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Wifi handset debuts

IP solutions firm UTStarcom has launched a portable wifi handset for voice over IP (VoIP) calls, a week after Skype announced its first handset that doesn’t need a PC to work.

The F3000 has a full-colour 1.8″ LCD screen, the ubiquitous polyphonic ringtones, SMS and talk-time of up to three hours.

“We are seeing massive growth in demand for mobile Voice-over-IP devices as the number of public wifi hotspots and prevalence of wireless routers in people’s homes and offices increases,” said Youssef Kassissia, VP EMEA, UTStarcom. “This, combined with the international roaming charges levied by operators, is encouraging consumers to look to wireless VoIP as a cost-effective alternative to traditional mobile telecommunications, both at home and abroad.”

Last month, analyst firm Point Topic released a report suggesting the number of subscribers to retail voice over IP (VoIP) services rose by 83 per cent during 2005. Another report, from Continental Research, predicts that almost two million British adults have used their computers to make phone calls in the past year.

The firm interviewed 3,000 adults as part of its own VoIP report and found that 48 per cent of the VoIP calls made from the UK last year were made using Skype.

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