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The Almighty Buck Businesses

VoIP Provider Vonage Planning IPO? 143

SixDimensionalArray writes "The rumor mill is exploding with stories that large voice-over-ip (VoIP) provider Vonage is planning an initial public offering to raise nearly $600 million. This information is interesting coming out not long after Google's recent release of Google Talk, which overs instant messaging/VoIP services PC-to-PC as well as a surge in marketing by VoIP providers such as Covad and Skype. Could this be yet another bubble?"
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VoIP Provider Vonage Planning IPO?

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  • Who are smart enough not to use TFTP to download configuration and images, knowing full well that major internet operators block TFTP, and have for years.
  • by ( 907022 ) <> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:12PM (#13403195) Homepage Journal
    I know that it's a growing market, but with the afforability of cell phones and free PC versions, is there really a large enough market to sustain all of this?
    • While $50 / month for an average cell phone plan is affordable, it's still a lot more than I'd pay for VOIP service bundled on my hypothetical Google nationwide WiMax plan. I'd switch.
      • I figure VOIP will have to drop to 1/2 to 1/3 its current price before it becomes attractive. With cell plans that give gobs of free minutes, who needs another phone number?
        • I have had Vonage for over 1 year now, and I love it. I pay $26 a month for unlimited everything, long distance in the US, voice mail, caller id, everything just like a real land line. I had Verizon telephone, and their monthly bill was $87 for the same exact package. SBC/Ameritec was $72 at my previous house. Vonage VoIP uses your existing phones. I don't want to get up and go to my computer everytime I want to make a Gtalk call. I know it's no cell phone, either, but, your normal house line is not a
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Cell phones cost a lot per month if you want to have the option of using them reasonably. You also have to pay for all calls, even an 800 number.

      They don't get great reception everywhere, and you can't have multiple handsets with the same number.

      I pay $16.94 a month for Vonage, and that is my only phone. I use about 100 minutes paid and 100 minutes free.

      VoIP software is a joke. I need a phone that my credit card company, or car repair shop can call, and need to be able to call them for whatever reason.
    • by w98 ( 831730 ) * on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:25PM (#13403264) Homepage
      I use Vonage and love it ... I have a virtual phone number based in Toronto that my family can call and it forwards to Los Angeles at no extra charge. On top of that, the feature to forward to another phone number (ie: my cell phone) for free if I'm not home to answer it there, is well worth the price. Between the cell phone and Vonage, I have no need for a land-based phone line any more to talk to my family up north. Cingular charges me $0.69/minute to call Canada, so I just call my family and say "hey, call me back on my Toronto number" and wait for my cell phone to ring.
      • Vonage has one big problem, which is they don't allow direct VOIP calls - you can only make and get calls from the POTS.

        In a way this make sense for them, as there really is no need for a middleman like Vonage for direct VOIP calls, but as more people get VOIP they are going to want to make VOIP calls without paying a middleman. I already do.

        • The problem with this is that it opens a huge security hole. If any random SIP client can make a calls directly to your phone adapter then what is to prevent abuse?
          • So some sort of on-screen reverse IP lookup service like CallerID is required in order to identify callers. After all, once CLID came out, crank calls volume went down drastically.
        • Thats a very good point. But I don't think its that big of a problem as long as Vonage keeps the price low.

          Over time people may come to realize the simplicity of the service Vonage is actually providing. Nevertheless, they are providing a necessary service. You can say its akin to dynamicDNS. But it works, it works well, and they are not gouging. Plus E911 may actually become a strength of a service like Vonage.

          I think they have lots of methods to make themselves usefull to the public.

          The bigest proble
        • Vonage doesn't allow direct calls? You think they route calls between Vonage users through the PSTN, so they can pay the telco for traffic between their own customers? What I think you mean to say is that you can't call, say, a Skype user using their Skype ID. But then again, you can't Skype to a Vonage phone except through the PSTN either. There are lots of SIP clients that are connected to other networks, and even though the clients themselves are interoperable the networks aren't. For instance, I don'
        • This would mean Vonaged would have to support an uber sip server that was aware of the 3rd party voip node. Vonage's infrastructure doesn't support that for obvious reasons, mainly they are a business, and not a free IM/chat service like google-talk.
          • This would mean Vonaged would have to support an uber sip server that was aware of the 3rd party voip node.

