With 1.5 million people now signed up to use Skype’s VoIP calling services, Taiwan’s leading telcos are finally waking up to the threat posed by internet telephony services. Chunghwa Telecom, which saw long-distance and overseas call revenues drop by 12% and 2% in Q3 2004, compared with Q3 2003, has yet to launch a consumer VoIP package but is monitoring the situation closely, while alternative operators sparq* and Eastern Broadband Telecom are seeking partners to provide online calls services. However, the operators will have to move quickly. PChome, which introduced the Skype service nine months ago, expects to double its user base to three million by the end of 2005.
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