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Four predictions: how the VoIP phone price-war will play out

Viper Networks' vPhone is among the lowest-priced IP phones I've seen.Lists at $52.

Viper Networks' vPhone is among the lowest-priced IP phones I've seen.

Lists at $52.95, which sure as swell beats the "VoIP phones will cost less than $100 before this year is over" prediction I made several months ago.

I now make a new prediction. Four of them, actually:

1. Before the year is out, we'll see IP phones as low as $29.99. Keep in mind these will be phones without the screen-in-device controls of more expensive Cisco models, but they will do their job, to make the VoIP call.

2. To compete, vendors of feature-rich models will spawn new, lower-end phones, competitive in price with the call-only IP phones, but with at least some onscreen call control and call management functionality ported from their more upscales cousins.

3. By this time next year, the discount IP phone makers will feel the need to respond in kind, and offer modest on-set call management functionality.

OK, where is this all headed? I'm on a roll now, so let's go for a fourth prediction:

In two to three years time, there will be so many IP phones for different needs and tastes, that the Analog Terminal Adapter (which connects a standard phone to a VoIP line) will start to become a piece of legacy hardware kind of like your old VCR player has become in the DVD age.