            No, all Vonage would have to do is quit locking down their customers' SIP boxes, so they could accept incoming connections from wherever. Vonage would not have to support non-Vonage calls in any way, they just need to get out of the way.

            Of course you can already receive VOIP calls without Vonage (or any other "provider") using a separate SIP box, but you'd rather not have to answer a different ph

        • One word: PhoneGnome [www.phonegnome.].

          It's VoIP for people who don't want VoIP. It plugs in between your phone and the POTS line, with an Ethernet cord shoved in another port. When you dial a number it checks to see if that number is SIP or PSTN. If it's SIP, it sends the call over the Internet for free. If not, it goes over the traditional phone line. It works when the power's off, 911 is still the same, and you can set it to route all long distance calls over a VoIP long distance provider for 1.5/min.

          There's a referral

          • "The more people who have them, the less calls get routed over the PSTN and the cheaper your phone bill gets."

            Except for the fact that a simple POTS line with long distance can cost upwards of $70 a month. Thats why I use VoIP. When I moved a year ago, I looked into it, and found out I could get Vonage and a cell phone for what SBC wanted for me to get a phone with the monthly long distance minutes still on top of that.
      • You can do even better- Phone fart them. Call, let it ring once, and hang up. That can be your signal to call you. I used to do the same thing when I was in middle school and didn't have a quarter- When my parents got the phone fart, they knew I needed a ride.
        • I did the same thing back in school. But I did it through High School until I got the Pinto my senior year :)

          The pay phones in my area were set up so that the caller could hear the other end but they could not here until you paid. So I'd call the folks, they'd answer, and know it was me when there was silence. :)

    • There is a large enough market to sustain the growing VOIP market because this is essentially the same market that supports dozens of cell phone and local and long distance companies.

      As a small business owner, I can say that Skype and other VOIP services have been a godsend and I welcome Google to the game.

      We have employees in China, Australia, England, and the United States, who all talk for free on Skype. In addition, I have 3 SkypeIn phone numbers: One in China, one in England, and one in the United Sta
    • Vonage is The 8hit. I have used it for just under a month. This will be the first IPO I actually try to get in on. (If it doesent get insane. im not stupid after all)
    • Since when did they become affordable? As long as marketing is so dominant a driving force in "mobile technology" affordability will not be the goal, and it certainly wont be possible.

      Now take vonage, A company of their position is doing well to go with an IPO just for the publicity. With the success of google major news organizations will cover the IPO story and vonage gets free advertising.

      An IPO may or may not be a good thing for users of their service (come to think of it I cant see how it could be go
  • by Eightyford ( 893696 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:16PM (#13403218) Homepage
    The telecommunications industry is huge, and there is a ton of money to be made. That being said though, it's so easy (comparitively) to get into this business that it would be foolish to invest in a single company. I think it will be just like what happened to AOL. People will go with the cheaper provider eventually, and there is just too many competitors (there will be many).
    • The ISP thing was kinda weird though... at first there was no behemoth, AOL couldn't corner the market over the little guys, and then all of the sudden as things progressed the standard big players moved in... I don't know who you guys have down south, but up here Bell, Rogers and Cogeco dominate. I'm going to bet they take over the voIP business eventually as well, as they are asking [](probably get their way) for an unregulated voIP market. They'll have enough muscle to shove the small guys out of the market
  • by Anonymous Coward
    With vonage you can call anyone, anywhere free. With most other VoIP systems like google talk, etc, the receiver needs special software. I'd me more interested in Vonage stock than google stock at this time.

    -- []
    Bringing the world together through our common bond: our stupidity
    • With vonage you can call anyone, anywhere free. With most other VoIP systems like google talk, etc, the receiver needs special software. I'd me more interested in Vonage stock than google stock at this time. Free? You pay nearly 25 bucks a month for this service. This, frankly, is the problem. I use a smaller voip provider that lets me call within the state for 10 bucks and the country (and about 10 other countries, including Canada and the UK) for about 20 bucks.

