Vonage

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Vonage Holdings Corp.
Vonage
Public
Traded as NYSEVG
Industry Communications services
Founded January 2001; 15 years ago (2001-01)
Edison, New Jersey, U.S.
Founders Carlos Bhola
Jeff Pulver
Jeffrey Citron
Headquarters Holmdel, New Jersey, United States
Area served
Worldwide
Key people
  • Alan Masarek (CEO)
  • David Pearson (CFO)
  • Joe Redling (COO)
Products Phone over Internet (VOIP) adapter and service subscription
Services Vonage - Home, Business, & Enterprise VoIP Phone Service Provider
Revenue Increase$221.8 million (2015)
Decrease$16.58 million (2015)
Profit Decrease$8.34 million (2015)
Total assets Increase$691.15 million (2015)
Members 2.5 million subscribers (2014)
Number of employees
1,400 (2014)
Website www.vonage.com

Vonage /vɑːnɪdʒ/ is a publicly held Internet telephony service provider, providing business and residential telecommunication services based on voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). The company was founded in 2001 and is headquartered in Holmdel Township, New Jersey.

As of 2014, Vonage reported approximately 2.5 million subscriber lines, in conjunction with mobile application services.[2] Through a series of recent acquisitions, Vonage, previously a consumer-focused service provider, expanded its presence in the business marketplace.[3][4][5]

History[edit]

The company was originally called Min-X.com and was based in Melville, New York.[6] Jeffrey Citron, former CEO and majority shareholder at DatekOnline, was the first major investor in the early development stages. In October 2000, Citron invested $1 million as seed capital.[7]

The name was changed to Vonage In December 2000, and in January 2001, Vonage incorporated and moved to Edison, New Jersey.[8]

The company first offered subscription service in the United States, then Canada in 2004 and the United Kingdom in 2005. Vonage went public on May 24, 2006.[9]

In 2005, it relocated its headquarters to Holmdel, New Jersey.[10]

Restructuring efforts[edit]

In 2006, in preparation for an initial public stock offering (IPO), Michael Snyder, former president of ADT Security Services replaced Vonage co-founder Jeffrey A. Citron as CEO.[11] Citron could not preside over the IPO, because he was permanently barred from associating with any securities brokers or dealers.[12][13][14][15] In 2007, in an apparent restructuring effort to reduce ongoing net losses in the face of double-digit stock price slips and patent infringement issues, Snyder resigned, and Citron returned as Interim CEO.[16] The company announced plans for 10% (180) layoffs, as it secured $215 million in financing.[17]

In the second quarter of 2010, with a change in management and improved sales, the company’s stock price increased,[18] and on June 15, 2010, Vonage rose 17.06 percent, $0.36 to $2.47.[19]

As part of its restructuring effort in 2010, Vonage paid off $41 million of its debt at par, negotiated the release of more than $40 million in cash from vendors and announced a comprehensive refinancing. This resulted in a $200 million, pre-payable term loan with interest rates at 9.75%. Vonage planned to get better terms by paying down debt ahead of schedule, and by achieving sustained financial performance. Between March and June 2011, Vonage prepaid $70 million, reducing the balance to $130 million, the year-end 2011 target.[20]

Initial public offering[edit]

Vonage offered shares of its stock to its existing customer base in the period before the initial public offering (IPO).[21] Typically, only large institutional investors such as banks are able to buy shares of an IPO.[22] Vonage’s initial public offering occurred on the New York Stock Exchange on May 24, 2006, opening at $17.00 per share.[9] The price closed at $14.85, a decrease of 12.7 percent, the worst trading day for any IPO in 2006 up to that point. The IPO raised $531 million for the company. However, the existing customers who lost money filed a class-action lawsuit.[23] The IPO and its immediate aftermath also earned Vonage a “Business 2.0 Magazine” award as 14th of 101 “Dumbest Moments in Business for 2006”.[24] In 2009, Vonage reached an agreement with IPO investors. All shareholder claims against Vonage and its individual directors and officers who were named as defendants were dismissed.[25][26] The amount of the settlement, $3.6 million, was paid by an insurance policy covering the directors and officers of the company.[27][28][29]

The firms underwriting the IPO, Citigroup, UBS, and Deutsche Bank, were fined a total of $845,000 and ordered to reimburse customers for "failure to adequately supervise communications" with investors.[30] NYSE regulators went so far as to investigate possible short-selling.[31]

Recent acquisitions[edit]

Beginning in 2013, Vonage acquired several companies, including:

Patent infringement law suits[edit]

On June 19, 2006, Verizon filed a lawsuit charging that Vonage infringed on five of Verizon's patents related to its VoIP service.[40] The patents describe technology for completing phone calls between VoIP users and people using phones on the traditional public switched network, authenticating VoIP callers, validating VoIP callers' accounts, fraud protection, providing enhanced features, using Wi-Fi handsets with VoIP services, and monitoring VoIP caller usage.

