The .tel domain differs from other TLDs in that it links directly to content and information stored on the Domain Name Server rather than storing IP addresses for web servers.
Registry firm Telnic hopes that the new domain will compete with directory enquiry services by building up an internet directory of business and individual user contact information.
It will allow domain name holders to publish contact details, links and keywords to the internet under their own domain in real time, in a format that can be viewed on any device and only by those given permission to do so.
The sunrise period, which will last until 2 February 2009, is open to all trademark holders, with names allocated on a first-come first-served basis.
".tel is very innovative and offers brand owners a new way of communicating with customers, and we hope that companies take advantage of this opportunity to register their domain," said Nick Wood, managing director of registrar Com Laude.
"Based on the level of interest we're already seeing, we believe .tel is going to be very popular with brand owners."
Top level .tel domain launches today
By Phil Muncaster on Dec 4, 2008 6:41AM