Friday, November 28, 2003

Forbes.com - Packet8 better than Vonage

Forbes.com: "Voice Broadband Breakout
Ben Berentson, 11.26.03, 9:08 AM ET

NEW YORK - Tobin Smith, the editor of ChangeWave.com, says he always looks for companies that lead the charge in new and novel technologies. Market watchers have been waiting for broadband voice to take off for some time now, and Smith thinks this might be the year it finally does.

Broadband voice allows you to place phone calls via high-speed Internet access connections. Higher speed, more reliable connections and a new regulation that allows telephone users to transfer their existing phone numbers from landlines to wireless and broadband phones figure to have a positive impact on this fledgling technology.

Telecom giant SBC Communications (nyse: SBC - news - people ) recently announced it was going to provide broadband voice beginning in 2004. Smith's voice Web telephony pick? Santa Clara, Calif.-based 8X8 (nasdaq: EGHT - news - people ) and its Packet8 voice broadband technology. Unlike its better-known competitor, Vonage, 8X8 is a publicly traded Nasdaq stock. It trades for just under $4 per share.

Smith is buying EGHT for a number of reasons. 'First, it has a better product than Vonage,' he says. 'Second, it just sold off its microelectronics business--it's now a voice broadband pure play. And the pricing is the killer app here: It's a flat fee, $19.95 a month for unlimited phone calls "

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