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Vonage Holdings Corp. Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2013 Results

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Salt Lake City: impressions after several months




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Internet 'Phones' Hot Stuff During Canadian Labour Dispute


Vonage In Print News

Internet 'Phones' Hot Stuff During Labour Dispute

September 7, 2005

By Sheila Potter

The long-feared competition has finally arrived for the big phone companies - and its just a mouse click away.

If you haven't yet heard of Voice Over Internet Provider (VOIP) services, you soon will. Also known as "digital phones" or "Internet telepohony", Voip is a telephone technology where the signal is carried over the Internet rather than across phone lines.

So far it hasn't made large inroads into Greater Victoria, but companies like Vonage are starting to offer local service with a Victoria area code. Among the new Voip companies jumping into the local market is a small, three-man outfit called AcroVoice.

AcroVoice was co-founded by Saanich resident Don Helliwell, an ex-manager for Telus.

"I kind of joined the opposition," he said.

Helliwell co-started the AcroVoice in April and is watching as company business is poised to suddenly explode as customers wait for new phone hook-ups as a result of the Telus strike.

"There are 10,000 students getting back to school who can't get phones," he pointed out.

Helliwell has approached area apartment managers with posters targeted at students to let them know they have a telephone option. The first call back he received was from a property manager who needed a phone hook up for herself.

AcroVoice sells phones that look and act just like regular telephones, but plug into your computer and into the Internet cable jack in the wall.

The company provides clients with a local phone number, with residential and business services for close to the same rates as Telus. But it comes with free extras like voice mail, call display, voice recording, 100 minutes of long-distance and even an automated attendant to direct calls.

The Internet connection is not included.

Thus far, the big phone companies are playing hard with small Voip providers (phone companies recently fought to have Voip companies pay into the emergency 911 service).
But Helliwell doesn't think the new technology will mean the end to telephone companies like Telus.

Rather, he predicted, telephone companies will adjust and also start to offer Voip phones. Unbeknownst to most customers, they already transfer voices over the Internet for long-distance calls. That's why those prices have come down.

But there is one certainty that will come from the competing technology.

"The prices are going down," said Halliwell.

Meanwhile, cable television companies such as Shaw are already offering regular telephone service through their broadband TV and Internet connections. Shaw has already launched its service in Alberta and B.C. area codes are not far off. The company hopes to have Victoria hooked up in the fall.

Telus' director of communications services development Jim Johannsson denies that Voip companies are any threat.
"There are literally thousands of those companies because it is very inexpensive for them to set themselves up."
He compared it to Avon sales, something people try from home.

"The competition between them is cut-throat so it is hard for them to survive and expand," said Johannsson. But even though that will lead to a "significant shakeout" of the industry, Telus, he said, will be untouched.

But as their labour dispute drags on, it's not making it any easier on the telephone giant. For instance, when Telus offers Internet service, they insist customers first buy into their phone service. That seems to indicate that buying Voip service will not be cheaper if your Internet provider is Telus.



 
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†AK and HI residents pay $29.95 shipping. ††Limited time offer. Valid for residents of the United States (&DC), 18 years or older, who open new accounts. Offer good while supplies last and only on new account activations. One kit per account/household. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts, promotions or plans and is not applicable to past purchases. Good while supplies last. Allow up to 2 weeks for shipping. Other restrictions may apply.

1Unlimited calling and other services for all residential plans are based on normal residential, personal, non-commercial use. A combination of factors is used to determine abnormal use, including but not limited to: the number of unique numbers called, calls forwarded, minutes used and other factors. Subject to our Reasonable Use Policy and Terms of Service.

2Shipping and activation fees waived with 1-year agreement. An Early Termination Fee (with periodic pro-rated reductions) applies if service is terminated before the end of the first 12 months. Additional restrictions may apply. See Terms of Service for details.

HIGH SPEED INTERNET REQUIRED. †VALID FOR NEW LINES ONLY. RATES EXCLUDE INTERNET SERVICE, SURCHARGES, FEES AND TAXES. DEVICE MAY BE REFURBISHED. If you subscribe to plans with monthly minutes allotments, all call minutes placed from both from your home and registered ExtensionsTM phones will count toward your monthly minutes allotment. ExtensionsTM calls made from mobiles use airtime and may incur surcharges, depending on your mobile plan. Alarms, TTY and other systems may not be compatible. Vonage 911 service operates differently than traditional 911. See www.vonage.com/911 for details.

** Certain call types excluded.

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