October 18, 2004 1:30 PM PDT

VoIP unplugged, as Wi-Fi meets Net phoning

Two major VoIP providers took steps Monday to further unwire Net-based phoning, traditionally a service tethered by wires.

Vonage, the world's largest commercial provider of voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) phone services, and commercial hot-spot provider Boingo Wireless said they intend to co-market each other's services later this year. Meanwhile, Boingo said it is working with handset makers to integrate its software into Wi-Fi-ready phones.

The announcements from Vonage and Boingo, and another Monday from Net2Phone, underscore the collision course of Net-based phoning and Wi-Fi, the popular wireless standards used to distribute broadband inside thousands of homes, retail outlets, restaurants and cafes, and in public areas.

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