Networking

Voice over IP independents plummet, major players pushing them out?


Comcast was Number One in VoIP subscriber growth for calendar year 2006, outselling Vonage two-to-one. VoIP popularity is rising (note Digium, the company backing the VoIP open-source software Asterisk, and their new PBX replacement). But with the impending demise of cut-rate SunRocket on August 5th, Vonage has become awfully nervous... so like any sensible business, it fights back. An improved incentive plan gives you and the new customer you refer a $50 AMEX gift card, and it adds a two month free ride for your service as well. That's a $150 marginal cost (overhead cost undermined) to pick up one typical residential customer. Its Refer-A-Friend has a tracking system which almost turns current customers into multi-level marketers. Vonage also offers SunRocket customers an incentive to switch, and it added a cheery e-newsletter to subscribers, showing how other Vonage users solve problems.

Why? Comcast's leverage; bundled discounts and packet shaping. Comcast subscribers get an introductory discount on digital cable, plus DVR, plus VOIP phone service, only if they order all three, and that leverage must have helped push SunRocket out of the nest. This method's sure to be copied by other cable companies offering VoIP service. PBS columnist and Revenge of the Nerds author Robert X. Cringely explained how packet shaping and a lack of Net Neutrality allows ISPs to prioritize packets from their servers and de-prioritize packets from VOIP and other outside providers. That explains why our home Vonage service deteriorated when we tried Comcast for a while. Have you noticed VoIP quality shrink when moving to Comcast or other unregulated carriers from regulated DSL?

9 comments
dls_cio
dls_cio

Comcast growth in VoIP protocol service results from Vonage patent legal battle during year in question - where a judgement against Vonage prevented registation of new customers.

danopp
danopp

Insight BB Cable Company offers Voip but calls it Digital phone services. For extra 40 a month but they really suck bad!! you pay 40 for 10 meg internet and 40 for phone seperate!!! But If you download or heavy use and manage to comeclose to maxing out your 10 meg net connection you will fry your phone and get really crapppy service so they make you use only halve of what you are paying for well then discount me half on my internet and phone since I can only use half of them at a time they even screwed up and tried two modems witch there system got confused over stupid idiots I only stay because of the speed and all the features included otherwise I woulde be gone

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

A year and a half ago, Comcast did some sort of "upgrade" in our region that rendered my Vonage (and many other apps that required reliable outgoing packets) useless for much of the day. More recently it has been behaving, but it will always be in the back of my mind that they are playing games with the traffic. I do think, however, that in the long run it hurt them. They lost many of my neighbors to DSL after that. And after all, if my Vonage was so totally unreliable on their network and it took them the better part of the year to fix it, why the heck would I put all of my eggs in their basket by also buying my phone service from them as well?

5linx.david777
5linx.david777

All the major companies are realizing that any percent of the 30 million new voip subscribers and the 5.1 billion in revenue by 2009 that on the table is a great position to be in. Say by by SunRocket and with financial problems for Vonage say hello to GLOBALINX. Check out 5LINX.COM

yobtaf
yobtaf

I fear that once the giants take over the VoIP business, they will just raise the prices. That's why I support net neutrality.

bookkeeper
bookkeeper

That's exactly what they want to do is raise the prices Comcast so much for 4 months wait until after the 4 months is up then see how high your bill goes up. Sheeeeesh it's getting pretty sad when you end up spending as much as a car payment just to have cable and phone and internet. It's is absolutely ridiculous. It's call how much money can we suck out of our customers.

JohnMcGrew
JohnMcGrew

They'll do it until you stop being a customer. Unfortunately for consumers, the demand curb for access to entertainment is almost completely inelastic. Too many people are way to dependant on it.

learush
learush

Have you noticed VOIP quality change when moving to Comcast (or other unregulated carriers) to or from regulated DSL?

poopka4
poopka4

Edited Message was edited by: beth.blakely@...

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