Web-calling Wars: T-Mobile, Vonage, ooma Get Ready for Combat
Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 09, 2007
It appears that T-Mobile may be preparing its own brand of a Web-calling service. I am not at all suprised: T-Mobile’s competitors AT&T and Verizon have been offering such services for several years now. Sprint Nextel will offer such a service when it launches its WiMax wireless broadband network next year. And a bunch of start-ups like ooma are rolling out their VoIP offerings (ooma just began accepting pre-orders).
And where does that leave Vonage? Not in a good place. Vonage, the one-time VoIP market leader, reported its second-quarter results today. Not surprisingly, its subscriber growth has slowed further. Clearly, a rise in competing Web-calling services is not good news. (Of course, some services, such as SunRocket, have recently gone under, too.)
That said, today Vonage did serve up some good news. The company has completed and deployed workarounds relating to two of the most important Verzion patents a court said it infringed. Interim CEO Jeffrey Citron told me today that the company doesn’t plan to bicker with Verizon over whether the workaround works until a decision from an appeals court reviewing the case is made public in the next month or two. If Vonage is found not guilty, then Vonage won’t have to do any proving in relation to its workaround. Otherwise, the workaround “should mitigate much of the risk associated with a negative verdict,” Citron says.