Vonage Goes WiMax

In a world before WiMax: Vonage and TowerStream explore broadband wireless VOIP

August 2, 2005

2 Min Read
Vonage Goes WiMax

VOIP provider Vonage Holdings Corp. has teamed up with fixed-wireless operator TowerStream Corp. to offer business customers "pre-WiMax" voice services in several major markets in the U.S.

The deal will be one of the first VOIP services available to use this new fixed-wireless technology as a transport layer, at least in the U.S., where TowerStream has been testing VOIP services in New York City and Rhode Island for a number of months now (see TowerStream to Trial Free VOIP ).

The Vonage-over-TowerStream offering will be available in all of TowerStream's markets, which also include Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Oakland. The firm typically targets business customers looking for high-speed wireless LAN links.

TowerStream says it is able to offer the service because of the quality-of-service functions built into the broadband wireless kit from Aperto Networks that it uses.

"The pre-WiMax gear we use has prioritization [capabilities] like the WiMax stuff will have," says Jeff Thompson, COO of TowerStream.

Once the voice calls are pulled from the TowerStream base stations, they are routed to the Vonage servers over TowerStream's backbone network.

While this deal was initiated by TowerStream, Vonage says it is willing to consider other WiMax opportunities. "Vonage is very open to adding different types of strategic alliances to its sales channels; this opens doors to new subscribers as well as other opportunities so the company is more than happy to bring their service to others," says a Vonage spokeswoman.

"And this is an alliance that completely cuts out the incumbent phone companies for Internet and phone service," she adds.

It's worth noting that not all of the new breed of wireless broadband operators are so open to VOIP services. As was widely reported back in March, Craig McCaw's Clearwire LLC venture decided to block users from running outside VOIP services on its pre-WiMax network, although it is working with Bell Canada on VOIP (see Bell Canada, Clearwire Form Alliance).

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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