A Toronto-based long distance reseller is expanding its services across the country with the hope of gaining significant market share and propelling it to the top of the telecom market. YAK Communications (Canada) Inc. has both a regular LD rate-per-minute offering in most of the country and a flat-rate discount product rolling out in selected cities. The company recently unveiled its LooneyCall LD discount program in Ottawa after introducing the plan in Toronto late last year and in Montreal last month (NL, March 17/03). Its primary dial-around service is available from B.C. to Quebec, with expansion eastward expected soon. "Within 120 days, we will be in Atlantic Canada," president/CEO Charles Zwebner promises Network Letter. The company expects to ink a third-party billing deal with Aliant Telecom Inc. at that time.The basic dial-around service permits subscribers to use a seven-digit code, connecting them with the YAK network. Rates to locations in Canada and the United States are five cents per minute. Calls to other major nations such as Portugal, the United Kingdom, Ireland and France cost nine cents per minute. Of the 221 destinations listed on the company’s web site, only two – Cuba and Zanzibar – have rates exceeding $1 per minute. (Connecting to the International Mobile Satellite Organization (Inmarsat) network costs $10 per minute.) Indeed, YAK prides itself on offering service to the four corners of the world. Some of the places it reaches, like Diego Garcia, Suriname and Wallis & Futuna, would not be known to anyone outside of geography majors. The company sees great promise in the international market. It hopes to be offering dial-around service from other countries through its North American network before the end of the year. Zwebner is reluctant to discuss details, since YAK trades on the NASDAQ OTC board, but indicates subscribers in other nations will be able to connect to the Toronto network to have their calls routed to different parts of the globe. He would not reveal rates or other detailed information. The four-year-old reseller is excited about its LooneyCall service. Customers use a seven-digit code, different from the basic service number, to log on to the $1-per-30-minutes product. The company offers the discounted LD rate to locations across North America. Calls to countries like Italy, Scotland and Greece cost $1 for 20 minutes. The company also offers calls to cities like Moscow, Buenos Aires, and Rio di Janeiro and to nations like Austria, Taiwan and Chile for $1 for six minutes. After callers pass the initial LooneyCall rate period, the calls switch to the per-minute rate. Zwebner finds an enthusiastic market for the flat-rate service. A major focus has been in major cities with large ethnic communities. This clientele is more likely to want extended LD service."There are people who get on the phone and love to talk for one or two hours," the YAK president/CEO notes. "This is a perfect fit for them." He has prior experience in dealing with the ethnic market, having founded CardCaller Canada Inc. before creating YAK. CardCaller offered fixed amount prepaid, multilingual calling cards. It was sold to an American firm in 1997, several months before YAK was founded.Zwebner brags that his firm is able to attract clients without resorting to registration charges or monthly fees. (It does feature a promotional tie-in with Air Transat of Montreal, offering a monthly draw for a trip for two.) YAK has third-party billing agreements with most of the major ILECs in the country. Zwebner does not feel threatened by the CRTC’s drive to promote facilities-based competition. He intends to keep YAK at the forefront of the industry, rolling out new products and services as demanded."It will be interesting to see what the network looks like in 2004," he offers. "We’re looking ahead to see where we’ll be in 2004, 2005."