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Japanese Skype Users to Top 8 M. by Year-End: Official

Tokyo, Aug 24, 2007 (Jiji Press) - The number of Japanese users of Skype Ltd.'s peer-to-peer Internet telephony network will exceed 8 million by the year-end, Shinichi Iwata, general manager of Skype's Japanese office, said Friday.

The number of registered users in Japan totaled 5.7 million at the end of July, and the figure is currently increasing by 9,000-11,000 daily, Iwata told a news conference.

At the end of June, the total number of registered users worldwide reached 220 million, he said.

Skype, a Luxemburg-based unit of U.S. Internet auction service firm eBay Inc., allows registered users to call other users from their computers free of charge. Software for the service is also provided free.

In the fee-based premium service, offered in Japan by Fusion Communications Corp., users can get Internet Protocol phone numbers.

Iwata said that Fusion's service will remain the same even though its parent company has changed to Internet shopping mall operator Rakuten Inc. <4755> from Tokyo Electric Power Co. <9501>.

By Jiji Press, (c) Jiji Press

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