Colt has launched one of Europe's first Internet telephone services aimed at business.

The VoIP service is now available in 13 European countries (including the UK) for 44.50 euros per phone a month. It has two components: a monthly telephone service flat fee of 24.50 euros per phone, and a monthly phone rental flat fee of 20 euros.

In addition, businesses signing up for the new service pay a one-off installation fee per phone and agree to a three-year contract. Not included are calls made to mobiles, premium rate numbers and countries not covered by Colt, including the US, Japan and China.

Nevertheless, it is still ac good deal, Colt claimed. "According to our market research, businesses can reduce their telephone costs by as much as 20 percent with our VOIP service," a spokeswoman explained.

The service is a fully managed network-based service that provides all the functions and features of a PBX without requiring businesses to buy and operate equipment on their premises.

Calls are carried over corporate LANs using VoIP over MPLS (multi-protocol label switching) via 100BaseT or 1000BastT Ethernet, or DSL systems. Traffic is routed over Colt's fibre-optic network.