Tom Keating : VoIP & Gadgets Blog
Tom Keating
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Packet8 broadband VoIP

Vonage Lives to Fight Another Day...

October 20, 2008

Vonage today announced an agreement for a $220.3 million financing which is seen by many experts as crucial to its survival. Silver Point Finance LLC, which already holds a $216 million financing stake in Vonage, will lead the financial deal, which consists of $130.3 million in senior secured first-lien credit, $72.0 million in senior secured second-lien credit and the sale of $18.0 million of convertible secured third-lien notes. The proceeds will be used to help refinance $253 million of debt.

Analysts and bloggers such as the VoIPPrincess, have pointed out that the recent financial crisis and credit crunch made Vonage's refinancing efforts very difficult. I too have had my doubts whether Vonage could secure more financing in this tight credit crunch market.

"We are pleased to reach definitive agreement on this refinancing at a time of unprecedented volatility in the credit markets," said John Rego, Vonage's chief financial officer.



ITEXPO West 2008 a Resounding Success

September 18, 2008

Some great news from TMC about our IP communications conference & expositions (ITEXPO) taking place this week that I thought I'd share. The show is still going on, with today being the last day. Yesterday's exhibit hall attendance was tremendous as seen by some photos I snapped and posted yesterday. I had some great meetings or saw many important VoIP companies, including Asterisk/Digium, CosmoCom, Fonality, Microsoft, Packet8, PIKA, Skype, and more.

AT&T CallVantage One Step Closer to Oblivion

August 15, 2008

As I predicted on July 3rd, AT&T would soon be dropping its CallVantage broadband VoIP service since they dropped their affiliate marketing channel.

Well, today I learned that AT&T is no longer accepting ANY new orders from ANY source - affiliate or otherwise. The slow death of CallVantage is a bit sad, but it isn't particularly surprising, not only because they dropped the affiliate channel last month but as I have previously indicated, AT&T is heavily promoting their U-Verse fiber-to-copper hybrid service that combines IPTV, data, and U-Verse Voice (in select areas).

It seems a little early to cut the cord on acquiring new Callvantage customers since neither U-Verse or U-Verse Voice are available in most of the country - including my neighborhood where it was promised for this summer. I would think they would want to acquire these customers on CallVantage and then easily port them over to U-Verse when it becomes available in their area. It is much easier and less expensive to retain an existing customer than acquire a new one.



Level 3 & Packet8 major outage

July 31, 2008

BREAKING!
A source is telling me that Level 3 Communications and Packet 8 are having a system-wide network outage for the last 30 minutes. Level 3 is a huge provider of VoIP termination and I believe Packet8 uses their network for termination. Other VoIP service providers (Vonage?) will also be affected if indeed Level 3 is having an outage. I'm trying to confirm this as I type this.

Packet8 675xi VoIP for the SMB

July 24, 2008

I missed the 8x8/Packet8 news on July 16th about its new hosted small office "key" system and plug-and-play IP phones. Joan Citelli, Director of Corporate Communications emailed me asking for a briefing, but apparently I never replied since her email was still marked as unread and nothing in my Sent Items. Email overload I guess. The news was about 8x8, working with handset maker Aastra Telecom to provide a key system to the SMB market,which is part of the new Packet8 675xi series.

I happened to come across Carolyn Schuk's article while surfing the web and came across her post about some 8x8 news that I missed.

ACN IRIS 3000 Videophone & The State of the Videophone

July 15, 2008

I've come across the new ACN IRIS 3000 videophone a few times recently and thought I'd write about them. I'm a big fan of videophones even if there doesn't seem to be any true adoption of industry standards that lets one videophone talk/video to another. Not to mention I reported first how Vonage's OEM'ed videophone, VisiFone, from Viseon hit the scrap heap due to Viseon's implosion. I was hoping to see Vonage's VisiFone interoperate with Packet8's Videophone, which I reviewed back in 2004.

Packet8 MobileTalk on iPhone Adds VoIP Calling

July 11, 2008


8x8, Inc. the provider of the Packet8 VoIP broadband service today announed it has added the Apple iPhone to the list of over 450 mobile handset devices now supported by the Packet8 MobileTalk international calling service. Launched back in November 2007, MobileTalk adds inexpensive calling to the iPhone 2.0 which launched today.

Unlike the truphone iPhone application I blogged earlier today, the Packet8 MobileTalk is web-based interface, so unlike truphone there is no dialer application to download. Instead, it uses a customized web-based dialer, accessible via a standard data plan or WiFi connection, to route calls to a unique local Packet8 access number and then on to the Packet8 digital VoIP network. Once the call has been initiated, the data connection is no longer engaged and the call is carried to completion over the cellular provider's network with only Packet8's low international calling rates applied.


8x8, Inc. Awarded New VoIP Patent

July 2, 2008

8x8, Inc. the provider of the Packet8 broadband Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), videophone and mobile VoIP communication services, today announced that it has been granted U.S. Patent No. 7,394,803 entitled "Distributed Local Telephony Gateway." The patent was issued from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office yesteday on July 1, 2008.

Interestingly, the patent relates to Internet Protocol (IP) communication systems and, more particularly, to broadband telephony services having "distributed local gateways". Don't all broadband telephony services use "distributed local gateways"?

Flash-to-SIP Video Calls

May 27, 2008

Innovative Systems of Communication (ISC, Inc.), a Russian-based company, launched Flashphone.ru, a proof-of-concept Flash-based phone app which I discovered & reviewed back in November. More recently they launched a media server to go along with their Flash softphone application.

Well, ISC dropped me a line to tell me they have implemented video calls that allow Flash-to-SIP and from SIP-to-Flash video calls using their Zingaya Media Server. As you probably know, Flash-to-Flash video calls is nothing new, but Flash-to-SIP and the reverse is new. This platform marries the ubiquitousness of the Flash client on Windows/Mac/Linux with the ubiquitousness of the SIP standard and SIP gateways.

Thus, using a simple browser you can initiate a video call to a video client such as X-Lite or even (in theory) a hardphone videophone device such as the Packet8 videophone.



Packet8 Drops International Calling Phone Rates

May 7, 2008

Calls to China dropped from 3 per minute to now 1 per minute? Wow! That's a 67% drop! All I can say is it is absolutely amazing how far prices have dropped.
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