By Craig Zammit and Adam Coleman

MELBOURNE: Australian Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) developer, Freshtel Holdings, has reported a $2.3 million loss in its recent half yearly report for the period ended, 31 December 2005.

While this figure represents a loss 143 per cent greater than that of the corresponding period last year, it does not reflect the progress the company has made in further establishing itself on a global scale.

According to the Freshtel directors’ report, the Melbourne-based company has made significant advances in product development and global commercialisation during the last six months.

Other positive signs for the company include an increase in revenue of 171 per cent to $698,000, with Freshtel subscribers increasing to approximately 270,000, of which 65,000 were from Australia.

The company has also recently created a strategic partnership with wireless broadband provider, Unwired, as well as launching the Firefly 2 software and being contracted to supply a ‘white label’ internet telephony service to UK’s largest retailer – Tesco PLC.

Freshtel also recently joined forces with Hong Kong-based Binatone to help bring internet telephony to the mass market. The company’s will co-develop, manufacture and distribute new-generation VoIP telephony to Binatone’s 44-country customer base, including Australia.

“The next telecom revolution is VoIP and we are determined to be instrumental in bringing it into the mainstream,” said Binatone founder and chairman, Gulu Lalvani.

“Complicated technology means talking over the internet is currently the domain of techies. Through this agreement, Binatone and Freshtel can herald a new era for voice over and cordless internet technology for all.”

The agreement will see Freshtel provide Binatone with the intellectual property required to manufacture VoIP hardware. Binatone will then assume responsibility for the funding, manufacture and distribution of the hardware to its existing customer base. Freshtel will receive a share of all sales revenue from the sale of hardware.

Binatone is distributed locally by Shriro Australia.