Blinded by Free VoIP?

I hate to sound like a broken record but I am concerned with VoIP service providers who are competing on price alone. Let me tell you right now that if your strategy is to compete almost exclusively on price your lifespan will not be very long. Free ATA, free months, free this, free that… Enough already.

The reason for my concern is that we are educating consumers that they should expect VoIP to be more and more inexpensive. The question worth asking is why? Mr. or Mrs. Service Provider, are you making money? Can you afford a long-term strategy of dirt cheap calling?

There are hundreds if not thousands of VoIP providers and many of them do charge and if the only way to get customers is to give away free or close to free minutes, we are all doomed.

Remember there will always be someone with deeper pockets giving away more than you!

My solution has always been the same. Come up with new services that woo customers and get them to pay more. Have the best quality. Support video. Have a snazzy WiFi phone. Have one-click conference calling where your customers can simply press a single button on your site and they are rapidly connected to their family or friends.

Stop with all this free, free, free stuff. You will kill your own company and the industry at the same time. Focus on providing customers with something new and exciting.

Here is another idea. Approach a company like Kodak and try to integrate your phone service into their Kodak EasyShare Gallery (formerly ofoto) so that Kodak customers can rapidly connect to friends and family through their EasyShare address book.

Service providers are thinking short term. You can’t all be bought out by Verizon if that is your plan. Start focusing on getting high-value customers that generate profit and stop being blinded by the lure of providing free VoIP service.

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