In 2007, Vonage launched a viral marketing campaign and website freetocompete.com, which garnered press coverage about Vonage, its campaign, the lawsuits, and issues of competition with established telecom corporations.[41][42][43][44]

On March 8, 2007 a jury found Vonage guilty of infringing three patents held by Verizon, and not guilty of infringing two other patents. The jury ordered Vonage to pay US$58 million, and a royalty rate of 5.5% of every sale to a Vonage customer, back to Verizon. Subsequent to this jury award, there were a series of appeals and intermediate stays on payment. Vonage was punitively ordered by the court to stop signing up new customers;[45] this was reversed on appeal three weeks later.[46] On November 19, 2007 Vonage agreed to pay ~$120 million in damages[47] to Verizon.

In other patent lawsuits, by December 2007, Vonage was ordered to pay $80 million to Sprint Nextel[48] and $39 million to AT&T Inc.[49] Another lawsuit with Nortel resulted in no monetary damages.[50]

2009 customer service settlement[edit]

In November 2009, Vonage agreed to an Assurance of voluntary compliance (AVC) with 32 states. The settlement followed an investigation into complaints about the marketing of Vonage services, including confusion about availability and cost, along with advertisements involving "free" services, money back guarantees and trial periods. The consumer protection agreement also addressed complaints that some consumers were prevented from canceling the Vonage service. In the settlement, Vonage agreed to pay the seven investigating states $3 million for costs, issue refunds to complainants dating back to January 2004, and change several business practices in regard to advertising and customer retention.[51][52]

Services[edit]

Vonage offers cloud communications and calling plans for residential customers and businesses, including small and medium-sized businesses, mid-market companies, and enterprises.

Business Services[edit]

Vonage offers two unified communications platforms for businesses that integrate communications services, such as video conferencing, voicemail transcription, and desktop sharing, using voice as a platform. Cloud communications services allow business customers to connect with various business applications and customer relationship management (CRM) tools through a middleware technology.[53][54]For business customers that rely on high quantities of voice, video and data communications in their day-to-day operations, Vonage provides Quality of Service over its own private Multiprotocol Label Switching (MPLS) network and via a Software Defined Area Network (SD-WAN) product.[55][56][57][58]

Residential Services[edit]

Residential services provide home phone plans using VoIP (voice over internet protocol) over a broadband internet connection, such as cable internet service or DSL. Features for Vonage home phone residential service includes voicemail transcription; 411 calling; caller ID; call waiting; do not disturb; and a network availability feature which forwards all calls to a mobile phone if Internet connectivity is lost.[59][60][61][62] Many of Vonage’s residential products offer international calling plans.[63]

Service requirements[edit]

Vonage customers must have a broadband Internet connection, such as cable Internet service or DSL, through an Internet service provider (ISP). To initiate subscription a customer must provide a billing and shipping address in the country of service. Vonage supplies an analog telephone adapter which connects a customer supplied standard analog telephone to the Internet and the Vonage service.[64]

Residents of the U.S., Canada, and the UK may subscribe to Vonage by credit card from their respective country, but the Vonage adapter can be connected to the Internet anywhere.

Usage is generally referred to as "unlimited", though Vonage has different national "fair use" policies limiting Vonage-to-phone calls to a few thousand minutes per month in the UK,[65] Canada,[66] and U.S.[67] Evidence suggests that calls are limited to a length of 3 hours and 56 minutes.

