Fortunately, some ATA manufacturers have seen the light. For example, Zoom has an interesting online wizard utility that helps you figure out the settings for your SIP provider and it will automatically configure their VoIP Freedom Model 5800 ATA device for you. It simply asks you to pick one of dozens of VoIP service providers and then it asks your Zoom ATA's MAC address, which it then auto-configures. It's too bad Vonage doesn't lock their ATAs. I have a Cisco ATA-186 formerly provisioned by Vonage sitting in my garage right now.
In addition, Zoom told TMC something interesting: "Zoom releasing the product is important. We currently sell DSL modems in all Staples, CompUSA, Fry's and Micro Center stores in the U.S. We also have retail penetration in international markets. Zoom has significant retail presence and literally decades of experience at retail. Vonage has muddled the VoIP hardware market in the U.S. and UK retail markets, with heavy slotting fees creating a very artificial model. That will continue in the UK and US as long as Vonage follows their current course. In the markets where the slotting fees are not available, we think VoIP Freedom will be the ascendant model."
In any event, check out the news for yourself which hits the wires tomorrow.
Zoom Introduces VoIP Freedom
Low-cost product lets users choose from dozens of VoIP services
Zoom Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZOOM) has begun shipping the Model 5800 Zoom VoIP Freedom, a revolutionary product that lets a user choose from dozens of VoIP service providers with an easy Web-based Chooser utility. Most VoIP services lock a user into their service with inflexible hardware. Zoom VoIP Freedom maximizes customer choice by letting the customer review and choose the service best suited to his or her needs, and then automatically configure the Zoom VoIP Freedom device to work with the selected service.
The Chooser includes VoIP services from the Americas, Europe, and Asia, with Web-based menus in languages that include English, Spanish, German, and Vietnamese. Once a customer finds an attractive service, selecting that service automatically configures the Zoom VoIP Freedom device. Changing the service is just as easy, so the customer maintains freedom of choice.
Zoom VoIP Freedom lets customers use their favorite phones. A customer can plug a normal phone into the VoIP Freedom's Analog Telephone Adapter (ATA), and then make or receive calls using that phone. A customer can even plug in a cordless base station, so that the customer can make and receive Internet phone calls with a cordless phone.
VoIP Freedom's Web-based Chooser currently allows selection from a list of 25 VoIP service providers. Zoom invites service providers supporting the industry-standard SIP protocol to register their service for use with the VoIP Freedom ATA at www.zoom.com/partners/itsp . There is no charge for registration.
Zoom VoIP Freedom customers can decide whether to retain conventional landline telephone service along with their VoIP phone service. If they do, the ATA lets them easily make and receive calls through either their VoIP or landline service. Two different calls can take place simultaneously over the VoIP and landline telephone services, providing a "second phone line" capability. Emergency calls, such as 911 calls in the US, are automatically sent over the landline phone service to help assure proper emergency response to the correct location. In the event of a power loss that disables VoIP calling, the VoIP Freedom ATA automatically connects ATA-connected telephones to the landline phone service.
"Two-thirds of broadband connections worldwide are provided by ADSL", said Frank Manning, President and CEO of Zoom Technologies. "Nearly every ADSL line has landline phone service available at little or no additional cost. Zoom VoIP Freedom makes use of that landline phone service to properly handle emergency and alarm calls and to provide powerful enhanced features. For instance, someone with a mobile "cell" phone can easily escape the high cost of calls to other countries. That person just calls the Zoom VoIP Freedom device, which provides VoIP dialtone and bridges the mobile phone user to VoIP. The VoIP Freedom device can even use caller ID to decide which calls it answers; so it answers calls from the appropriate family or business members, but does not interfere with other incoming calls."
Zoom VoIP Freedom has an estimated retail price of $59. Anyone can explore the wide range of VoIP services already available with Zoom VoIP Freedom by going to www.zoom.com/chooser