Vonage Holdings is adding unlimited free calls to countries including China, plus speech-to-text conversion of voicemail, to its fixed-line VoIP (voice over internet protocol) service.
Vonage will let subscribers call more than 60 countries and territories as part of a flat-rate calling plan called Vonage World, priced at US$24.99 per month. The countries include China and in more than a dozen of those countries, including China, calls to mobile phones are included.
Vonage World will also include the ability to have Vonage voicemail messages converted into text and sent to the recipient via e-mail or SMS (Short Message Service).
At $US24.99 it is not that great a bargain. There are other schemes which, tailored precisely, get much the same result for less money. And, judging by the illustration, not all users of the service are totally delighted.
Vonage, which went public in 2006 and was promptly sued by Verizon for alleged patent infringement, lost subscribers and reported falling revenue in this year’s second quarter. However, it recorded its first profit in the quarter, a net income of $0.01 per share.
PC World says that Vonage reported on Aug. 5 that it lost 89,000 subscribers in the second quarter, ending the period with about 2.5 million lines in service. Its revenue also fell slightly. This is no surprise. This is a desperately competitive market. What cost thousands of dollars a month four or five years ago is now available for a fraction of that. Vonage will have to do better to win in this intensely competive market.