The New Phone.Company: Same As The Old Phone Company
Obviously, the PR folks representing phone.com don’t read my blogs closely, or they’d know I’m just not fond of these kinds of services. You’ve gotta have a really unique service for me to do anything but slam it for being unoriginal and so 2003.
The press release from phone.com, which I’m not even going to bother to reprint here, doesn’t really say anything terribly compelling, except maybe their 24×7 tech support is based in the US. The pricing is lower than market-share leading Vonage. Yawn. Oh, and more compelling features in the first half of 2008. Yawn.
The only smart, albeit customer unfriendly thing they’ve done in their service is build the cost of the ATA into the cancellation fee, which is $54.95 according to their FAQ. It’d be much more honest if they charged it upfront, but the higher startup costs would likely scare customers off. And it’s also unclear what Analog Telephone Adapter they use and whether they actually unlock the ATA when you cancel service. Since they’re basically charging you for the ATA at termination, you’d bet they’d better, but I bet they don’t.
Here’s a hint for you, phone.com: tell me why you’re different. Cost is not a valid reason, because there’s always someone cheaper. Features, well maybe but that’s weak. Everyone’s got features, too. A new, different, and maybe cheaper way to get the same old thing you’ve known forever? 2003 called, they want their VoIP marketing pitch back. US-based support? Might be a good selling point. Quite frankly, it’s the only thing you got going for you so far.