from USA TODAY: Vonage, the No. 1 Internet phone company, will unveil plans Tuesday to offer subscribers a wireless Wi-Fi phone that can make calls over the Internet at homes or at public Wi-Fi hot spots. For Vonage subscribers, the phone could amount to a kind of limited-use cell phone that would cost nothing extra.
Vonage will offer the phones to its 400,000 subscribers, who typically pay $24.99 a month for unlimited local and long-distance calls. Those customers plug a regular phone into an adapter linked to a broadband Internet line. Vonage turns the calls into data that zip across the Internet before being converted back to voice at the other end.
Now, Vonage wants to take the service a step further with Wi-Fi networks that let people surf the Internet wirelessly. With a Wi-Fi phone, they could make Internet calls from home without the need to run wires to the broadband line. Customers could use the phone number of their existing Vonage service or a new one for no extra fee.
Subscribers also could use the phones at public Wi-Fi hot spots that offer wireless Web access. Fee-based hot spots are sprouting in coffee shops, hotels and airports. Huge swaths of some cities, and entire college campuses, are becoming free hot spots.