Feeds

Vonage offers VoIP mobile phone

Asia, Latin America most promising

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Security for virtualized datacentres

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

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.