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Vonage, SunRocket: Fish, or fillets?

Catfish are really tough. 

Once, when I was a kid, I stayed at a friends cottage one weekend, and caught a good size catfish with a piece of bacon on a line.  We hauled it out of the lake, smacked it on the head with a hammer to kill it, slit it open, gutted it, and took it back down to the waters edge to clean it.  With no guts, that fish swam away!  I dove in after it, found it in about six feet of water where it had stopped, brought it back to shore, and smacked it on the head again.

The fish ended up coming home later that day, as my buddy and I were driven back to Ottawa by his dad.  It was a hot day, and that fish sat for an hour in a paper bag in the car.  At home, my Mum admired it, and then it went into the ‘fridge on a plate.  The next day, out it came.  We intended to make it into catfish fillets to go with an egg breakfast.  And you know what?  It started swimming around in the sink.  I kid you not!

Ultimately that fish became breakfast, but it certainly didn’t go easily.

The independent ITSP’s, like Vonage and SunRocket, are a bit like my catfish.  They’re a little primitive, but no matter how many smacks they take in the head, they keep on swimming.  Or maybe it’s just the story that says they’re doomed in the face of cable competition that’s like that fish. Who knows? In any case, that story has resurfaced again.  David Shabelman, writing for TheDeal.com, approaches it from an M&A point of view, suggesting a merger of Vonage and SunRocket or 8×8. Om Malik takes a numbers perspective, noting that the heavyweights continue to rack up new subscribers.

Interestingly, Om references SunRocket CEO Lisa Hook part way through his piece, saying:

Sunrocket CEO Lisa Hook told us a while back3 that the trick is fiscal discipline and introducing value added services. It is OK for a private company like Sunrocket to talk like that, but publicly traded Vonage needs to show growth – lots of it – or get punished even further by the investors.

However, according to a recent Light Reading report, Vonage may be poised to beat them to market with enhanced services.  Ouch!

And meanwhile, the cable companies keep on rolling, with results from Charter, Cablevision and Cox due soon.

Fish, or just fish fillets…  What do you think?

{ 1 comment… add one }

  • Spiderman July 16, 2007, 10:30 pm

    I think that the catfish is dead. SunRocket closed it's doors today, I don't know if they'll be back, but from where I stand it doesn't look good. If they had a larger base of monthly subscribers, maybe they would have a chance of selling the company to a larger voip provider, but with way too many of their customers paying up front, with that money gone, there isn't really any incentive for someone to pay to keep them going.

    It's too bad, they were a good company, with a good product at a good price.

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