The San Jose Mercury News broke this story today about Yahoo! planning to launch a VoIP platform that will allow users to make PC-to-PSTN (landline) calls and receive calls from any telephone line around the world for a fee.
Its previous free voice service, by comparison, was integrated with Yahoo! Messenger and allowed users to make PC-to-PC calls only. This puts Yahoo! in competition with Google Talk as well as Skype, as the service will be similar to the latter’s SkypeOut and SkypeIn paid services. Yahoo!’s service will reportedly undercut Skype on price, given the size of its user base and its ability to negotiate low rates for minutes with phone companies.
Most notably, the ability to call PSTN lines from a PC gets Yahoo! a step closer to a pay-per-phone-call model, which it is known to be testing. A more in-depth analysis will follow in the next Local Media Journal.