Vonage, TI tout Web-calling pact

Texas Instruments and the broadband phone company announce plans to embed Vonage software into TI's chipsets to enable Internet phone calling.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read
Texas Instruments and Vonage, a provider of broadband telephony services, announced Friday that they are working together to provide voice over Internet Protocol equipment compatible with the Vonage telephony network.

Through the partnership, the two companies will work together to embed Vonage's software features into TI chipsets. This partnership should allow equipment providers using TI's chipsets to develop equipment that will make it easier for customers to use Vonage's service.

Vonage customers use their existing telephones to make Internet calls, but they must also use an additional piece of equipment the company supplies.

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The new TI chipsets will include Vonage's software features, which means that Internet calling could become a built-in feature on devices such as cable or DSL (digital subscriber line) modems.

"Besides simply validating the Vonage VoIP model, this relationship will allow any device that sits on a local-area network and has the chipset in it to become an access device for the Vonage network," said Matthew Deatrick, vice president of retail channel sales for Vonage. "That could be anything from a wireless phone to a laptop computer."

TI has been very active in developing technology for VoIP equipment makers. In September, it announced a set of new chipsets specifically designed for Internet telephony. The company already supplies many of the VoIP equipment providers, including Cisco Systems, Ericsson and Nortel Networks. Vonage hopes that by embedding its technology straight into the chips, equipment providers will be able to get Vonage-enabled gear to market more quickly.

Interest in Net telephony has increased over the past several months, with large telecommunications and cable companies such as AT&T, Qwest Communications International and Time Warner Cable announcing plans to deliver Internet calling services.

These providers see packet-switched VoIP technology as a cheaper alternative to the traditional circuit-switched telephony network. VoIP equipment is generally less expensive than traditional voice gear, and carriers such as Vonage are thus far avoiding regulatory fees by using the Internet rather than the traditional network.

The new chipsets are expected to hit the market late in the second quarter of 2004, said Fred Zimmerman, executive director of customer premise VoIP solutions at TI.