Who's Winning Consumer VOIP Battle?

Peter : On Rad's Radar?
| Peter Radizeski of RAD-INFO, Inc. talking telecom, Cloud, VoIP, CLEC, and The Channel.

Who's Winning Consumer VOIP Battle?

When you look at the numbers, the companies winning the consumer VOIP battle appear to be the cable operators. Ike Elliott has a post about Over-the-top VoIP Providers dying in the residential space. Vonage is spending $65M per quarter to maintain its subscriber numbers at 2.6M. It's churn is barely being replaced by new customers. Cheap folks are flocking to Skype and its look-alikes, MagicJack (don't get me started!) and T-Mobile cell & VoIP plans.

8x8 decided wisely a year ago to focus on Business customers, which have an average of 7 lines and $252 in ARPU. That beats the sub-$40 ARPU of Vonage.

MagicJack is $20 per YEAR. I don't see how that will work out. Plus talking to folks on it sounds like there is tissue paper being crinkled on the line. It doesn't stop people from using it.

SunRocket imploded. ATT CallVantage is on hold. deltathree is tanking. Over-the-top Consumer VoIP is almost over. I think UC and Hosted PBX is a better play - and it is what people will pay for. One number. Find-me. Unified voicemail box. VM-2-email. Combined address book. And I guess calling International often, but that's what calling cards are for.

All-you-can-eat cellular plans are also going to be a landline replacement, as RBOCs are learning. T-Mobile is hoping so with @Home.

Not everyone cares about the call quality - as you can see from the number of folks that spend all day on cell phones and the millions that use over-the-top VoIP. Also, Skype and other PC-to-PC and PC-to-phone apps. If I am trying to make a connection with a prospect or solve a problem for a client, I want to HEAR it. Give me a POTS line or my CallVantage line any time.

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1 Comment

As we trust your opinion, it would be super helpful if you could consider writing a fresh article (2009) that compares standard VOIP services. Here's why.

As you so correctly noted, in the past couple of years, there have been a number of VOIP services sprouting out (and many dying, too). There seems to be a dearth in trustworthy reviews of VOIP services, as many of the review boards out there are biased (due to affiliate relationships).

While Vonage is still the big name out there, many, including, myself, hesitate to sign up since the company (VNG) is basically a penny stock and could go under. I jumped ship from Vonage when they were near bankruptcy a couple of years ago, and signed up for ATT CallVantage, a fantastic service, only to find out this year that they are closing that unit down by the end of 2009.

In certain areas, especially the San Francisco Bay Area, cities block the big players such as Comcast, Verizon, etc. from offering their services, in favor of city's local cable companies, i.e. San Bruno Cable. The problem is that the local cable companies cannot port numbers from outside their area code. So, consumers, like me, cannot port our precious numbers.

The question is if VOIP (for small businesses and consumers) is here to stay, and which companies are the best bet to entrust your business phone and fax number to, outside of the big guys.

If we go with a PBX for our small business, who's the most reliable? Can any of them handle fax?

Thanks for your consideration in writing an article on this topic. It would be immensely helpful to your readers, since we trust your perspective.

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