Internet provider to enter long-distance phone foray

Internet access provider Rimnet Corp. will join the heated competition among common Japanese carriers by launching long-distance telephone services via the Internet on April 21.Unlike other Internet phone services, Rimnet will not require users to have personal computers and application software to talk over the Internet. All customers will need is a telephone connected to a regular telephone line and a password to access the firm’s Internet servers, company officials said.The new service will ensure better sound quality and smoother connections than rival Internet phone services, the officials said. The charge for a three-minute call will be set at 60 yen, regardless of distance. That is much lower than Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp.’s current charge of 110 yen for a three-minute daytime call to locations more than 100 km away. Rimnet will initially provide the service to its current Internet access users in Tokyo, Osaka, Sapporo and Fukuoka, charging an initial fee of 2,000 yen.