A court case between Annette Presley and CallPlus, the telco she cofounded with estranged partner Malcolm Dick in 1996, kicked off in the High Court in Auckland on Thursday.
Ms Presley sought leave to bring an action on behalf of CallPlus against Mr Dick and fellow director Martin Wylie, alleging they breached their fiduciary duty last year by establishing an Internet telephony company, 2Talk, in competition to CallPlus, of which she still owns 42 per cent. The application was set down for further consideration.
It is understood some staff previously employed by CallPlus now work for 2Talk and that 2Talk has been given the right to use CallPlus' billing software without charge, but in return for sharing any enhancements it makes to the software. 2Talk will pay to use CallPlus' network.
2Talk will compete with international voice-over-IP providers such as Skype and Jajah. Customers make cheap calls over broadband connections using a 'soft phone' that can be installed on their PC, notebook computer or WiFi capable mobile. National toll calls cost 2 to 5 cents a minute and calls to New Zealand mobiles 25 cents a minute.
Customers can get an '028' mobile number for their account, so people can also call them, but at standard mobile rates. Chief technology officer Ray Jackson says a few hundred people have signed up for the service, since it was launched without fanfare at the end of May. "Obviously we are looking to get much bigger than that and sign up thousands."
The company fixed a routing error last week that meant Wellingtonians and others in the 04 calling region could not access a demonstration of the service on the company's website. The Jajah-like demo, which Mr Jackson admits is a "bit of a gimmick", lets people make free one-minute calls between New Zealand landlines.
Mr Jackson said the problem, which was fixed minutes after he was alerted to it by NZ InfoTech, was caused by a typo in 2Talk's software.
- The Dominion Post