A Brief History Of Vonage

Vonage Extensions is a mobile app for VoIP

Vonage was one of the first providers of VoIP technology which emerged in the middle of the 1990’s as the internet began its inexorable rise to becoming the juggernaut it is today. There were a number of rivals around at the time most famous of which was Skype, however it was Vonage that was the true pioneer of VoIP and the company most people came to associate with the technology at the time. Most people don’t know this but VoIP services started in 1995 by a company called VocalTec which allowed one internet user to call another using an internet phone that the company pioneered that connected to the microphone and speakers of a PC. The only issue was that both users had to have PC’s running the same software.

What It Does

If you were around back in the late 90’s and the start of the century you will remember just how slow internet connections were and the horrific sound that dial up modems used to produce when connecting to the world wide web. Back then, there was no such thing as the “always on” internet”. In 2001 Vonage launched its first offering using that backbone under the brand Min-X. It subsequently changed its name to Vonage.

The company was founded by CEO Jeffery Citron and was headquartered in Melville New York. It then moved to Edison New Jersey in 2001 and then again made its final move to its present headquarters in Holmdel New Jersey in 2005. The company advertised itself as having revolutionised the telecommunications industry and began its life by providing residential VoIP subscription services in the United States for just US$2.99 a month. The company then expanded its operations to Canada in 2004 and launched its UK business a year later in 2005.

Vonage Vs Skype

Skype arrived on the scene a couple of years after Vonage in 2003. Both provided VoIP services that worked on a variety of devices but there were two main differences. Skype uses peer-to-peer networks to manage calls whilst Vonage uses Session Initiation Protocol. Skype calls are encrypted whilst Vonage calls are not. Both companies allow users to make free calls to other users with the same app and it is possible to make calls over a Wi-Fi or 4G network. Video calling has also become a key functionality of both services. Vonage can be installed on landlines PC’s and Mac’s. iPhones and Android devices also support Vonage and the company now focuses its efforts on enterprise customers and is diversifying away from its traditional user base of residential customers.

Loads Of Money

Vonage was one of the first mainstream VoIP providers in the early 2000’s at the height of the dotcom bubble and was able to raise huge amounts of funding. The company went public in 2006, raising US$531 million in the process.  Traditional telecoms companies were not thrilled with Vonage whom they resented for using their infrastructure to deliver an over the top (OTT) service. Nevertheless, the traditional telecoms companies had to accept that the genie was out of the bottle and VoIP is a technology that is here to stay. Vonage is still around to this day which is remarkable considering how many tech companies have disappeared over the years and its business continues to thrive.