Home Phone Service?

In the past I had an idea of starting an Internet-based (VoIP) home phone service. I’ve lost interest to some degree, but I did run a few market surveys to gather some data, so here’s a portion of what I learned from them.

  • 40-50% of people have a landline now (half of those have DSL/U-verse), and 25% used to.
  • Landline service is a commodity so price will be a selling point
    • … unless there is some compelling feature that makes it worth more
      • … such as simultaneous ring between home/cell/other, but not everyone needs that.
  • Value-adds that would be appreciated:
    • A local office with its own customer service (in-person or phone)
    • Better customer service overall
    • Nice features
    • Improved voice quality
  • Features customers don’t care about: getting back 7-digit dialing in an area code with an overlay
  • Competition: cell phones, POTS, VoIP provided by ISP, and maybe home cell bases (like AT&T Wireless Home Phone)
  • AT&T’s voice quality is pretty good, features are ok, customer service is ok, prices aren’t great.
  • Of those willing to pay for VoIP home phone, they would pay $16-35/month for it.
  • The fundamental things they’d expect from the service are great reliability, good price, good service, and potentially the ability to have multiple lines.
  • Biggest barriers to buying home VoIP:
    • Ability to use it during a power outage
    • Not being able to deal with a local office for customer service
    • Not having a paper/snail-mail billing option
  • Would need to have pretty compelling marketing to convince people they need it.

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