Telephone number availability[edit]

Subscribers may choose a number in the country of the service they subscribe to for their primary line, in an area code of their choice. Subscribers can obtain additional "virtual numbers" for a monthly fee. Vonage also offers virtual numbers in Mexico, Canada and Europe. While the company supports porting a U.S. telephone number via the FCC's local number portability (LNP), not every phone number is available in every area code. Additionally, customers can transfer an existing number to Vonage, which can take up to 7 to 10 business days from the time the customer completes the Number Transfer Authorization (NTA).[68]

Emergency calls[edit]

Vonage offered 911 service on a VoIP platform for the first time in 2003.[69] For 911 location services to work, subscribers must activate the 911 calling feature by registering their full address with the company. Customers are responsible for maintaining their 911 location information at all times.[70]

If a customer dials 911 before the 911 verification is completed, the call will usually be routed to a national 911 call center where basic information must be given (name, location, nature of emergency, etc.), after which the call is transferred to a local public service answering point, like a local Police Department.[71][72]

Quality of service and equipment compatibility[edit]

VoIP service relies upon consistent broadband-ISP uptime and VoIP-equipment compatibility with the ISP's modem. Although VoIP was initially optimized for voice, some fax equipment can be operated over VoIP,[73][74][75] but compatibility of monitored alarm systems and other devices is less certain.[76] Vonage offers "specially commissioned" Fax Line service.[77] Vonage recommends customers keep a basic traditional landline dedicated to their home alarm system and use Vonage for the rest of their calling needs.[78]

