Regional wireless carrier C Spire is the latest wireless carrier to target traditional home phone service by marketing a wireless replacement for wireline service. C Spire’s Home Phone Connect offers an unlimited local and long distance plan using wireless facilities for $20/month, with a two year contract.
Interested customers have to buy a fixed wireless voice terminal for $50 ($160 without contract), which they plug their existing home phone handsets into. They then port their existing home phone number over to C Spire and their calls are now transported over C Spire’s wireless network, bypassing the local wireline telco network. AT&T is the local incumbent telco for much of C Spire’s footprint.
The goal is to provide a seamless wireless experience – same equipment and same telephone number – for home phone service. Home Phone Connect customers do not have to be existing C Spire wireless customers nor do they have to buy an additional wireless plan. Home Phone Connect can be their only service from C Spire, according to C Spire spokesman Dave Miller. C Spire says Home Phone Connect supports E911 service.
“There’s no reason for consumers to continue to pay expensive monthly landline bills when they can switch to C Spire Wireless, keep their same phone number and get unlimited local and nationwide calling and all the usual custom calling features they’d expect from a phone service,” said Wade Smith, vice president of products and innovation for C Spire Wireless in a company press release.
It’s a similar strategy to Verizon’s Home Phone Connect service , launched back in early 2011. So similar, they even have the same name. Sprint also launched a similar product, Sprint Phone Connect , back in August 2011.
The C Spire and Sprint services seem to be closely aligned, as they appear to be using the same equipment from Axesstel, to power the service. The Axesstel unit utilizes CDMA2000 1X technology, which C Spire, Verizon, and Sprint all use. According to the CDMA Development Group (CDG), CDMA2000 1X is “… an IMT-2000 (3G) technology, designed to deliver high-quality voice and high-speed data…,” capable of handling up to 55 simultaneous voice calls per single 1.25 MHz FDD channel. Additional configurations can handle more capacity.
Wireless carriers like Mississippi-based C Spire are anxious to broaden their services and product scope, considering we’ve basically reached saturation for traditional wireless service. By going after wireline home phone service, companies like C Spire gain additional revenue opportunities, while also leveraging their 3G legacy network as more customers migrate to 4G and LTE, freeing up 3G spectrum that can be used for services like Home Phone Connect.