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Vonage, Cisco team up in Wi-Fi giveaway

People who sign up for Net telephony from Vonage will be able to turn in their old wireless access points for new ones.

In a bid to attract more subscribers, Net phone operator Vonage announced Monday that it's giving away Linksys Wi-Fi access points to U.S. residents who sign up for Vonage calling plans by July 23.

Purchase of the Linksys model number WRTP54G, which costs about $130, is required; then Vonage will distribute rebates to people who sign up for its phone service and trade in old wireless routers, Vonage said.

A Wi-Fi access point, which showers 300-foot-long zones with wirelessly available Internet access, isn't necessary to use VoIP; rather, any wired cable modem or digital subscriber line will do.

Still, Wi-Fi makes a VoIP service more attractive because subscribers can make calls from anywhere in a home or office, rather than being limited to just a few phones outfitted with special adapters.

With the new tactic, Vonage is going beyond the standard practice of giving away telephone adapters required to make VoIP calls using regular home phones.

"As more Americans are moving to wireless networks, they can start getting more for their communications dollar," Vonage said in a statement.