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Vendors on VoIP

New York — How will the burgeoning market for VoIP products and services affect the sales of home phones? TWICE put the question to several leading phone manufacturers for its State of the Industry Report.

Here are some of their thoughts:

Al Silverberg, Uniden’s president, noted that in response to increasing consumer interest in VoIP, his company, which was an early backer of VoIP telephony and a current provider of enterprise VoIP phones, will offer a consumer VoIP phone at CES. The model will differ from the previous offering, which was a traditional cordless packaged with a VoIP calling plan, but details were limited.

“We’re very excited about VoIP telephony,” Silverberg said.

Frank Lasorsa, VP, communications division, Panasonic said that IP telephony would actually be a boon to traditional cordless makers.

“VoIP will boost expandable cordless systems as people will plug the base into the adapter and use the cordless handsets” to make VoIP calls wirelessly throughout the house, Lasorsa said.

“VoIP products are only beginning to be tested in retail channels, and it’s still unclear if VoIP products will gain market acceptance,” said James Palmer, president, VTech Communications.

“A key component of this segment is driven by the service provider offering. Equipment manufacturers are going to have to work closely with the major industry leaders like AT&T,” Palmer added.

“Technological innovations force the communications industry to continually shift direction. Cellular and broadband technologies will continue to push our telephone category to new levels,” Palmer noted.

“We don’t believe VoIP will have a huge impact on the residential cordless telephone market for at least the next few years,” said Lisa Castor, VP, ATLINKS.

“Although VoIP has taken some significant strides, the technology is still being refined and consumers will face a fairly large learning curve. VoIP will impact the small office home office (SOHO) telephone market well before the residential phone market, mainly due to the cost-savings benefits for businesses and better familiarity with this technology.”