Thursday, December 4, 2008

Vidtel Launches Video Calling Service

Vidtel, a Sunnyvale, Calif. company lead by Scott Wharton, CEO and former BroadSoft VP, has launched its videoconferencing service, which today supports video calls between Vidtel users. In addition to video calling, users can also make and receive regular voice calls to anyone in the world with a telephone number.

In 2009, Vidtel will add the capability to call other video users around the world regardless of the service or type of device they use.

That means interoperability with Skype, iChat, Google and video-enabled mobile phones (3G and 4G mobile phones), Wharton says, arguing Vidtel will create the first interconnected video calling network, offering a standard by which all video callers can call each other, regardless of service they are using.

Vidtel uses the Grandstream GXV-3000 video phone, sold separately at a cost of $199.95 plus tax. Two service plans are offered. The "Standard" plan costs $14.95 per month or $99.95 a year. The standard plan offers unlimited video calling within the Vidtel network (Vidtel-to-Vidtel customer) using a regular 10-digit phone number.

Users also can make domestic and international phone calls in addition to video phone calls. Calls within the US, Canada and Puerto Rico are 3.9 cents per minute. Enhanced 911, a dedicated telephone number, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID and call forwarding, plus enhanced features you can’t get anywhere else like video mail.

The "Premium" plan costs $29.95 per month or $249.95 a year. The premium plan includes unlimited video calling plus unlimited telephone calls within the US, Canada and Puerto Rico. Like the Standard plan, the Premium plan includes enhanced 911, dedicated telephone number, call waiting, voicemail, caller ID, call forwarding, and video mail) and simultaneous ring.

Vidtel charges a one-time account activation fee of $19.95 and shipping and handling fee of $19.95. Vidtel monthly service packages are also charged the required federal and state taxes and 911 fees.

The video mail feature allows users to send and receive video messages from friends and family. Video messages can be retrieved on the phone or in email. Video messages can be forwarded to any email address, anywhere in the world.

At present, the service requires getting a new phone number. In 2009 uesrs will be able to transfer an existing number to Vidtel.

Billing is by credit card and users obviously require a broadband Internet connection.

Wharton says target customers include family and friends who live far away. Wharton also thinks some small or medium-sized businesses might use it as an affordable conference calling system.

1 comment:

Packeteer said...

I am always surpised at this 1960's era approach. Nice industrial design and service plans. But everyone already has the required hardware (a desktop PC and webcam); and all the consumer online services mentioned above already work fine.

For business, you can use something like and meet online with multiple people, share desktops, and even encrypt your session.

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