Is Vonage's day finally done? It certainly seems that it might be the case.
Over the weekend a good friend phoned me about his home office. He does three or four hours of business calling per day, and wants to start doing more of it from home. He wanted to know what the best choice for phone service for him might be. "What about Vonage? Skype? How's the Quality?"
I suggested he try Skype and something pretty radical… "How about just going with the phone company?", I suggested. Bell Canada has a $25 / month add-on which gives unlimited North American calling. Add that to Bell's $35 / month and for $60/month you have the same services that Vonage supplies.
Now, I can just hear you all clamouring "Vonage is $20 cheaper!". True. My experience with Vonage on DSL, which is what my friend is using for broadband, isn't one that I'd recommend for business calls.
So he's going to try SkypeOut to see if he can live with the quality and likely he will also get that second Bell line.
Bell has demonstrated that they can match the pricing of VoIP services like Vonage, and they can do it on high quality PSTN circuits. So where does that leave VoIP? What about Vonage? Well, it's time to evolve. Applications and other value added services have to become the new money makers. We've been talking about these services for years, but it seems as if 2007 is the year they must become reality.
And here's some historical perspective.
- I penned a little ditty called the Voice 2.0 Manifesto a couple of years back suggesting some directions.
- The spiritual godfather of the VoIP industry, Jeff Pulver, has been writing about Purple Minutes since at least 2000.
- Andy Abramson has been theming his talks Me Too, Me Also, Me Different for some time as well.
- And the grand man of disruptive voice services, Martin Geddes, explains why he has gone cold on VoIP.