Yesterday I met with David Bitton, the founder of Wengo. Wengo is a new company, very similar to Skype but in open source and not p2p. Skype is of course much much larger and still growing at amazing speed but Wengo while three months old, is getting its own group of fans within the opensource community around the world. They are also doing some remarkable software developments. At one point in the meeting David took out this Qtek phone with a Wengo client. I was impressed. It is a beautiful phone and the fact that operates both over wifi and gprs makes it very useful. It is a phone that is crying out “please give me FON: wifi everywhere”. It is the first good looking wifi phone I ever saw.

Now I thought that this phone being so attractive would also be terribly expensive, and I was right, over 500 dollars in the Qtek web site. But I was pleasantly shocked to see this morning at the FNAC in Les Halles that Vodafone, Orange and Bouygues are subsidizing this wifi phone. If you buy it with their one year contracts you can get it for 180 euros. How long will it be until these operators realize that with Wengo or Skype rates and their subsidies lowering the phone cost consumers will rarely use their GSM networks anymore? Or is their strategy one of accepting wifi but still knowing that there will be years until wifi has the coverage of GSM and they prefer to get you for the GSM part of the phone? Frankly I don´t know but in the meantime I think this is one of the only times I will say “merci” to Vodafone/SFR. In any case the Skype Negear wifi phone will appear in the markets in 2 months and I understand that it will be significantly cheaper although I can´t imagine that Vodafone will subsidize it! It will be nice to see a lot of wifi phones around, especially in Europe were rates are double those of North America and Schengen has yet to reach the mobile industry.

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Dago on January 20, 2006  · 

On the German ebay you can get this Qtek phone and others (Ifavorize the 8310) for as low as 300 € without a contract. Subsidized by some providers, price goes down to a breathtaking 1 €!!! You can even get contracts without monthly payments and a minimum use for as low as 90 € with this phone.

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freechelmi on February 20, 2006  · 

How can you do such an article without talking about SIP ?
You are always like , the ” wengo ” client , the skype client ….

You should say that wengo is just a SIP provider among others…

people like you just retain company names , never the standards behind it…. A compâny like FON that semms to surf on the “open” hype should not go along with skype …but the hype is here ….

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Martín Varsavsky on February 21, 2006  · 


Most people have no idea what SIP is. They just know the brands.


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