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Vonage to take VoIP on the road

New phone will let consumers make VoIP calls from any Wi-Fi hot spot using a Vonage account. Photos: Vtech makes VoIP easier

Vonage Holdings will be the first Internet telephony provider to offer a new portable Wi-Fi phone that can make calls over any Wi-Fi hot spot.

UTStarcom on Tuesday announced that later this year, it will release the F1000, a portable phone that uses high-speed wireless hot spots. The handset uses voice over Internet Protocol--VoIP--technology to complete the call.

UTStarcom said the phone will be sold through service providers and operators, just like cell phones. Vonage will be the first operator to incorporate the new phone into its broadband service. Pricing was not released.

The company said it expects its major markets to be North America and South America, where many consumers already have Wi-Fi capability bundled into their home computers, since those consumers will be able to use the phone without additional equipment, it said.

Net telephony is gaining ground, even as traditional phone companies are embracing it. Phone makers and VoIP service providers are partnering to make Net telephony easy to use with new handset and service offerings.

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Separately Tuesday, phone maker VTech announced a VoIP broadband cordless phone, which is also configured with Vonage's broadband service. The phone features a terminal adapter built into the 5.8GHz model. It includes two handsets and one base station, and is expandable up to four handsets, the company said. It works with either a broadband cable or DSL modem.

The company also released a VoIP terminal adapter designed to convert corded or cordless telephones into a VoIP telephone system. The new offerings will be available this spring, it said.