Sprint announced new initiatives to provide cable companies a more competitive converged IP voice product. The new services feature TV and PC caller ID and unified messaging and target cable companies of all sizes. Massilion Cable of Ohio and Blue Ridge Communications of Pennsylvania are the first launch partners for the new converged services portfolio. “It’s not enough anymore to simply deliver the same phone service the telephone companies provide,” said Mike Smith, director-Marketing, Sprint Wholesale Services. “As customers’ lives change, so do their communications needs. We are delivering solutions that will enable customers to better manage their in-home communications.” The new services include:
- Caller ID to the TV – Delivers notifications of an incoming caller’s name and telephone number to the customer’s TV screen before the phone rings
- Caller ID to the PC – Delivers notifications of an incoming caller’s name and telephone number to the customer’s PC screen before the phone rings
- Enhanced Voicemail Services – Delivers advanced voicemail features, such as Find Me Follow Me, Web Management, Fax Capability, Voicemail to Email, Call Screening, and Auto Attendant functionality
- SMS Notification/Home Voicemail Alert – Allows the customer to receive an SMS text message to their cell phone when someone leaves a voice message on their home phone. The message includes the telephone number of the party who left the message, so the customer can decide whether to return the call to their home phone to check the voice message
Sprint has a long history of partnering with cable companies for IP powered voice services. They currently support fourteen cable companies with IP voice products, passing 31 million households, with a current IP voice subscriber base of 4.5 million. Companies like Massilion and Blue Ridge see the new Sprint portfolio as arming them to compete with local telephone companies. “Enhanced voice service offerings help us to achieve this by delivering a unique, personalized experience that unifies our VoIP, video and broadband offering,” said Bob Gessner, president, Massillon Cable TV in a Sprint company statement. Sprint is partnering with Integra5, Strata Group, and Streamwide for the new product portfolio.
With these initiatives, Sprint is targeting tier 2 and 3 cable companies who unlike they’re tier 1 brethren, can’t develop these types of product portfolios on their own. In so doing, Sprint is helping to expand the competitive battle between cable and telco beyond tier 1 markets.
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