Dual VoIP/Wi-Fi phone for Vonage clients

Vonage Holdings Corp.’s VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) customers will be able to get calls in areas covered by Wi-Fi hotspots after the release Tuesday of a combination VOIP/Wi-Fi phone.

Vonage subsidiary Vonage Marketing and partner UTStarcom Inc. released the F1000 portable phone handset, which is configured with Vonage’s VOIP service. The F1000, available on Vonage.com, will sell for US $79.99 after a $50 instant rebate, Vonage said.

The new phone will allow Vonage customers to detach from broadband wirelines and wander in Wi-Fi hotspots, said Louis Holder, executive vice president of product development for Vonage Holdings Corp.

“The idea is to give customers more choices … to go with their Vonage service,” Holder said. “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, Holder said. 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, Vonage said.

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