October 30, 2004
For Whom the Bell Tolls
I don’t understand why everyone in the world hasn’t yet signed up for VOIP services from companies like Vonage. We just did it a couple of weeks ago at home. In terms of quality, it’s virually indistinguidhable from a POTS land line. You can have as many numbers as you want on the same account. TiVo works with it. You can keep your old phone number. There are no minimums and no contracts. They don’t have to come to your house to get it to work. They’ve even figured out how to get 911 and 311 to work with it.
It’s got tons of other cool features, as well, but even if all you do with it is use it like your old phone or fax line, all it costs is $15/month with a $40 startup cost for 500 minutes/month (they also have $25/month for unlimited calling). I hate to sound like an ad for the thing, but it’s just a better way of having a phone at home. The only real risk is an outage with your cable modem, and while that does happen from time to time, most people now have cell phones as a backup, and if your modem is out, calls go straight into voicemail.
We’ve had one or two phone lines at home forever and bounced around over the years from Verizon to Sprint to AT&T depending on who had the best deal of the month. No matter which carrier we’ve used, we don’t use our home phone that much, and we’ve always paid between $50-100/month per line for the privilige. No longer!
Anyway, I don’t know much about Vonage, and they may have tons of competitors. From a business perspective, then, I don’t know who is going to win this war…but as my board member Greg Sands says, I certainly know who’s going to lose it. I wouldn’t want to be a big old phone company today!