Vonage is going to launch a new service for its subscribers that will allow them to use WiFi networks to make phone calls.
WiFi networks are not nearly as available as cellular phone networks but WiFi “hotspots” are growing in major business centers such as StarBucks, Kinkos, airports, college campuses and other locations.
USA Today writes Several smaller companies have introduced Wi-Fi phones in the USA at prices ranging from $130 to $750. But Vonage’s move would mark the first mass-market rollout of the device at a lower price, probably around $100.
Vonage will offer the phones to its 400,000 subscribers, who typically pay $24.99 a month for unlimited local and long-distance calls. Those customers plug a regular phone into an adapter linked to a broadband Internet line. Vonage turns the calls into data that zip across the Internet before being converted back to voice at the other end.
Now, Vonage wants to take the service a step further with Wi-Fi networks that let people surf the Internet wirelessly. With a Wi-Fi phone, they could make Internet calls from home without the need to run wires to the broadband line. Customers could use the phone number of their existing Vonage service or a new one for no extra fee.