Doug on IP Comm – An independent voice on VoIP, telecom, and IP Communication

Catchup – Vonage announces unlimited int’l voice, free visual voice mail

Posted on: August 26, 2009

Running around last week, I didn’t have a chance to post anything about Vonage’s unlimited flat-rate calling plan and the throw-in of unlimited “readable” voice mail.  So I’m playing catchup and Vonage is playing catch-up.

The “Vonage World” plan provides unlimited calling around the world to more than 60 countries, including India, Mexico and China under the current flat monthly rate of $24.99.  It is interesting that this is happening at the same time where GigaOm is reporting that Skype is going to hike its connection fees for its “non-global” countries from 3.9 cents per call to 7.9 cents — but not the per minute calls. (PS: Om, if 6 cents per call is going to discomfort you from calling your mom on the weekends, you are one cheap bastard…it is SIX CENTS P-E-R call. How many times are you calling mom, dude? Let’s see, at 10 times per month, that’s 60 cents.) *ahem*

The Visual Voicemail service will provide unlimited readable voicemail delivered via either email or SMS text message. It’s cool, if I was starting from scratch I might be tempted, especially if/when (third quarter, where is it) the mobile client for smart phones comes out.

Vonage is rolling out new products; yes this is Good for the company.  But are all these new products too late to stop the bleeding of its customer base?  Third quarter and fourth quarter numbers are going to be very interesting.

Competitors for vanilla voice are numerous. You figure all the cheapskates (see above), have migrated to Skype and other soft-client alternatives.  Impulse buyers and “What do I get <fill-in-loved-one>?” and tech geeks will be tempted by ooma’s telo product at Best Buy and Radio Shack.    Cable has been pounding away with triple play bundles and phone companies are matching them.

I’ll give the current executive management at Vonage credit — they have got the company moving, and they’re prepared to go down swinging.  But the squeeze in churn is on, bunkies…

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