      Vonage has multiple pricing platforms,

      • Zyxel has a VOIP over wifi handheld phone. So you can walk into a bookstore or starbucks and your all set. Of course I cant imagine how this woudl work over a NATed IP address where the port can only be used once...
        • From what I remember from the recent slashdot article, the Zyxel phones don't work with WIFI systems that require you to log in, so you can't use them at a starbucks or similar, only on open WIFI systems or for ones which you have the WEP key.
      • I think vonage is priced well, for under 30.00 a month I can do what it cost me almost 60.00 a month to do with SBC.

        Thats a savings of over 50%.
      • How is $25/month expensive? Compared to a $60/month POTS line from Verizon, it's dirt cheap.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:17PM (#13403225)
    so that the holders of the common stock can vote on removing that FUCKING ANNOYING noise they have on their tv commercials.
  • by richdun ( 672214 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:17PM (#13403226)
    So, wait, does this mean we don't have to put up with ridiculously speculative stories about things that "might" happen in someone's mind but have absolutely no business being called "news" now that the rumor mill has exploded?

    What's that you say? Oh, this is Slashdot?

    Ah, never mind then. Nothing for you to see here, please move along.
  • by LordKazan ( 558383 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:17PM (#13403227) Homepage Journal
    I heard a story on NPR about VoIP just this week and they talked to a guy from a company that specializes in tech investments - specifical in figuring out what is a good investment.

    He said they refer to technologies like VoIP as "TechCom" and fully expect it to replace Telecom as time goes on - and the market of incompatable technologies is just because the technology is in it's infancy [VHS vs Beta, Laserdisk, VCD, DVD, Blu-ray vs HD-DVD would make a string of good examples] and that overtime they'll eventually all become cross-compatable.

    He pointed out previous advances in communications technology anymore - specifical AT&T - anyone remember what the second T is? American Telephone and Telegraph - who uses a Telegraph anymore? Exactly: NOBODY.

    VoIP is the infancy of the next generation of communications technology - not a bubble.
    • Do you have any thoughts on a company such as Vonage being pushed out of its market by the cable providers that carry Vonage on there networks? There has been that speculation.
    • But this isn't a totally new revolution, like being able to literally talk instead of just type, it's actually giving the same service albeit at a cheaper cost and perhaps a higher quality. Chances are the users of VoIP won't even know it's happening; do you realise that most long distance conversations using a normal telephone are actually done using VoIP simply because it's cheaper for the telephone company?

      I wouldn't get out the doomsday hats for the telecom companies yet, they'll adapt as always.
    • by ninjamonkey ( 694442 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:27PM (#13403272) Homepage
      He pointed out previous advances in communications technology anymore - specifical AT&T - anyone remember what the second T is? American Telephone and Telegraph - who uses a Telegraph anymore? Exactly: NOBODY. VoIP is the infancy of the next generation of communications technology - not a bubble.

      When people speculate on whether VOIP will become a bubble in this context, I think it's referring more to the over-valuation of the stock at IPO.

      I don't think anyone argues that VOIP technology isn't the future of communications, though, and may be worthy of long-term investment.
    • If the telecom's can get the market deregulated [],they should be able to push the smaller guys (vonage) out of the market. The risks are certainly high in the TechCom market pending regulatory approval, but the payoff for those who choose wisely is going to be big.
    • who uses a Telegraph anymore? Exactly: NOBODY.
      Actually... "Some companies, like Western Union and Swedish Telia still delivers Telegrams, but they serve as nostalgic novelty items rather than a primary means of communication." []
      So some day, we may get an old fashioned phone call as a novelty gift.
      I think that in order to invest, one would want to know which technology is going to win out, but also, which company is in the best position to exploit the market.
      • Unlikely. In the intermediate to long-term future, all that thin copper will be replaced with cable or fiber. Well, thats the plan, anyways; who knows how it will turn out.

        As VoIP services like Vonage become more common, we'll see traditional phone networks be phased out; either thin copper phone -> VoIP over cable, or thin copper phone -> VoIP over thin copper DSL as a transition to fiber.

