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Voice Over IP Goes Wireless

Boot Camp feature for Friday, July 30, 2004

Voice over IP goes wireless. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. The list of companies selling telephone service over high speed Internet connections continues to grow. Many cable companies have jumped into the business….as has the largest U.S. telephone company Verizon. AT&T says it will no longer sell regular residential phone service….but it will sell Voice over IP service. IP telephony pioneer Vonage…which now says it has more than 200 thousand subscribers…is trying to stay a step ahead of the competition…with a new phone that works over wireless Internet connections. Executive VP for Product Development Louis Holder…

"It's actually pretty cool. In addition to our existing service which uses a broadband connection to make phone calls, the WiFi phone will actually use a wireless connection to make that Internet connection. It comes in a little handheld device that you take with you…put it in your pocket. You can use it in Starbucks, your hotel.

While it sounds like a good idea…consumers may be reluctant to buy a phone with such a limited calling area…only working where there is WiFi. But Holder says eventually you'll see combination phones that work on WiFi…and traditional cell networks. How fast will voice over IP grow?

"This is the year when you will see it become real mainstream. The key is as more and more people learn about this technology and understand technology and we put more effort in marketing and educating customers. As soon as they hear about it, it's a no brainer. It makes sense."

And the competition promises to make it even more affordable. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.