Polish voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) providers FreecoNet and Tlenofon have merged to form a strong new player in the country’s IP telephony sector, according to TMCNet. The combining of FreecoNet – focused on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – with Tlenofon, which concentrates on the residential market, is the latest in a consolidation process initiated by FreecoNet, which took over a rival VoIP platform, fon24.pl, including 26 smaller operators, in March 2009. According to the report, the newly enlarged operator – temporarily named FreecoNet Tlenofon – estimates that it has around 70,000 active customers, or a share of nearly 40% of the Polish ‘pure VoIP’ market of around 200,000 subscribers. ‘The potential of our enterprises after the merger will make it easier to perform further acquisitions,’ said Jan Wyrwinski, CEO of FreecoNet Tlenofon, adding that the country’s number of business VoIP customers in 2009 grew at an average monthly rate of 8%, whilst internet telephony ‘is also gaining more and more confidence among individual customers.’ FreecoNet recently announced it had become the first operator in Poland to offer HD Voice, without any additional charges. ‘With such an advanced offer we are going to prove tough competitors to traditional telecoms,’ stated Wyrwinski. Further underlining the increasing popularity of VoIP, the same report notes that worldwide operator Skype estimates the number of its Polish users at about four million. The owner of Tlenofon’s VoIP platform is Warsaw-based o2 Group, also owner of the o2.pl internet portal, which, after the merger with FreecoNet is completed, plans to concentrate on media sector activites.