Cordless phone manufacturer Uniden and VoIP service provider 8×8 have partnered to offer the VoIP-enabled UIP1868 multi-handset cordless phone with 8×8’s Packet8 IP telephony service to dealers in the second quarter.
The UIP 1868 is a 5.8GHz digital system expandable to 10 handsets. The base station connects to a broadband modem to deliver VoIP calling to the accessory handsets. The unit only works over an IP connection and not a PSTN line.
The UIP 1868 is compatible with Uniden’s TCX800, TCX400, TCX440, CLX500 and ELT560 flip-phone accessory handsets. It offers caller ID, call waiting, handset speakerphone and four-way conferencing.
According to the agreement, Uniden and 8×8 will sell the phone through their respective retail channel partners for a suggested retail price of $199.99.
8×8’s Packet8 service offers unlimited local and long distance calling to the United States and Canada for $19.95 per month with voicemail, local number portability (LNP), unlimited in-network calling, call forwarding, E911 and call blocking.
Uniden initially announced the UIP 1868 at International CES in conjunction with three IP service providers, SunRocket, Lingo and Broadvoice, hailing it as the first-ever multiple provider VoIP product (all existing IP products are preprogrammed to access only one VoIP network).
That rollout has run aground, at least for the moment, as the individual VoIP providers work out their own retail strategies, said Brett Morrison, national sales manager, Uniden.
“We are still committed to a multiple-provider strategy,” Morrison said. “This is a big box. To me it doesn’t matter, but why would a retailer want to carry five different SKUs of the same product with different software?”
Unlike the aforementioned providers, 8×8 already had deals in place with several retailers and distributors for its videophone and telephone adapters, Morrison said.
According to a Lingo spokesperson, the company was still evaluating whether and how to launch the Uniden phone. Lingo already offers its VoIP service through retail via a partnership with D-Link.
Paul Erickson, CEO, SunRocket, said the company was relying on Uniden to forge deals with retail.
“SunRocket’s position is that we do not intend to seek direct relationships with retailers at this time,” Erickson said. “However, we do intend to participate in retail via relationships with electronics companies, where the equipment manufacturer establishes and manages the retail program.”
Broadvoice could not be reached for comment.
Morrison noted that as cordless sales decline, Uniden will increasingly focus on VoIP telephony products.
“There’s more coming in terms of partnerships and new functionality in our products, including hybrid models” that can call over both an IP and landline network, Morrison said.