Will a low-cost cordless phone finally convince you to pull the plug on the PSTN? That’s what SunRocket and ATS hope with their scheduled announcement Tuesday of a cordless, multi-handset VoIP phone that will be available for as little as $19.99 after a rebate.
Whether or not such easy-to-use gear — or the convenience of a bundled service — will help lift troubled SunRocket out of the bottom of the VoIP provider pool is another story.
In the latest VoIP market statistics from TeleGeography, SunRocket is barely visible, trailing far behind indy compatriot Vonage and the soaring telephony businesses of the nation’s leading cable companies.
On the positive side, the ATS DECT phone (that means Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications, I had to look it up too) sounds like a winner, with its ability to steer clear of interference from other phones or the microwave oven by virtue of its using the 1.9 GHz band, like other DECT devices.
But you have to wonder if SunRocket’s service is such a lure that you would pass up some of the Skype cordless phones hitting the market, or this cool job from Philips. Or you just might wait for the promised Vonage Wi-Fi model, though you might miss a lot of calls in the meantime. (SunRocket said its ATS offering will be priced at
$69.99 $99.99 MSRP, then marked down to $69.99, then adding a $50 rebate after service activation.)
If nothing else, the bundled phone (which SunRocket’s draft press release said will be offered at “one of the nation’s largest office superstores”) might help SunRocket boost its user numbers over the 200,000 mark; according to TeleGeography, SunRocket’s current apogee is 181,000 total users, less than a tenth the size of Vonage’s market-leading mark of 2.11 million domestic subscribers. In the fourth quarter alone, cablecos Time Warner and Comcast both added bigger-than-SunRocket numbers — 211,000 for T-W, more than 500,000 for Comcast — making you wonder how much longer the SunRocket (or any indie-VoIP provider) has to ride.