February 7, 2005 4:25 PM PST

Wi-Fi phones don't add up to much

Related Stories

VoIP unplugged, as Wi-Fi meets Net phoning

October 18, 2004

Wi-Fi phones make a splash

August 5, 2004
A new study suggests it will be a number of years before Wi-Fi phones, supposedly a revolutionary telephone technology, manage to fulfill expectations.

Analysts at Infonetics Research say portable phones using Wi-Fi, the popular technology that creates 300-foot zones of high-speed wireless connectivity, are taking hold in hospitals and businesses, but worldwide sales were negligible last year.

The results are disappointing. After years in development, the much-anticipated devices were supposed to take off in 2004. But with just 113,000 such handsets sold last year, or $45 million in total sales, it's apparent the prognosticators were wrong. Rather, the sales "represent a market at its birth," as Infonetics analysts put it.

Wi-Fi phones combine two very hot and potent technologies--Wi-Fi and voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) software, which lets Internet connections double as extremely inexpensive phone lines. Typically, VoIP subscribers use a wired phone line, whether a single home phone or any number of phones in an office setting. But many service providers see an opportunity to create wireless versions of their services using Wi-Fi. Introducing the appropriate VoIP services and technology could turn hot spots into giant phone booths.

But it could take at least until 2009 before the cost of Wi-Fi phones drops enough for a mass market breakthrough, according to Infonetics.

"Voice over wireless Internet devices have the potential to be a hugely disruptive technology," Richard Webb, Infonetics directing analyst said a statement. "As VoIP goes wireless, this will present a challenge not only to fixed line operators, but to mobile operators."

1 comment

Join the conversation!
Add your comment
WiFi Telephony
WiFi telephony is an emerging sector of the communications industry that will be valued at $5 billion by 2010. 25 million new WiFon devices will be sold in the coming 5 years.

As an alternative to cellular, wifi telephony allows a user to connect to the Internet from public wireless LAN hotspots anywhere in the world, and make or receive low-cost VoIP calls, check voicemail, and SMS. Future releases of WiFon handsets and PDAs will include a SIM reader and camera.

WiFon devices are not locked, and may be configured for any VoIP service provider network.
Posted by (12 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

Join the conversation

Add your comment

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Click here to review our Terms of Use.

What's Hot

Discussions

Shared

RSS Feeds

Add headlines from CNET News to your homepage or feedreader.