Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Unlimited nights and weekends... and home?!??!!

In the US, nearly every post-paid mobile calling plan comes with “unlimited nights and weekends”. This unlimited domestic plan offers calls any fixed or mobile number in the US outside of “normal business hours” and has become a staple of the US mobile market.

Currently T-Mobile is preparing the launch of their much-anticipated HotSpot@Home service. For a flat rate of $20/month, subscribers get unlimited calls to any fixed or mobile number in the US when the phone is connected over Wi-Fi/IP.

HotSpot@Home, as the name implies, is geared towards fixed-to-mobile substitution in the home, providing consumers no reason to use their fixed lines to make calls again.

Note that Vonage offers a similar service in the US, but for $25/month and with no seamless mobility to the GSM network.

The value of in-home calling in the US market had been set at roughly $25/month.

Then just weeks before T-Mobile’s launch, regional operator Cincinnati Bell launches “Home Run”, a calling plan similar to T-Mobile, but for just $10/month.

Wow. A 50% reduction and the services are both still in limited commercial trial state, that is aggressive pricing.

It makes me wonder, how soon do calls in the home, over Wi-Fi/IP, become 'free' with a $40 or $50/month service plan?

Is the new mantra in the US telecom market: “unlimited nights, weekends and home”

If this is the future, there are some interesting implications in the telecom market. Certainly any company looking to fixed line service revenues will be under incredible pressure, think Vonage as well as cable companies.

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