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Several factors have spurred the explosive growth of VoIP phone use in China, including customer incentives such as improved voice quality and lower cost per call, and provider incentives such as higher profits and upgrade paths to next-generation technologies. The voice over Internet protocol, also called IP telephony, offers a new type of service that uses the Internet protocol, intranets, and extranets to deliver voice information. In contrast to traditional telephone services, which operate through a circuit-switched network, VoIP uses a packet-switched network. This distinction results in differences in implementation, quality of service (QoS), and operating costs. Since the service was introduced to the public in China in April 1999, VoIP toll telephone traffic has increased with astonishing speed. By the end of 2002, VoIP toll telephone traffic had surpassed traditional toll telephone traffic in China in both domestic longdistance and international call areas, including phone calls to and from Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.