By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Uniden gained new distribution for its VoIP-enabled cordless phones.
In one development, Vonage expanded its selection of VoIP-enabled cordless phones with the addition of Uniden's UIP1869V.
In a second development, Uniden announced its first distributors for the UIP1868P multihandset cordless phone system that works with 8x8's Packet8 VoIP service.
Fry's, Costco.com and Amazon.com will offer the 8x8-enabled 5.8GHz digital cordless phone system in July. OfficeMax will offer the phone this month on its e-commerce site and in its brick-and-mortar locations in September. The phone will retail for a suggested $199.99 with included accessory handset.
The Vonage-service phone, a 5.8GHz digital spread spectrum (DSS) multihandset system, will be programmed to place calls over Vonage's VoIP network and will ship to dealers in the fall. The price hasn't been determined.
Uniden will distribute the phone to outlets that sell other Vonage VoIP products, said Brett Morrison, Uniden's national sales manager.
The phone's corded base features a built-in terminal adapter. The base plugs directly into a broadband modem to enable IP calling to any of up to 10 accessory handsets.
The unit also features call waiting, caller ID, handset speakerphone, four-way conferencing, call transfer between handsets, DirectLink two-way radio capability and a “do not disturb” setting.
Every dealer who sells the phone gets a hardware margin and an activation commission, Morrison said. “It's a good deal for retailers. I wish there was a way to get them more money on a regular cordless sale,” Morrison said.
The UIP1869V is Vonage's second 5.8GHz digital cordless phone; the other, the VTech ip800, began shipping last month. Vonage has about 600,000 VoIP lines in service and claims to be adding more than 15,000 lines a week to its network.
Uniden initially pitched its broadband phone platform, introduced at International CES, as an alternative to “locked” IP equipment that can only place calls over a single network. The company has since introduced two locked iterations of the phone: one with provider 8x8 and the other with Vonage. Both are locked into a single IP network.
“The service providers are not cooperating” with one another to cement a single standard, preferring instead to follow the cellular business model of matching specific hardware with a specific network, Morrison said.
The realities of getting products to market have also hampered an unlocked equipment strategy. Because of activation bounties and retailer commissions, VoIP providers have to have deals in place with retail before Uniden can offer them the phone. “We have to follow the service provider's lead,” Morrison said.
With Vonage and 8x8, Uniden has found providers with existing retail agreements and a smoother path to market, he added.
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