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VoIP numbers game heats up

VoIP service provider My Net Fone (ASX: MNF) has doubled to 20,000 the number of paying subscribers since its IPO in May, and iiNet (ASX: IIN) announced earlier this week that it had 40,000 paying customers.

My Net Fone's announcements follow that of Engin (ASX: ENG) earlier this month of 49,000 with ARPU of $30 per month. Engin said it was on track to reach 100,000 by June 2007. These numbers are, however dwarfed by Freshtel which had 351,000 at June 30 2006. Most of these, however are in the UK.

There is little data available on the overall VoIP market in Australia. Market research firm Market Clarity is finalising and correlating its primary research and intends to have information available before the end of the year, according to CEO Shara Evans. However she cautioned that comparisons on numbers alone were not always meaningful because of the differing business models: from companies such as Engin that use the public Internet, to iiNet which provides services over its own DSLAM network, to wholesale only companies such as ISPhone and operators of IP centrex services such as ValueNet.

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