        Telegrams require an order of magnitude less wiring. While phone lines probably won't be ripped out for awhile, y
    • Additionally, VoIP will be the technology that makes video phones a reality. Video is something just not possible with a standard analog line.
    • He pointed out previous advances in communications technology anymore - specifical AT&T - anyone remember what the second T is? American Telephone and Telegraph - who uses a Telegraph anymore? Exactly: NOBODY

      We can expand that further. Who uses AT&T anymore? Exactly: NOBODY.

    • I'll give the simple math answer.
      Generally, we say a companies value should be about 10x its annual revenue.
      So, with Vonage having 800,000 subscribers (FTA) at about $30/month (based on my bill) we get $24,000,000/month or $288,000,000/year.
      This would indicate that their value should get up to over 2.88 billion dollars.
      Now, take their really low operating overhead and add the tech dotcom bubble effect, they'll probably end up worth 100 times that ;)
  • Certainly a bubble (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jaredmauch ( 633928 ) <> on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:22PM (#13403255) Homepage
    It's the same as the DSL rush in the late 90's, the ILECs will win.

    They can easily convert everyone to unlimited plans and put the domestic LD carriers out of the voice business. There's just so much profit to be milked out of $.25/min in-state calling that it's hard to justify dropping the prices since people are willing to pay it.

    Vonage and others will face the same challenge others have seen when fighting the ILECs.

    • Um, what are you talking about? The reason competitive DSL failed is because the providers had to operate over the phone monopoly's lines, which made it all too convenient for the phone companies to push them out in favor of their own DSL. This won't happen with VOIP.

      Sure, many people get their internet access through phone company DSL, but it isn't so easy for phone companies to screw with it. In the United States, if a phone or cable company decided to block Vonage and only allow their own digital phone s
      • I agree with you, and keep in mind, that DSL companies aren't the only one you can purchase internet access through.

        Vonage works just fine over cable, or fiber, or whatever. (BPL? Fixed Wireless? EV-DO?)

        If the phone companies go nuts, block this stuff, and raise prices, expect them to go out of business.

        Plus, the baby bells will get challenges from the FCC. Michael Powell uses Vonage as his posterchild for competition in the telecom industry. I wouldn't be surprised if some of this 600 mil goes towards lobb
    • An IPO doesn't mean we're heading into another bubble. It's an IPO for christ-sakes. They happen all the time, even with Tech companies.

  • by John Seminal ( 698722 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:24PM (#13403258) Journal
    Vonage wants to raise $600,000,000? But they only have 800,000 customers. That is $750 per current customer? Can Vonage even make that much per customer? What growth do they expect?

    To date, the company has raised more than $400 in venture capital

    They way I understand, VC will own most of the company. How much of a % ownership did the $400 million buy, and how much of a % ownership will the $600 million have? Are the VC cashing out? This is the stage of the game where they normally do. And I would like to know how much influance the VC has, did they strike a deal with the original investment that the VC has control of when the company goes IPO?

    There was a great movie about how VC ruined a company, the DVD is called Some very smart guys came up with a great idea. They did all the work, but needed funding. They found VC, and had a big party, they took all their employees on a vacation. Then they realized how much control the VC had. The VC ran the show. The VC fired one of the founders, the guy who was the technical mastermind. It was a nightmare what they did. And the company eventually went bankrupt.

    This seems like a bad deal to me. As others have pointed out, cell phones are getting cheaper all the time, and now there are free VoIP services available.

    I just can't see how this kind of company could get a billion dollars. It is like we are living in 1999.

    • Vonage wants to raise $600,000,000? But they only have 800,000 customers. That is $750 per current customer? Can Vonage even make that much per customer? What growth do they expect? People do stupid things.
    • Maybe not...
      One way to value a firm is discounted cash flow (DCF). $750 per customer may seem unreasonable given they are only charging $14.95 per month. But note that it's $750 for the entire lifetime of the firm. In estimating the total value of the firm, you have to take into account the FUTURE free cash flow (FCF) discounted by the cost of capital (WACC).
      I'm not going to do the actual calculation here and will leave that to fellow /.ers. []
    • $750 per customer.

