Wireless carriers’ assault on traditional landline phone service gained another weapon today with Sprint’s announcement of the details of its Sprint Phone Connect offering. The service, which will offer unlimited domestic calling for $19.99 per month, lets home or small business customers use a landline phone to connect to Sprint’s wireless network.
Customers will plug their phones in to a terminal manufactured by Axesstel and brought to the market by Personal Communications Devices that will be offered at no charge to customers who sign up for a two-year contract. According to an announcement issued today, PCD manages Sprint’s Tier II and III vendor relationships and assists Sprint in developing new products.
“PCD partnered with Axesstel to bring Sprint Phone Connect to market,” said Philip Christopher, CEO of PCD, in today’s announcement. “With more than 25 years of experience working with manufacturers and service providers on device certification, quality control, factory audits, field testing, managing timelines and more, PCD’s guidance ensured a rapid and efficient go-to-market process.”
“Through PCD’s long-standing relationships with major carriers in North America and its foresight into the needs of the marketplace, we are now providing Sprint with the product needed to execute on its ‘cut the cord’ strategy,” said Axesstel CEO Clark Hickock.
Sprint is pitching the new offering as a way to consolidate fixed and mobile voice services onto a single bill. Users have the option of maintaining their existing home or office phone number or activating a new one.
Features of Sprint Phone Connect include:
- Dual Band (800/1900 MHz CDMA)
- Caller ID, Call Holding, Three-Way Calling
- Two RJ-11 ports to support multiple devices
- Voicemail notification
- AGPS/E911 Service
It’s not surprising that Sprint is offering a service such as this, considering that it doesn’t have much of a traditional voice business to cannibalize. What is perhaps more surprising is that Sprint didn’t launch this idea before its rival Verizon Wireless, whose wireline sister company has a considerable voice business.
Verizon Wireless launched a service highly similar to Sprint Phone Connect back in February. Verizon calls its offering Home Phone Connect and it, too, offers unlimited calling for $20 a month by using a device similar to the one from Axesstel that is free with a two-year contract.
As Bernie Arnason noted in a post about Verizon’s Home Phone Connect when it was launched, the carrier likely views it as a way of getting some extra mileage out of its 2G/3G network as mobile customers increasingly transition to 4G.