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Now that free WiFi or wireless Internet service is being offered in many metropolitan areas, a new VoIP phone service that can replace cell phones for some users is being launched.
Many cell phone users never go beyond 100 miles of their home location - if WiFi service is available in this area, then a VoIP phone with a wireless connection will serve their needs adequately at a lower cost.
WiFi works better indoors than cellular, so the familiar dropped call scenario when walking indoors should also go away with this new technology.
Providers offering this service include Vonage and Time Warner Cable. One of the drawbacks of the early phones made for this service was limited battery life, however, chipmakers such as Marvell Technology have innovated new solutions that are making the next generation of phones comparable to existing cell phones for both talk time and standby time.
Phone OEMs offering phones for WiFi VoIP include Cisco Systems (through the Linksys brand), UT Starcom and ipDialog.
Most new handsets will be hybrid phones and will offer both cellular and WiFi connectivity. The basic idea is that the user can switch to a WiFi network when one is available to save on cellular per minute charges.
|Sheri Ann Richerson|