Jajah to handle voice calling in Yahoo Messenger

In a move that could greatly expand the customer base of the growing voice over IP provider, Jajah has inked a deal to power the calling features in Yahoo's Messenger client.

Yahoo is making use of Jajah's new Managed Services offering, in which companies can outsource their Internet calls through Jajah's. Jajah handles the infrastructure, customer service and payments, taking a cut of revenues in the process.

Handling calls for other companies is an expansion of Jajah's primary service, which lets users enter two phone numbers that the company then calls and connects using the Internet. In turn, Jajah claims to save its customers 98% on international calls, and boasts 10 million users, although it's not clear if all of them are active.

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Yahoo! Messenger currently counts 97 million users, but the company hasn't said how many signed up for the calling features, which were introduced three years ago in version 7. Yahoo was charging $2.49 USD for a phone number that could be used for incoming calls, and outbound calling rates started at 1 cent per minute for the US.

Jajah plans to keep the same pricing when it takes over the service. Future releases of Yahoo! Messenger will likely feature the Jajah logo, helping to raise its status in the industry.

The company is also talking to other potential partners (it currently works with dating site eHarmony), including mobile phone operators, about handling their VoIP infrastructure. T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom is an investor in Jajah, which relocated from Austria to Google's hometown of Mountain View, California.

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