New VOIP Provider, New Hardware, Emerges

TheGlobe.com, a fast riser in the heady days of the internet boom that fell even faster at the beginnings of the dot-com crash, has reinvented itself as a VoIP provider. VoiceGlo, a subsidiary of TheGlobe based in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, has even introduced a couple of new tricks in the game, including a free USB handset that will lighten the load for VoIP-savvy travellers. The company is also the first to offer one of two new terminal adapters, manufactured by Innomedia. The adaptors come in two models. A basic model, similar in features to a Cisco ATA 186, sells for $40 with a phone line contract from VoiceGlo, and $80 as a stand-alone that can be used with other VoIP services. An advanced model, which includes a QOS router, sells for $60 with a contract and $100 as an unlocked stand-alone.

It's been a roller coaster ride for TheGlobe, once the poster child for the bullish-without-a-cause excesses of the dot-com frenzy.

 

The company's 1998 IPO, which saw it's stock price rise from $4.50 to $31.75 per share, making millions  for its two young founders and investor Michael Egan, made business section headlines around the world. Its almost as rapid fall to the brink of bankruptcy soon after, foretold the great dot-com crash that was to come.

TheGlobe, however, never really did go away. And now, after a series of acquisitions, it has reinvented itself as a VoIP company, with Egan as it's head.

VoiceGlo, which is wholly owned by TheGlobe, launched it's VoIP service publicly this week. The service, which is priced competitively with similar offerings from VoicePulse and Vonage, offers something the other providers don't: a free USB handset that connects directly to a computer bypassing the need for a terminal adapter and network router.

The use of a USB phone is a first among the major VoIP providers and offers those who travel an easier method to take their phone number with them. A terminal adaptor is probably a not good option for home and office use, however, as a USB device requires an "always-on" computer if it is to be readily available. For home use, the company is offering one of two new terminal adapters, manufactured by Innomedia — at an additional fee.

VoiceGlo is the first company offering the Innomedia terminal adaptors directly to consumers. The basic adaptor, which VoiceGlo sells for $39.99 bundled with a VoiceGlo account, and for $79.99 unlocked without VoiceGlo service, is similar to current offerings by Cisco and 8X8. The advanced adaptor, which VoiceGlo is selling for $59.99 with service and $79.99 unlocked without, features a built-in router with QOS support, which Innomedia claims improves voice quality by assuring the adaptor has top priority on a network for the bandwith it needs,

VoiceGlo, which at launch is offering numbers in 62 area codes throughout the U.S, joins Vonage as the only two companies to offer users the opportunity to port over existing phone numbers. Some Vonage users have reported, however, that number portability has not worked effectively.

The company is offering a number of service plans. A $12.99/monthly "Basic Plan" allows free calling between VoiceGlo subscribers, and calls throughout the United States and Canada for $0.03 per minute.A $32.99/monthly "Unlimited Plan" allows for unlimited calling anywhere within the U.S. and Canada. The company also offers a $44.99/monthly "Business Plan."

International calls using VoiceGlo are charged at rates similar to the other VoIP providers. For example, calls to Western Europe are billed at $0.04-$0.05 per minute, to Mexico City at $0.05 per minute, to New Delhi at $0.16 per minute, to Mozambique at $0.23 per minute and to Australia at $0.05 per minute

As additional services, VoiceGlo offers a standalone fax line for $9.99/month, and Directory Service information (411) for $0.50 a call.

For a complete list of features offered by VoiceGlo, as well as other VoIP providers, read here.

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