Feeds

Vonage offers VoIP mobile phone

Asia, Latin America most promising

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

Voice over IP pioneer Vonage is to market a mobile phone handset for around $100, the company announced today. Existing subscribers may be offered the handset, the F1000, for free. The handset could be used at Wi-Fi hotspots, but given the chaotic state of the infant Wi-Fi market - with a paucity of hotspots and few roaming agreements - Vonage's moby is more likely to take the place of the cordless home handset. Hutchison's Rabbit venture was intended to bring low cost mobile telephony to the masses ahead of the general availability of GSM, but even with many more hotspots, failed to catch on.

Mobile VoIP also faces other hurdles. Many potential customers in the affluent West already have a mobile phone and thanks to number of useful services being added to the platform, such as billing, are unlikely to relinquish it, or carry two phones. And regulators have failed to tackle 'virtualizing' phone numbers. Just as internet email doesn't require the sender to know the recipient's IP address (there may be several); phone users can only guarantee being reached by jumping through some hoops and setting up their own forwarding arrangements. More pressing technical issues, such as termination and billing must first be resolved, and the UMA (Unlicensed Mobile Access) alliance, which includes Motorola, BT and Ericsson, is addressing some of these.

For developing markets, there may be hope for a Wi-Fi or WiMAX based mobile phone, and Vonage's partner UTStarcom mentioned Asia and Latin America in the announcement today.

Nevertheless, almost every telco company is attempting a converged fixed/mobile service of some kind - and Wi-Fi plays a part in all of these efforts. BT's Bluephone is the most conspicuous of these, expected this spring. But don't hold your breath if you're expecting Skype-style pricing. "Calls will be charged at mobile rates unless BT decides to offer a discount," a spokesman for the telco told The Register last year.

Vonage's F1000 will be available in the spring/summer. ®

Related stories

BT's batphone swoops closer
Calling a BT Bluephone could cost you dear
BT, Voda confirm mobile link-up
Public Wi-Fi still has look and feel of dead duck
Appeals court tells state to keep hands off VoIP
Vonage: recipe for success?
Verizon launches VoiceWing Net phones

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Blockbuster book lays out the first 20 years of the Smartphone Wars
Symbian's David Wood bares all. Not for the faint hearted
'Serious flaws in the Vertigan report' says broadband boffin
Report 'fails reality test' , is 'simply wrong' and offers ''convenient' justification for FTTN says Rod Tucker
This flashlight app requires: Your contacts list, identity, access to your camera...
Who us, dodgy? Vast majority of mobile apps fail privacy test
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.