Three students at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology have launched a telecom venture to provide free long distance phone calls.

Synqh Telecom offers free calls from Calgary to Canada, the United States and India.

Sutej Bath, one of the company founders, says the idea started out as a final project for an assignment at SAIT.

"We got a really good response and we thought this is something we could commercialize," said Bath.

Customers sign up for the service online and receive an access number.

Once they enter the access number and then the destination phone number, callers must listen to a 15-second commercial before the call goes through.

Calls will be limited to a half hour per login.

Confident entrepreneurs

The company founders are confident their telecom venture will succeed.

Bath says it's attractive because there are no fees, no contracts and can be used on a landline or a cell.

He says it's aimed at the South Asian market, which the founders are very familiar with.

"We guys, all of us, we like free stuff."

So far the venture has attracted seven advertising companies.

The telecom is now looking to expand, including calls made from Edmonton and Vancouver.