Vonage Launches Vonage World and Visual Voicemail

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Vonage Launches Vonage World and Visual Voicemail

Vonage today has announced some significant value add to their core $24.99/month unlimited plan. Vonage's Michael Tempora, Senior VP Product & Program Management told me they are announcing two new services. First, they are announcing "Vonage World" with unlimited calling across the world to over 60 countries, which covers 2/3 of the world's population (4.5 billion). The existing $24.99 plan included U.S., Canada, and five European countries. The new Vonage World adds an additional 60 countries to the plan. One of those countries is Iraq, so now spouses, friends, and family can contact their loves ones serving in Iraq.

Michael said, "That's really 60 whole countries, unlike some competitors who offer specific destinations or cities within a country. When we say it's a country that is included for unlimited we mean every place within the borders of that country. These countries represent nearly two-thirds of the world's population."

The second feature is called Vonage Visual Mail featuring unlimited speech-to-text transcription. It gives Vonage users the ability to read their voice messages. via email or SMS depending on the user's preference. In addition to email and SMS, Visual Voicemail will also be accessible via Vonage's online web portal. Michael explained, "Vonage has been offering Visual Voicemail for over a year on pay-per-user basis. When we launch this, we will be the only U.S. home phone service provider to include unlimited visual voicemail in their base plan at the flat rate of $24.99". I asked Michael which speech recognition engine they use and he said Nuance, which is well known for their very good accuracy.

I inquired, "So customers will wake up tomorrow and have this as their base package?" Michael responded, "This is available to new customers. They'll get the [Vonage] World Plan and the unlimited Visual Voicemail. For existing customers all they have to do is call and ask to migrate to the new plan. So we're sure they want it. We'll move them over with no change fees or any other issues involved."

I asked, "What is the main reason for adding so many more countries at the same $24.99 monthly plan?" Michael responded, "There's really an unmet need in the marketplace today. If you look at calling statistics in the U.S., since 2000 domestic long distance calling has fallen 6% annually. Over that same period, outbound calling from the U.S. to international destinations has increased 15% annually. With very little changing in pricing or pricing models in that industry. We think these customers have been underserved in terms of value. We did this to meet the needs of those customers who want to call internationally and not worry about calling to the store for a new calling card, or dial an access number or pay a high per minute rate from traditional carriers."

I asked, "With this announcement, how will you now compare with Comcast, traditional single-play providers such as Packet8, as far as the number of countries and price?" Michael responded, "When we launch this no one will match the breadth of countries or the unlimited calling that we will provide. No one is close to this. Nobody will reach the number of people throughout the world - 4.5 billion people - that we will reach with this offer. We think that this will be the greatest value in flat-rate calling that's offered in the U.S."

Complete Chart of Available Countries/Territories

 

Andorra

Cyprus

India**

Monaco

Singapore**

Argentina

Czech Republic

Iraq

Netherlands

Slovakia

Australia

Denmark

Ireland

New Zealand

Slovenia

Austria

Dominican Republic

Israel

Norway

South Africa

Bahamas**

Estonia

Italy

Peru

South Korea

Bahrain

France

Japan

Poland

Taiwan

Belgium

Finland

Jordan

Portugal

Thailand**

Brazil

Georgia

Kenya

Puerto Rico**

Turkey

Brunei**

Germany

Latvia

Romania

United Kingdom

Bulgaria

Greece

Luxembourg

Russia

United States**

Canada**

Guadeloupe

Macau**

Spain

U.S. Virgin Islands**

Chile

Guam**

Macedonia

Sweden

Venezuela

China**

Hong Kong**

Malaysia**

Switzerland

Zambia

Colombia

Hungary

Malta

Saipan**

 

 
** Includes calls to mobile phones


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