      That's assuming they develop *no more customers*, which this IPO is most likely predicated on them not doing.

      The idea behind an IPO is to fuel explosive growth; an IPO is most definitely *not* a sale of company assets, and current income is only roughly related to how much money you want to raise.

      Far more important is business plan; and these IPO rumors are indicative of Vonage planning to build out extensively, or to acquire customers, or both.

      $750 a customer? You're thinking wrong.

      • Then it'd be only $7.50 per customer!

        What I mean to say is that there are certain issues with evaluating a companies' IPO based upon their targets for customers instead of their actual customer list.

        If you ask me, $750/customer is far too much.

        The idea that an IPO is to fuel "explosive growth" is hilarious. That's .com talk. The original reason to go public was to get working capital so you could grow the company in ways you couldn't without it. But in reality there are very few companies that are only sepa
    • "VC cashing out?"

      Probably. Most VCs exist to take the company to public and cash out at that state. They are by and large not interested in long term viability of a company and have no real desire to hold on to ownsership of companies beyond that point.

      They are called VENTURE capitalists for a reason. Once a company is public it's no longer a venture. At that point you might as well buy a mutal fund.
    • There was a great movie about how VC ruined a company, the DVD is called

      Wow, I'm totally positive that you took the wrong point home from that one. The world is full of smart guys with great ideas, people so smart that they can't be bothered to spend five minutes thinking about why the solution they're proposing doesn't solve a problem people are willing to pay to solve. There were a lot of .com companies that were basically smart people with a great idea EXCEPT [fill in a blank]. Note that
    • VC will own a significant portion of the company, yes. The VC's goal is to make money -- they may sell much of their stake in the company after the IPO to take their profits. If they believe the company will still grow they may stick around for a while longer.

      As for the startup company that got "ruined" by VC -- it sounds like the guys who started the company didn't know what they were getting into. Of course the VC is going to want significant control of the company. It will all be spelled out in the V
    • The movie I saw documented in painful detail how a pair of no-talent assclowns raised and subsequently wasted a large pile of investor money on a very stupid idea.
    • It is like we are living in 1999.

      Cue the purple [].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:24PM (#13403259)

    "Will this be the death of X?"

    "Uh oh, is X's dominance in the market place over?"

    You won't phrase shit like this as a statement because you know it is retarded given the unimportant news announcement preceding it. Instead you write it as a question because then you can just claim to be "provocative" instead of a "fucking moron."

    • A-MEN.

      It makes me sick how formulaic most of these stories are:

      [insert unimportant story here]. [Make an absolutely outlandish jump to conclusions and ask a ridiculous rhetorical question that bears absolutely no logical connection whatsoever to either a.) the story in question or b.) any sane person's version of reality].

      Example: [] Blah blah blah some anime company using Bittorent for distribution blah blah blah. The question is will other distributors and studios follow ADV's example or stick to their curr
      • LOL. Nice post.

        I hate the stupid questions too, but I have a feeling the editors like them and are more likely to post a submission with them. Maybe they think it makes the site more professional sounding or something? Or maybe, if they are smart, they realize how annoying and retarded the question is, guaranteeing a lot of comments answering the question, and thus generating more page views.

        That's my guess.

  • Criminal CEO? (Score:3, Informative)

    by DoctorHibbert ( 610548 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:34PM (#13403311)
    • Re:Criminal CEO? (Score:3, Informative)

      by radtea ( 464814 )

      My dealings with Vonage were not dissimilar. They've still never paid me what they owe me, although my credit card company successfully challenged the "cancelation fee" they charged me when I found that they didn't have local numbers in my area (despite the fact that I checked on that specifically when signing up.)

      So I kinda do hope they go public--it'll be an opportunity to make more than the amount they owe me, as this has all the makings of a great short-term investment: a rapidly-growing company that'
    • While I never experienced anything like Damien Katz mentions, I have pretty much the same reaction when it comes to Vonage. Fuck'em.

      The $10 disconnect fee in particular makes them the used-car dealers of VoIP.

      I did have the pleasure of calling their 800 number to cancel using pulver's Free World Dialup, hehe.

