Turning Hotspots Into VoIP Phone Booths

by Colin C. Haley

Vonage and UTStarcom team to help VoIP users on the go.

Vonage subscribers can now make calls from hotspots with a new UTStarcom Wi-Fi phone.

The VoIP leader and networking vendor today introduced a portable Wi-Fi handset configured with Vonage's Voice over IP phone service.

The F1000 phone is designed to give callers the convenience of a cell phone without the costs of traditional carriers. It has standard Vonage features including three-way calling, voicemail and Caller ID and users can configure and save Wi-Fi profiles to connect to access points easily.

Among other features, the F1000 has over five hours of talk time, 50 to 100 hours of standby and the ability to recharge in two to three hours. Vonage is selling the phone for $79.99 (the price includes a $50 rebate) on Vonage's Web site.

Asked about expanding F1000 sales to the VoIP firm's retail partners, Vonage spokesman Mitchell Slepian said "sales will be monitored closely to determine other sales channels."

Vonage is initially focusing on the UTStarcom phone,but is "always open to offering our customers new products," Slepian said.

The launch comes nearly a year after companies first announced a partnership in January. UTStarcom believes that teaming with Vonage, which has more than 1 million subscribers, will help increase its presence.

Bill Huang, CTO and senior vice president of engineering, said in a statement: "Consumers with Wi-Fi access in their home can replace their traditional home phone with the F1000 and start reaping the benefits of wireless VoIP phone service right away."

This article was originally published on Tuesday Dec 13th 2005