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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.

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Reader Comments

Tech Untangled

August 9, 2007 03:45 PM

I think The combat is already there because T-mobile already has its HotSpot@home service, Vonage already has its service, and only Ooma is just coming on board. However, the big picture is bigger than that and includes players like Skype. Here is a comparison that shows that Skype is a better value proposition for most customers than Ooma is.

And here are some concerns about Ooma (although th e whole story about how Ooma works is a bit vague right now)

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BusinessWeek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, Douglas MacMillan, and Spencer Ante dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. One of the first mainstream media tech blogs, Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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