RealTime IT News

Vonage Goes North for Growth

Internet telephony provider Vonage has increased its presence in Canada, drawn by a high broadband penetration and tech-savvy population.

The firm has announced that RadioShack Canada will sell its flat-rate service in 550 stores across the country. Financial terms of the partnership were not disclosed.

This is Vonage's first retail channel deal north of the border and is designed to build on the company's direct online sales efforts.

In addition, the Edison, N.J.-based firm established a corporate office in Mississauga, Ontario. Vonage's Canadian operations will be run from the facility by industry vet Bill Rainey.

Rainey, president of Vonage Canada, was most recently senior vice president of commercial services at GT Group Telecom, a national Toronto-based telecommunications company.

A spokesman for privately held Vonage declined to break out how many of the company's 300,000 North American customers live in Canada.

Consumers and small businesses can choose an area code from 14 major areas in six provinces, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Halifax.

International virtual phone numbers are also available. The secondary numbers ring to the primary Vonage Canada line, saving callers money.

According to a September U.S. Federal Communications Commission report, Canada ranks higher than the United States in terms of residential broadband penetration -- the number of subscribers per 100 people.

Canada has 11.2 subscribers per 100 residents compared to the United States, which has 6.9 subscribers per 100 residents, the study found.

Besides Canada, Vonage has also earmarked a chunk of its recent venture capital financing for expansion to Latin America and Asia. The process is already under way in the United Kingdom.