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RadioShack Jumps on Vonage Bandwagon

Fort Worth, Texas — RadioShack has become the second national CE retail chain to pick up the VoIP broadband telephony service Vonage.

The service will be sold in nearly 4,000 of its retail stores across the country in markets with a high penetration of broadband Internet access. According to the retailer, more than 1,600 of these stores are expected to be demonstrating the service by July.

The Vonage offer through RadioShack allows customers to select from monthly plans from $14.99. New customers who sign up for Vonage broadband phone service and purchase a Vonage starter kit ($89.99) receive a free month of unlimited calling, no activation fee and a $30 Vonage mail-in rebate, a $94 value.

Customers can sign up in-store or on RadioShack’s Web site.

“VoIP plays directly to the core strengths of RadioShack,” said Stu Asimus, senior vice president, chief merchandising officer, RadioShack. “VoIP is simply not quite ready for a self-service environment.

“In fact, the majority of individuals and families either do not understand VoIP at all or believe it’s only for computer geeks, which is where RadioShack can play a huge role,” Asimus said.

Vonage already has a distribution deal in place with Circuit City, announced in March. The VoIP company is attempting to cast a wide distribution net quickly in advance of a VoIP onslaught from big-name telecom and cable providers, such as AT&T, which is rolling out its own CallVantage VoIP service in several markets, with an eye toward retail later in the year.