Vonage users can now use their Vonage VoIP service remotely through Vonage’s newest standard feature: Vonage Extensions.
Vonage announced the feature a week ago in a company press release:
“The move allows customers to use Vonage's signature unlimited international calling plans from their mobile phones to call friends and family abroad. The new service offering -- Extensions -- is free to all Vonage customers.”
All Vonage users have to do to use Vonage Extensions is register a non-Vonage phone number such as an office or mobile phone, in their online Vonage account. Calls to the Vonage access number from that number are free.
The Vonage Extension feature allows subscribers to call internationally, with Vonage rates, on other phones. For example, if you have the Vonage World calling plan, you have access to that service on your Vonage Extension-registered phone.
"About 50 percent of the international calls from the U.S. are made from a mobile phone," said Mike Tempora, senior vice president of product management for Vonage in an interview with CNET. "Most people use a calling card or pay high rates from a wireless carrier. So we felt this was a great opportunity to extend our service to these customers."
In a way, Extensions is in direct competition with Skype and VoIP calling card services like Rebtel.
Skype users with a paid subscription get a Skype access number. Rebtel works similarly: you get a unique local phone number for any number of international contacts which allows you to make an international call at local calling prices.
Compared to these two services, Vonage’s new plan is a little more limited: you can only use Extensions with a US phone number to use the service.
Vonage Extensions does beat smartphone apps that allow users to make VoIP calls using data instead of wireless minutes. With Vonage Extensions, users don’t need a phone with Internet access to use the service.
"What is different about Extensions is that it works on any phone," Tempora said, as reported by CNET. "You don't need to a smartphone or an advanced feature phone."
I wonder if Vonage will allow subscribers to register multiple phones, for an extra cost. It seems like that would be the natural progression with this sort of feature, especially if a lot of people begin using it.