frontierBusiness customers are the target market for a new service from Frontier Communications that enables text messaging for landline phone numbers.

“Most people, including your customers, prefer to communicate by texting,” says Frontier on a web page dedicated to the new service.” And now, you can text them too – without acquiring or promoting a new mobile number.”

Underlying Frontier’s offering is cloud infrastructure from Zipwhip. To use the service, Frontier customers install software on their personal computer or use a browser interface to compose a message and enter the phone number to which they want to send the message. The message is sent to the Zipwhip cloud, which sends it as a text message to the recipient.

Inbound text messages also go through the Zipwhip cloud, which sends the messages to the business customer’s computer and, if desired, to other devices such as smartphones as well. All messages are stored in the Zipwhip cloud.

Pricing for the service begins at $4.99 a month for 250 monthly text messages when purchased as part of a “qualifying package” or $7.99 when not purchased in a qualifying package. A premium “Enterprise” version of the service includes unlimited texting and other capabilities such as unlimited auto reply, scheduled texting and group texting for $99.99 to $124.99 a month, depending on whether the service is purchased as part of a package. There is also a medium-level offering that sells for $19.99 to $24.99 a month and includes unlimited texting but not some of the other bells and whistles.

The Enterprise offering throttles text messages at a rate of 10 per minute, while the other two offerings throttle messages at a three-per-minute rate.

Frontier Texting is the company’s latest initiative aimed at eking as much value as possible out of its dwindling landline business. Back in May Frontier CEO Maggie Wilderotter said the company was planning a low-cost emergency-only phone service that would provide the capability to dial only 9-1-1 and the phone company over a traditional landline connection. That service aims to ensure that people can reach help even during a power outage.

Last year the company launched a promotion that offers broadband at $19.99 a month without a contract if the customer also purchases landline voice service.

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