050 Area Code for VoIP in Japan

Japan’s initiation of the 050 area code for seamless VoIP already has over 8 million numbers passed onto telcos vying for the new area code. Another solid indication of VoIP going mainstream.

BB Phone have secured the lion’s share of the numbers.

Here is the press release from October 2003…

“Yahoo! BB” Comprehensive Broadband Service Progress Report
(as of the end of September 2003)
IP Telephony Service “BB Phone” Users Exceed Three Million Mark*

*Preliminary figures

October 7, 2003

SOFTBANK CORP. reports the progress of “Yahoo! BB” comprehensive broadband service jointly provided by wholly owned subsidiary, SOFTBANK BB Corp. (Head office: Chuo-ku, Tokyo; President & CEO: Masayoshi Son; “SOFTBANK BB”) and Yahoo Japan Corporation (Head office: Minato-ku, Tokyo; President & CEO: Masahiro Inoue; Security Code: 4689).

End of September 2003 >> Monthly increase
Number of Yahoo! BB lines installed Approx.3,248,000 >> Approx.155,000
Number of BB phone users* Approx.2,989,000 >> Approx. 161,000
Number of central offices ready for service 2,330 >> 142

* The number of BB phone users is based on those users whose registration is completed for BB phone service

The preliminary figure as of October 3 shows that the number of IP telephony service “BB Phone” users has topped the three million mark.

“BB Phone” is an IP telephone service using Yahoo! BB’s network constructed by SOFTBANK BB. Commercial service was launched on April 25, 2002 and by the end of November, approximately seven months later the number of users exceeded the one million mark. About one year after the launch of ”BB Phone” service in April 2003 the number of users broke the two million mark, and around six months later the number has topped three million. “BB Phone” has enjoyed extraordinarily fast expansion and a reputation for its highly convenient service for a number of reasons. The service offers bargain price charges. Calls between “BB Phone” users are free of charge, and domestic calls to fixed-line telephones either local or long distance cost ¥7.5 per three minutes, and calls to the US mainland cost ¥2.5 per minute. Complicated installation for the service is not necessary and the same number as the current fixed-line telephone number can be used. “BB Phone” presently has the largest number of users among domestic IP telephone service providers.

The SOFTBANK Group wishes to make a social contribution by providing innovative broadband telecommunications infrastructure and services that enrich the means of human communication.

* Calls from “BB Phone” to special numbers such as 110 or 119 will be automatically rerouted to a fixed-line and can be connected in the same way as an ordinary fixed-line telephone.
* “BB Phone” is able to offer bargain price charges, also enables calls to fixed-line telephones and other calls by routing calls through “Yahoo! BB’s” IP network.
Calls from a fixed-line telephone to “BB Phone” use NIPPON TELEGRAPH

Click here for the entire article from the Red Herring.

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