by CIO Staff

Yahoo to Offer Internet Telephony in India

Nov 06, 20063 mins

Yahoo has received permission from the Indian government to offer Internet telephony services from the country. The clearance will enable Yahoo to offer voice services for users in India of its instant messenger, a spokeswoman for Yahoo India said.

Yahoo, of Sunnyvale, Calif., already has a subsidiary in India, but is setting up another company, Yahoo Internet Communications India, to offer Internet telephony, the spokeswoman said on Monday.

The clearance will allow Yahoo India to offer Indian users of its site services like Internet telephony that it offers users in other markets, the spokeswoman said. Internet telephony has emerged as a large revenue opportunity in India, because of the large number of Indians working abroad in countries like the United States.

The move by Yahoo comes ahead of plans by AOL to offer services in India. AOL will introduce Web-based services such as Internet telephony and instant messaging in India shortly, a spokesman for AOL India said on Monday. The spokesman did not give a date for the launch of these services. AOL already does software development, runs its networks and supports customers from its operations in India.

A large number of portals are targeting India because of its growing number of Internet users. The number of Internet users in India reached 37 million in September, up from 33 million in March, according to joint research by the Internet and Mobile Association of India in Mumbai and market research firm IMRB International, also in Mumbai. The number of active users who have used the Internet at least once in the past 30 days has risen from 21.1 million in March to 25 million in September, according to the study.

Multinational Internet companies have focused on providing localized content and tools for Indian users. Yahoo, for example, last month launched plug-ins that allow users to chat on Yahoo Messenger in key Indian languages.

As the competition between portals heats up, it has spilled over into police stations as well. Sify, which runs a portal called, on Saturday lodged a complaint with the police in Mumbai that key Yahoo executives had entered under false pretenses a fashion show that was co-sponsored by Sify, and taken photographs there. The Yahoo spokeswoman said the charges were baseless, and the Yahoo executives were not present at the show.

-John Ribeiro, IDG News Service (Bangalore Bureau)

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