Vonage has produced a combined VoIP and Wi-Fi phone, letting customers make calls in areas covered by wireless hotspots.
The company has partnered with UTStarcom to develop the F1000 portable phone handset, configured with Vonage's VoIP service. The F1000 can be bought form Vonage's website for $79.99 with a $50 instant rebate.
The new phone will let Vonage customers use their phones away from broadband connections, making it far more portable. "The idea is to give customers more choices," said Louis Holder, VP of product development. "It's like a portable phone - they can put it in their pockets and walk around."
Vonage expects that the phones will get the most use with home or work Wi-Fi networks, as well as open Wi-Fi hotspots in places such as college campuses. If customers wish, they can assign their home telephone number to the Wi-Fi phone and have the number follow them wherever they take the phone.
Some customers may also use the phones on pay-for-service wireless networks in places like coffee shops, Holder said. Vonage also expects the phones to be popular in cities that have wide-range municipal wireless networks, he said.
The F1000 Wi-Fi handset will be configured with Vonage’s standard call features: three-way calling, call waiting, repeat dial on busy, call forwarding, voice mail, caller ID and others. It will include silent and vibrate ring as well as selectable ring tones. The phone's battery will accommodate up to five hours of talk time, 50 hours to 100 hours of standby, and it can be recharged in two to three hours.