecom for access to its national network of fiber-optic telephone lines. The digital signals from the Internet are converted to analogue phone signals and vice versa.
Dialpad pays Hannaro a fraction of a cent for each call made. Like the U.S. operation, Dialpad earns money from banner ads on its site.
Dialpad plans to expand its service to eight more countries this year, including Hong Kong, Japan and Australia.
The sound quality is equivalent to a cellular phone but sometimes cuts out or scrambles. Nevertheless, dialpad.com gained 1.37 million registered users in the first two months after its U.S. launch on Oct. 18 last year. GTE Internetworking provides Dialpad access to local phone networks in the U.S.
Dialpad says it hasn't received any complaints yet from traditional long-distance carriers.
Copyright January 2000, Crain Communications Inc.