  • by amichalo ( 132545 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:35PM (#13403315)
    An IPO would do more than just give Vonage capital to reinvest in infrastructure and R&D, it would bring a tone of legitimacy to the VoIP industry and Vonage as a company.

    I replaced my Bell land line with Vonage almost two years ago. The service has been similar to cell phones as far as a few growing pains in the first months with packet dropping (due to my cable modem I found ou t- a replacement fixed the issues!)

    But in the past year, the only complaint has been one time when I happen to be downloading some large torrents and the wife was unhappy about her phone conversation quality.

    Plus it is far less expensive than a land line, and portable which allows me to vacation six states away and be reachable on my home phone line...and even better...make calls from it too.
    • But in the past year, the only complaint has been one time when I happen to be downloading some large torrents and the wife was unhappy about her phone conversation quality.

      Get a QoS-enabled router. If you buy a Linksys WRT54G [], you can install OpenWrt [] on it. OpenWrt basically turns it into a linux box, and gives you full control over the QoS characteristics, etc etc. Pretty cool stuff.
      • I actually do own a WRT54G but I haven't heard of OpenWrt. This flashes the built in OS and basically replaces all the software on the box right? How big is the OpenWrt user base? I wouldn't want to flash my box with an OS some teen in Germany supports for him and his eight friends.
        • No idea how popular/supported OpenWrt is.

          However, I purchased a login to an international index of content. In the spirit of free software, I will share it with Slashdot, and you. Besides, it seems they have a fair amount of information on this OpenWrt stuff. Some 245,000 entries in their database.
          Go ahead and click here []. It'll log you in as me and you can browse, too.

          Good luck!
    • no no no, youve got it all wrong!

      I came her to do two things, chew bubble gum ,and kick ass. And Im aaallll out of bubble gum

      To this day, that is still a great movie. If you havent seen it go download a copy of "They Live". Rowdy roddy piper as an actor is just something you have to see for yourself! Horrible acting, but really a good storyline.

  • Pop (Score:3, Informative)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @09:35PM (#13403316) Homepage Journal
    The rise in any one stock, even if it's a stupendous rise, is not a "Bubble". A Bubble is when any stock is inflated in price: it's a market bubble, not a company bubble. People saying a Vonage IPO is a bubble are squandering the chance to learn something from the lesson-filled Bubble of the late-1990s market. And making it harder for others to learn from it. What, do you want a return to worthless corporate paper costing a real fortune that badly that you see it lurking in every equity offering rumor?
  • Who says that Vonage doesn't have other plans to sell VOIP services to the major telcos so that your cell phone when it reaches landline gets converted to VOIP, or that the core voice network for some telco is VOIP and they leverage vonage's expertise in this area.

    On the other hand, the large telcos would probably just buy the technology directly from Cisco/Avaya etc...

  • by Anonymous Coward
    ... they can do whatever they want, as long as they shut the hell up. Every second TV commercial is "Vuh-Vuh-VOOOONAAGE", half the sites I go to now have that stupid Vonage astronaut guy.

    For God's sake, just shut the hell up!!!
  • by Bin Naden ( 910327 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @10:12PM (#13403495)
    Who seriously wants a phone system that can crash? Damn, I'm trying to call 911 for that heart attack but my phone does not work. I'd wait before joining VOIP service.
    • People who aren't terribly worried about things that would require instant phone access.

      People who have multiple lines anyway (cellphone, anyone?)

      I gotta admit, when I balance "chance of heart attack and crashed phone system" vs "money I'd save", I'll go with the phone system. My BSD router's been up for 124 days now, and the only reason it's been that short is because the power went out 124 days ago . . .

      . . . and my house phone is a cordless phone with a wall plug that's needed for operation.

