NEC Corp., KDDI Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co. and Japan Telecom Co. said Friday they have agreed to jointly offer an Internet Protocol-based phone service for individuals next spring.

The service will be available to subscribers of the four companies’ broadband Internet access services, such as their asymmetrical digital subscriber line high-speed Internet connection services, they said.

Of some 10 million subscribers to the four companies’ Internet access services — NEC’s Biglobe, KDDI’s Dion, Japan Telecom’s ODN and Matsushita’s hi-ho — about 1.45 million subscribe to broadband services.

The IP phone service will allow users to call each other free of charge via their IP phone networks, although a basic IP phone charge will be levied by the four, they said.

The four-way deal comes a day after Fujitsu Ltd., NTT Communications Corp. and Sony Corp. announced their Internet service providers have agreed to form an alliance to jointly offer IP phone services.

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