Imagine this: You’re a subscriber to Vonage’s voice over IP telephone service, which you use in your office via a high speed Internet connection. Now you are at an airport using a WiFi connection on your notebook computer via the Boingo wireless service. Furthermore, you can use the XPRO SoftPhone to make a voice call via your notebook through your wireless connection onto Vonage’s telephone network. It’s amazing.
Here’s more…Boingo Wireless and Vonage Holdings Corp., today announced a relationship that teams two industry innovators in an effort to simplify voice over Wi-Fi services and make them more accessible to customers.
In the first phase of their partnership, the companies have agreed to co-market a service bundle that includes Vonage’s SoftPhone service and Boingo’s Wi-Fi service. The XPRO SoftPhone, from XTEN, the preferred Softphone Client utilized by Vonage is available for personal computers running Windows 98SE/NT/ME/2000/XP/MACOS-X operating systems. Mobile travelers using this product can access the Vonage service from almost any Internet connected personal computer. It provides increased mobility of the Vonage service, while maintaining the same quality of service consumers have come to expect from Vonage.
This offering targets business travelers, enabling them to make and take phone calls at Boingo’s network of 11,000 airports, cafes, and hotels around the world. The companies will conduct a trial before the end of the year and expect to rollout the offering to major retail locations where consumers can now purchase the Vonage service.
“History has shown that adding mobility to any type of communications has proven to be a winning combination and I think we are on the verge of that happening again with VoIP,” said Peter Barris, managing general partner of New Enterprise Associates and a board member for both Boingo and Vonage. “With these two demonstrated innovators in partnership, the market prospects become a lot brighter.”
“VoIP is causing a paradigm shift in the telecom world because it offers a new level of value and features to anyone with a broadband connection. Adding mobility to this bundle will help to make it compelling to a new audience,” said Jeffrey A. Citron, president and CEO of Vonage Holdings Corp. “Our ability to plug the Vonage solution into Boingo’s massive Wi-Fi network makes our service even more useful to customers.”
“For Wi-Fi to really change the world it needs to spread to every device that uses information — from phones to portable game machines to MP3 players. Boingo is the leader in simplifying Wi-Fi connectivity and is aggregating the world’s largest network of hot spots. We will start leveraging this leadership by enabling Vonage to add a worldwide Wi-Fi network to its soft phone VoIP service,” said Sky Dayton, Boingo founder and CEO. “Our next step is to work with the manufacturers to integrate our device software into Wi-Fi-ready phones. VoIP will be a key driver in spreading Wi-Fi to non-PC devices, and as the pioneering company bringing VoIP to the masses, Vonage is a perfect partner to have in this endeavor.”
Wireless VoIP is an outgrowth of the dramatic success of enterprise and consumer VoIP services, which shuttle telephone calls across the Internet rather than using the traditional circuit-switched telephone network. Analysts estimate that growth in wireless VoIP will be spurred on by the growth of public Wi-Fi networks and the availability of Wi-Fi enabled phones due to hit the market by the end of the year.
The Vonage agreement is the first step in Boingo’s comprehensive VoIP strategy, integrating a new class of device software into non-PC devices like mobile phones to login and authenticate onto any of the thousands of hot spots in the Boingo(R) Roaming System. The device software provides essential Wi-Fi services including signal sniffing, authentication, network selection, and profile management — and can be private labeled for major service providers.
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