Vonage implements Voice over IP sending audio via RTP and signaling via SIP.[79]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Oster, Erik (June 18, 2015). "FCB Garfinkel Touts 'The Business of Better' for Vonage". AdWeek. 
  2. ^ Vonage Investor Relations FAQs. Vonage.com.
  3. ^ Burton, Jim (December 18, 2015). "Clark Peterson of Vonage Business on UCaaS". Unified Communications Strategies. 
  4. ^ Galbraith, Craig (November 4, 2015). "Business Services, Acquisitions Drive Vonage Revenue Up". Channel Partners. 
  5. ^ Kenwell, Bret (November 7, 2014). "New Vonage CEO Intends to Grow Corporate Biz, Launch New Products". The Street. 
  6. ^ Empson, Rip (July 11, 2013). "Vonage Co-Founder And VoIP Pioneer Jeff Pulver's Next Call: Zula, A WhatsApp For Business". TechCrunch. 
  7. ^ Richtel, Matt (June 3, 2006). "Is Vonage Sinking Or Coming Up for Air?; Stock's Dive at Debut Is Among the Deepest Seen in Recent Years". New York Times. 
  8. ^ "Jeff Pulver (Co-founder of Vonage, Zula)". Startup Grinder. 
  9. ^ a b Vonage Investor Relations FAQs. Vonage.com
  10. ^ Colella, Joanne (2005-05-12). "Vonage moves corporate headquarters". Vonage.com. Archived from the original on 2006-04-08. 
  11. ^ Reardon, Marguerite. "Vonage shuffles management". CNET. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  12. ^ Shaw, Russell (2005-08-25). "Report: Vonage CEO's past woes won't block Vonage going public". ZDNet. Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  13. ^ "Administrative Proceeding File No. 3-11031 In the Matter of Jeffrey A. Citron". SEC. 2003-02-06. Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  14. ^ Barboza, David (2003-01-15). "Online Brokers Fined Millions In Fraud Case". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  15. ^ Boorstin, Julia (2004-03-01). "Talk Gets Cheaper: Jeffrey Citron's last venture got him banished from trading stocks. Now he's getting aggressive in a hot new industry-routing phone calls over the Internet.". CNN. Retrieved 2016-05-08. 
  16. ^ Weiss, Todd (April 12, 2007). Vonage CEO resigns, Company Moves to Cut Costs. ComputerWorld.com.
  17. ^ Gardner, W. David (April 12, 2007). Vonage Prepares To Cut Workforce 10%. Information Week.
  18. ^ "Vonage Holdings Corp. Reports Second Quarter 2010 Results". Vonage.com. Press release. August 4, 2010.
  19. ^ "Vonage Holdings, Energy Recovery: Biggest Price Gainers (VG, ERII)". Wall Street Journal. June 15, 2010. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  20. ^ "Vonage Holdings CEO Discusses Q2 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript". SeekingAlpha.com. August 3, 2011. Retrieved 2012-10-09.
  21. ^ "Vonage | Investor Relations | Stock Information | Stock Quote & Chart". ir.vonage.com. Retrieved 2016-04-26. 
  22. ^ "Initial Public Offerings." Investorguide.com
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  24. ^ Horowitz,A.; Jacobson, D.; McNichol, T.;, Thomas, O. (March 7, 2007) "101 Dumbest Moments in Business #14: Lose all your money at the low, low rate of 2 cents per minute". CNN.com, Business 2.0. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
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  28. ^ "Vonage Holdings Corp. Announces Agreement in Principle to Settle IPO". Vonage.com. 
  29. ^ "In Re Vonage Initial Public Offering (IPO) Securities Litigation" (PDF). 
  30. ^ Shwiff, Kathy (September 24, 2009). Citi, UBS, Deutsche Fined Over Vonage IPO Wall Street Journal.
  31. ^ "Citi, UBS, Deutsche Bank fined over Vonage IPO". Reuters.com. September 22, 2009.
  32. ^ Karkaria, Urvaksh (October 10, 2013). "Vonage picks up Atlanta's Vocalocity for $130M". Atlanta Business Chronicle. 
  33. ^ Ringle, Hayley (November 7, 2014). "Vonage acquiring Scottsdale's Telesphere for $114 million". Phoenix Business Journal. 
  34. ^ Chuang, Tamara (April 1, 2015). "Vonage buys Denver's SimpleSignal in move to dominate business VoIP". Denver Post. 
  35. ^ Koblalka, Dan (March 16, 2015). "Vonage Buys SimpleSignal for $25.25 Million". Talkin’ Cloud. 
  36. ^ La Monica, Paul (June 1, 2015). "Woo Hoo Hoo! Former Google exec wants to turn around Vonage". CNN Money. 
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  38. ^ Galbraith, Craig (November 4, 2015). "Business Services, Acquisitions Drive Vonage Revenue Up". Channel Partners. 
  39. ^ Corp., Vonage Holdings. "Vonage Holdings Corp. to Acquire Nexmo, Inc., Second Largest CPaaS Company Globally". www.prnewswire.com. Retrieved 2016-11-02. 
  40. ^ Reardon, Marguerite (June 19, 2006). "Verizon sues Vonage for VoIP patent infringement". CNET News. Retrieved 2010-03-13. 
  41. ^ Mohr, Jakki J.; Sengupta, Sanjit; Slater, Stanley F. (2009). Marketing of High-Technology Products and Innovations (3 ed.). Prentice-Hall. p. 393. ISBN 978-0-13-604996-8. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
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  48. ^ Bangeman, Eric (October 8, 2007). "Vonage, Sprint settle patent dustup for $80 million". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  49. ^ Eddy, Nathan (December 26, 2007). "Vonage, AT&T Agree On Patent Lawsuit Settlement". ChannelWeb.com. Retrieved 2010-03-13.
  50. ^ Gershberg, M. (NY) & Khandelwal, P. (Bangalore) (December 31, 2007). "Vonage, Nortel settle patent dispute". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-05-14.
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  52. ^ "Settlement fixes alleged hang-ups with Vonage's billing practices". Washington State Attorney General. November 16, 2009. 
  53. ^ "Vonage:Helping Businesses Grow by Improving Phone Systems". CIO Review. 2016. 
  54. ^ Harris, Daniel. "Is Vonage right for your small business?". Software Advice. 
  55. ^ Kerravala, Zeus (July 26, 2016). "Vonage's cloudy strategy is now clear". Network World. 
  56. ^ Schultz, Beth (June 28, 2016). "CPaaS Oligarchy in the Making?". No Jitter. 
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  58. ^ Furrier, John (March 7, 2016). "Vonage's big push at Enterprise Connect 2016". SiliconANGLE. 
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  67. ^ "Reasonable use policy". Vonage.com.
  68. ^ Number Transfer – FAQs Vonage.com
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  70. ^ FCC Consumer Advisory: VoIP and 911 Federal Communications Commission
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  72. ^ "Traditional 911 and Vonage 911 Dialing". Vonage.com Support.
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  76. ^ Jones, Paul E.(Ed.); Salgueiro, Gonzalo(Ed.) et al. (November 17, 2009) SIP Forum - Fax Over IP Task Group Problem Statement. Internet Engineering Task Force IETF.org SIP Forum. Retrieved 2010-03-30.
  77. ^ Vonage Fax Line provides the convenience of a dedicated fax number. Vonage.com
  78. ^ Using an alarm system and Vonage. Vonage.com Template:404 Link
  79. ^ Vonalink (October 11, 2006). "Vonage Protocols". Vonage. Retrieved November 26, 2013. 

External links[edit]