By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Office Depot is teaming up with VoIP service provider VoiceGlo to offer a USB phone and VoIP service plan through Office Depot’s 900-plus stores.
Office Depot is providing a USB phone that will be preprogrammed to access VoiceGlo’s Web page from which users can then place VoIP calls. The service works with both broadband and dial-up Internet subscribers.
The package will be available in November for a suggested retail price of $29.99.
After consumers connect the phone to their computers, they will be prompted to choose from one of five “GloPhone” calling plans ranging from a free GloPhone-to-GloPhone option to 1,000 bundled local and long-distance minutes for U.S. and Canadian calls at $19.95 a month
Standard features across all plans include caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding, missed call notification, voice mail-to-e-mail and conference calling.
Unlike other retail VoIP services such as Vonage or AT&T CallVantage, the Office Depot/VoiceGlo service requires the computer to be on to send and receive telephone calls (if the computer is off, incoming calls go straight to voicemail). However, it is also compatible with dial-up services, which the aforementioned services are not.
The phone is also PC independent; it can work plug-and-play with any Internet-connected PC to make VoIP calls through the VoiceGlo browser.
Office Depot said the USB phone is sourced from a “major” networking company. The service was chosen because of its appeal to business travelers who can simply plug the phone into a laptop that’s connected to the Internet to make inexpensive calls, the retailer said. “It’s smaller and easier to carry than a telephone adapter,” a spokesman added. It also allows a business traveler to save money when calling from overseas because there are no “roaming charges,” the spokesman noted.
According to VoiceGlo, the company wants to expand its retail footprint with similar partnerships and is currently working with equipment providers to offer a complete, off-the-shelf, VoIP retail package
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