SBC What? Techdirt Not?


Techdirt has a posting on how the recent increases in the UNE-P charges is going to give VoIP a boost. Their reasoning is that since California regulators are letting SBC charge $2.60 more per line it sells to its competitors, it would result in people moving over to VoIP. Okay that is a good case in theory, but in real life.. well! Why do I say that? Most of the competitors – at least the meaningful ones like AT&T and MCI have clearly left the business, and have no plans to offer these services. VoIP is a good option, but has anyone seen those eat all you can plans from SBC. When they start pushing $100 a month for wireless, local, long distance and broadband for one hunner a month, well no reason for many to switch to VoIP. I think what Techdirt should have said, well this will accelerate the return to SBC.

As traditional phone service gets more expensive and VoIP gets cheaper it doesn’t take much for people to start to question why they’re paying more than twice as much for phone service than what someone else appears to be offering (often with more features). Most people don’t care about whether it’s VoIP or traditional phone service. They just see the same features at a cheap price as their phone bill keeps rising, and the choice is easy.

Traditional service expensive – huh? How does $50 a month sound? And VoIP ain’t cheap either. $40 a month for broadband and about $30 a month for all-you-can eat plan… its not cheap. I am no fan of SBC and their monopolistic ways but seeing voip as the panacea for all things is just one of those things that gets me going.


Mike Masnick

Passing on the costs to their wholesale buyers is the same thing as passing it on to customers of those wholesalers… You know that…

Have you looked at the details of SBC’s “unlimited long distance” for $20? I have, ’cause they bother me constantly to get me to sign up. It’s a lot less than you would get from a VoIP service provider. If you really matched them up, feature for feature, you’re spending much, much, much more on traditional phone service.

The thing is, I understand where you’re coming from, but if you talk to people signing up for VoIP, almost universally, they’re pointing to the price and saying “hmm, this is $20, and my only other options are much more expensive… and getting more expensive… so why should I bother?” So, this deal won’t raise SBC’s pricing to customers, but it will raise all their competitors (which means SBC has more room to bump up, dontchaknow?). Meanwhile, VoIP deals are cheaper and cheaper and people are buying…

No, I don’t think the independent guys will last, but they’re getting a lot of attention for folks, and it’s because of the price. Anything that forces up the price of traditional phone service is going to help VoIP providers in the near term.


Gee.. I thought the same thing that VOIP is not going to be alternative for spending less $$$ for over all communication for an individual couple of months back.

So, I guess I will endup spending no matter what, $50 for Cell, $60 for broadband and local and the asusual drill of locked out for 2 years in a carrier jail.

I dont know when I will spend just $50 for all these services..


Mike … not trashing you … its your post i had problems with and said so. i think if you ask SBC, they are not passing the price increases to their consumers. instead wholesale buyers are passing them on to their end customers. secondly, SBC is offering umlimited long distance for $20 incase you wanted to check it out.

Mike Masnick

Who’s comparing apples and oranges here?

If you want phone service and broadband, you still have to pay the extra for broadband with your phone service… so, that becomes $50 for phone service + $40 for broadband, plus whatever taxes… and wham over $100.

Looks like Lingo is still way cheaper.

Anyway, I said it was for wholesale lines, but the providers have made it clear that they’re passing that cost on to end users (actually passing on more than the cost) so my comparison stands. Your trashing of me, doesn’t.

Finally, I NEVER claimed (anywhere) that VoIP was somehow killing traditional phone service completely or that VoIP was somehow taking over. I wouldn’t have said that ’cause I don’t believe it. What I said was that more people would be willing to switch now due to the increasing pricing differential. That still seems to be true.

Man, before you trash what I said, at least read what I wrote.


Few things here
1. The Lingo Service, well $20 a month plus $40 a month for broadband and other sundry charges, it all comes to about $70 a month.
2. You were doing an apple to oranges comparison. The rate increases are for wholesale lines, not retail lines, so that’s incorrect assertion.
3. The total number of VoIP lines, well more than toes and fingers, but still less than a million lines.
4. VoIP is big, but don’t assume its status. It will be a huge industry in twenty years, and the revolution has begun. but all insurrections take time, and if DSL is an example, Bells can adapt really fast!

Mike Masnick

Hmm… Lingo is $20/month. SBC is $50/month. You tell me that’s not a compelling sell? I can no longer count on my fingers and toes the number of people I know who have ditched traditional land lines in favor of voip.

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