Linksys and Skype make VoIP consumer play

Linksys has joined with Skype to make a push into the consumer and SOHO voice over internet (VoIP) market.

The vendors have partnered to produce an internet telephony kit, the CIT200, which combines a Linksys-produced cordless phone for use with Skype's internet call application. The kit will be available from November for IT resellers and mass merchant partners via Linksys distributors Ingram Micro, Express Data, Lan Systems and Multimedia Technology.

A/NZ country manager, Graeme Reardon, said the move was designed to speed up VoIP adoption rates in the country.

"The overall goal is to grow awareness of IP calling services," he said. "They are gaining traction as people begin to see more value in VoIP."

The partnership was also an attempt to establish Linksys as an early adopter in the provision of consumer voice hardware, Reardon said.

"In Australia, our background is unknown but in the US we are already positioning ourselves in VoIP," he said. "We do the equipment for Engin through our Sipura acquisition, plus Vonage, AT&T and Verizon."

There were also plans to bring on other products alongside the Skype phone locally, he said.

With the CIT likely to have a ceiling of 10-15 users and an indoor range of 50 metres, the new offering would likely be more a mass market and consumer play, Reardon said.

"There is about 500,000 Skype subscribers in Australia already, and this product will give them the freedom to get away from the headset and PC and move around the house or office," he said.

The new product offering would not initially complement Linksys' wider home networking products because it employed the DECT radio protocol, Reardon said. But it would give consumers another reason to look at the vendor's offering.

He would not speculate on an expected take-up rate for the new offering.

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