By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Panasonic will use Deltathree's new "joip" VoIP service for a line of VoIP phones.
According to Shimmy Zimels, CEO, Deltathree, Panasonic paid the VoIP company $2 million to launch an exclusive service for use with the company's phones.
Announced at International CES, Panasonic's Globarange models will include both 5.8GHz and DECT-based two-line cordless phones that offer landline and VoIP calling through the joip network. The phone can plug directly into a broadband modem, allowing it to make VoIP calls when the computer is off.
The joip phones will have a dedicated button allowing users to switch between VoIP calls and landline calls. Joip users are assigned a unique 10 digit number by Deltathree. The LCD backlight on the phone's handset will be orange for joip calls and green for PSTN calls.
The service does not support presence features that would alert users when another joip user is available for a call, the company said
The phones are expected to ship this summer and both the phones and the service will be launched globally. The joip Web site is live and soliciting beta testers.
Currently, Panasonic is showing one phone on its Web site, the BB-GG1540. The model features call waiting, caller ID, handset and base station speakerphone and a tri-color incoming-call status light. It is expandable up to eight handsets, offers 100 contact entries, and has a 45-minute integrated digital answering device (ITAD).
The BB-GT1540 will retail for a suggested $129.
The company will also offer the GT1500B, for $129, which is also expandable up to eight handsets and features call waiting, caller ID, speakerphone on the base and handsets, base station keypad and a 100-entry phonebook.
The concept behind joip is to leverage Panasonic's cordless phone brand strength to create a global community of users who can call each other for free, Zimels said.
For advanced features such as ringtones, text messaging, a community directory, call forwarding to multiple numbers, do not disturb options and voice message notification via e-mail, consumers will have to subscribe to one of four monthly plans. The base plan starts at $6.99 a month for $0.02 cents a minute U.S.-to-U.S. calls. Deltathree will offer three other plans with varying features and 400, 800 and 2,000 minutes for $15.99, $15.99 and $24.99, respectively.
The service will also be available directly through the PC as a soft-phone.
Unlike some VoIP service and hardware bundles sold through retail, Panasonic will not offer a residual revenue incentive when a joip user activates a paid account, the company said.
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