      The only reas
    • Thats a stupid way to think about it, have you REALLY looked at the reliability factor? I have had Vonage for about 3 years and have NEVER had an outage. landline has been down a whole BUNCH of times, mainly from people hitting the telephone box thing in my apartment complex. But, even through storms I seem to have vonage no problems..and if in the event it ever goes out, it defaults to ring my cell phone. and i can take it to my hotel with me when I travel........... in my case, the op
  • Will Vonage then be the first VOIPIPO?
  • Is it possible for an initial public offering to "fail"? How would that happen? Are there consequences to going IPO but then not gathering as much money as you had hoped? Thanks in advance.
  • by marlinSpike ( 894812 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @10:40PM (#13403634)
    I'm a very happy Vonage customer, and have been for about two years now. I have never had a problem and have never experienced any issues at all. Now, my parents in India have taken a Vonage box home, and I call them on a 'local' Boston number, and hear them as crisply as I would my neighbor... and for free (well, for $24.99/mo)!!

    When I switched over to Vonage, I went the porting-my-number way, which took about three weeks, which I think as industry standard at the time, and there wasn't anything that Vonage could really do about it anyway, because the ball was in Verizon's court to 'release' my number.

    I really don't know what's keeping more people from switching over to VoIP. I know my enthusiasm for new technologies often gets me in a bit of a bind (as my less than pleasant experience with early-adopter Bell Atlantic DSL), but VoIP has been all plusses for me.

    I'm glad Vonage is going public finally -- in these times, it's the sign of a company growing up (after all, this is the post 90s age). While I'm happy with their product, there is one more feature they could provide which would really thrill me -- allowing me to use my mobile phone to make calls over my VoIP line... make sense?

    • While I'm happy with their product, there is one more feature they could provide which would really thrill me -- allowing me to use my mobile phone to make calls over my VoIP line... make sense? Hmmm a voip gateway? Might be useful. I know there are voip over 802.11{b,g,n} "cell" handsets being developed, maybe it would be an interesting bridge from wired voip to wireless voip...
  • I wouldn't bother with skype if you actually want to use VoIP as an alternative to a conventional phone as it's way too expensive.

    I use []Voipbuster to make calls and [] Sipgate to recieve

    Sipgate allocate UK geographical numbers to their users accounts free of charge, with the added bonus that you can you can choose any national code, it doesn't matter where you live as long as you live in the UK.

    Voipbuster offer free calls to PSTN lines at these des
  • by Ranger ( 1783 ) on Thursday August 25, 2005 @11:25PM (#13403850) Homepage
    ...911. Oh, wait. I can't! #?@%*!
  • The OP mentioned the main-stream press. The following blogs all give different angles on the same story, all worth viewing: ZDNet Russ Shaw [] Om at Gigaom [] Jeff Pulver [] Mark Evens [] and the Vonage Forum []
  • Seems to me like VoIP is a technology that makes phone service more competitive, not less. The best investments are in companies that have defensible positions within a marketplace. Companies that rope their customers in with long-term contracts (like real estate) or high switching costs (Microsoft and Verizon) and especially high cost of entry (Airlines) have fewer risks involved for the investor.

    VoIP makes every company vulnerable because switching is so easy. Think of it - once you've got a $VOIP_BO

  • Vonage and other VoIP providers are profiting from a disruptive technology. With some 15% of Americans now using VoIP (and growing), you had better believe the big phone companies are going to react to that kind of competitive pressure by offering similar price structuring (if not the same technology). Me? I'm going to buy the hell out of Vonage on opening day to take advantage of all the speculating idiots. And I'm going to sell it within the week. It's not that Vonage is a bad company, or unprofitable, bu
    • Except the Skype isn't the same at all. Skype requires me to install software on my PC and use my PC to make phone calls. Vonage lets me use my existing land-line phones without having to even turn my computer on. And, in my case, since Skype couldn't seem to detect the microphone on my computer, it didn't even work at all.
      • Long distance VoIP. Local calling isn't where Vonage is making an impact on the market. Fix your mic.
        • Local calling isn't where Vonage is making an impact on the market.

          Actually, it is. Skype is about being able to reach people around the globe without paying anything for it. Vonage is about replacing your local phone service with something essentially as good but less than half the price.
          • 1. Skype charges for calls to telco lines.
            2. Vonage's services are between $5 cheaper and $5 more expensive than telco local plans, depending on whether you want long distance access or not. That means there's no advantage over local telco service with Vonage.
            3. With VoIP providers, long distance is charged at a far lower rate than telco providers.
            4. You clearly haven't a clue what you're talking about. So stop talking.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger