(Nasdaq: EGHT - News), the Packet8 broadband VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and videophone communications service provider and CounterPath Solutions, Inc. (OTC Bulletin Board: CTPS - News) today unveiled 8x8's latest VoIP service, Packet8 Softalk™, a co-branded, video-enabled SIP softphone for use with the Packet8 residential, video and Virtual Office Internet phone services.
Developed using CounterPath's software development kit (SDK), Softalk enables subscribers to make and receive voice and video phone calls directly on their personal computers without the need for a regular analog phone. All that is required is a desktop or laptop personal computer running Microsoft Windows with built-in or external speakers and microphones or a computer headset.
Packet8 Softalk™ will be offered in two plans, Basic and Premium, beginning Q1 2006. Packet8 Softalk™ Basic allows unlimited IP to IP ("in-network") voice and video calling between Softalk users and existing Packet8 voice and videophone subscribers free of charge. There is no activation or disconnect fee for the Basic service.
Packet8 Softalk™ Premium and Softalk Virtual Office will offer the same toll free in-network calling as well as outbound calling to the PSTN (public switch telephone network) along with all the Packet8 advanced calling features including voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding and many more for $5.99 per month and a one-time activation fee of $9.99. Softalk Premium users will get 500 minutes of outgoing and incoming minutes on calls throughout the US and Canada. Softalk Virtual Office is priced at $5.99 per month for 200 minutes of calls to the U.S. and Canada. Each additional minute will be billed at 1.9 cents per minute, with outgoing international minutes billed at the current Packet8 international rates.
"With the launch of Packet8 Softalk™, we are not only providing potential new customers with an opportunity to test Packet8 service, we are also giving our existing Packet8 subscribers an easy way to access their service even while they are away from the home or office," said 8x8 Vice President of Sales & Marketing Huw Rees. "Packet8 Softalk™ can be downloaded to a laptop so that when a subscriber travels all they need to do is go online to make phone calls and get all the great benefits of the Packet8 service."
"8x8 has built a very compelling value proposition for its customers," said Donovan Jones CounterPath's Vice President Sales & Marketing. "As business and residential customers maximize the benefits from IP communications, softphones which allow for high quality Voice, Video and IM, will become a critical component of a service provider's offering. Through our licensing agreement, we are looking forward to further augmenting 8x8's service offerings with high quality, rich, robust applications."
Both Packet8 Softalk™ plans can be downloaded from the Packet8 website, http://www.packet8.net, free of charge. In addition to a PC or laptop, the equipment required to use Packet8 Softalk™ includes a headset and microphone or USB phone. For video use, a standard, off-the-shelf webcam is required to send images, though none is required to receive video images. With a small footprint installer, SIP standards compliant Packet8 Softalk™ runs on Windows operating systems that run personal computers (PCs). Packet8 Softalk™ uses advanced audio and video compression algorithms.
VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service provider 8x8, Inc. offers internet-based telephony solutions (http://www.packet8.net/) for individual, residential and business users as well as small to medium sized business organizations. In addition to regular Packet8 VoIP service plans, priced as low as $19.99 per month for unlimited anytime calling to the U.S. and Canada, 8x8 offers the Packet8 VideoPhone, the industry's first stand alone broadband consumer videophone with worldwide video calling for $19.99 per month. Packet8 Virtual Office, 8x8's VoIP solution for small to medium sized businesses, is a hosted PBX service comprised of powerful business class features. For additional company information, visit 8x8's website at http://www.8x8.com/.
CounterPath Solutions is a developer of award-winning, high-quality, carrier-grade VoIP (Voice over IP) and Video over IP SIP softphones for service providers, cable operators, Internet telephony service providers, IP PBX manufacturers and OEMs. CounterPath's SIP softphones are available either pre-configured or as a software development kit (SDK), and provide VoIP (Voice over IP), Video over IP, IM (Instant Messaging), and Presence functionality. eyeBeam -- CounterPath's feature-rich SIP Video over IP softphone with IM and Presence -- recently received both Communications Solutions' Magazine's and INTERNET TELEPHONY® Magazine's "Product of the Year" Award for 2004. CounterPath's Pocket PC SIP Softphone was recently named a 2005 Innovation Award winner from INTERNET TELEPHONY® magazine. With over 120 customers in more than 30 countries, CounterPath technology is deployed in more than 5,400,000 IP endpoints worldwide.