Internet phone service provider Vonage will sell videophones and a videophone service sometime before the end of March.
An exact date for the service’s debut — first quarter 2005 — or the pricing details were released. For a general idea on what a Vonage videophone service might cost, one can look to videophone provider Packet8, which sells unlimited video calling for $30 a month. Packet8 videophones, which have embedded cameras to capture the caller’s image, come heavily rebated.
Vonage has partnered with broadband video equipment maker Viseon to develop the videophone. Vonage will release a videophone that resembles the VisiFone II, a phone developed by broadband video equipment maker Viseon. The VisiFone II debuts in January.
Videophone service is the latest add-on from Vonage and other providers of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), a cheap telephone service in which phone calls use Internet Protocol (IP) to travel over the public Internet, or privately owned high-speed networks based on IP.
The calls are much cheaper than traditionally placed ones mainly because of IP’s efficiencies, plus most IP calls have so far avoided regulation, while traditional phone companies must collect fees and taxes from their customers.