Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/08/31/bye_bye_freetalk/

Freetalk shuts up

Vonage takeover accelerates VoIP consolidation

By Bill Ray

Posted in Networks, 31st August 2006 11:50 GMT

Vonage has taken over the distribution and customer base formally belonging to VoIP outfit Freetalk.

Freetalk was set up less than a year ago by DSG International Plc and has been flogging connections though its Dixons (or Currys, or Currys.digital, depending on when you look) High Street stores.

With its acquisition, Vonage will provide an adapter that allows customers to plug their normal phone handset into their broadband internet connection to make VoIP calls without needing a PC or any technical skills.

Vonage is the clear market leader in this space, and its deal with DSG means its kit will replace Freetalk's in Currys.digital, PC World, and the other stores owned by DSG International.

Current Freetalk customers have until 16 September to have their number transferred (by calling call 0808 178 3403). They will also need a different adapter, and a change of contract.

Vonage UK MD Kerry Ritz said existing customers have a number of options:

"Vonage respects the right of customers to choose a service provider. If a Freetalk customer wishes to cancel their contract, they just need to contact Freetalk's customer services at support@freetalk.co.uk who will ensure that their accounts are closed. Freetalk will inform the customer of any refund entitlement based upon the status of their account. All legacy accounts will be terminated on 19 September."

Consolidation is inevitable in a developing field such as VoIP, and while Skype tends to grab the headlines, many people shy away from their computer to communicate, so a viable stand-alone option is important to the industry. ®