04:46 PM

International Cell-Phone Calls Could Get Cheaper

MobileSphere rolled out software and services that it says lets cell-phone operators and wireless carriers offer affordable international calling plans to their subscribers.

Cell phones are rapidly replacing wired lines for calls within the U.S., but high charges have kept people from using them much for international calls. MobileSphere, a wireless communications vendor, is working to change that. The company rolled out software and services for cell-phone operators and wireless carriers today that it says lets them offer affordable international calling plans to their subscribers.

MobileSphere's newly-launched CarrierILD service combines proprietary soft-switch technology and a global Tier 1 network of long-distance providers like MCI and Qwest. The service includes discounted international calling to more than 220 countries, Web-based provisioning, billing, anti-fraud control and usage monitoring, says the company.

Over the past four years, MobileSphere has been providing international long-distance calling services to businesses, consumers, service providers, and universities, including MIT, Harvard, and Ohio State. CarrierILD was developed specifically for mobile virtual network operators (MVNO), like Virgin Mobile, and wireless carriers, so they can offer affordable long-distance calling to their customers, says MobileSphere.

The potential impact on mobile users could be significantly lower international rates, some as low as five cents per minute, as opposed to international rates that typically run around $1.50 a minute, says MobileSphere. MobileSphere did not disclose its initial customers for the service.

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