US-based Internet phone firm unveils global calling plan

US-based Internet phone company SunRocket will introduce a calling plan with unlimited calls to about 35 countries for $25 a month, lowering the bar even further in the price wars that have unnerved investors about the young industry's long-term viability, an Associated Press report said.

The report said the plan included unlimited calls to any landline anywhere in about 30 countries, regardless of whether it was over a traditional phone or another Internet service, plus 10 cities located in other countries.

As with most competing services, calls to mobile phones in the listed countries would still cost extra, with the per-minute rate ranging from $0.03 in many cases to $0.30 at the high end, the report said.

The new plan comes at the heels of the highly disappointing stock debut by industry leader Vonage Holdings.

SunRocket, one of the industry's feisty upstarts, has doubled its subscriber base to 130,000 customers over the past four months with a service offering unlimited calls within the US and Canada for $199 a year.

The report said that broken down, that plan would cost about $17 a month, or $8 less than the $25 that Vonage charged for a similar unlimited service that also included calls to five European countries.

The international SunRocket plan, priced at $299 a year, included calls to landlines throughout these countries: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan and the UK, among others.

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Business

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Hong Kong\'s Li sells stake in PCCW for $1.2b

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Richard Li, whose father is
Hong Kong\n\'s most prominent business tycoon, announced the sale of a 23% stake in leading local fixed-line operator PCCW, aborting his failed attempt to transform a traditional phone company into a regional Internet powerhouse, an Associated Press report said.\n

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The Associated Press reports said Li also dashed hopes of a possible sale of PCCW\'s assets to Australia\n\'s Macquarie Bank or US investment firm Texas Pacific Group and its Asia-focused unit, Newbridge, amid opposition by a Chinese shareholder.\n

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Li said that he would sell his 23% stake in PCCW to financier Francis Leung. Leung said he had signed an agreement to acquire the 22.7% stake in PCCW held by Singapore-listed Pacific Century Regional Developments (PCRD) at HK$6 ($0.77) a share for a total of HK$9.16 billion ($1.2 billion), the report said.\n

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Pacific Century Regional Developments is 75% held by Pacific Century Group Holdings, which is wholly owned by Li.

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Li, who will keep a privately held 3% stake, said he plans to step down as the company\'s chairman when PCRD receives its first 30% down payment, which he said he expects to be no later than November 30.\n',1]);//-->

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