Insightful analysis and commentary for the US and global equity investor
Contributors: Douglas McIntyre Jon C. Ogg

Previous Posts

Friday, November 17, 2006


The ViOP bandwagon is getting fairly full. After early service like Ebay's Skype and Vonage signed on millions of customers, the cable companies (especially Comcast and Time Warner) found the ViOP was a good way to steal customers from their telecom competitors. It has worked so well that 5.1 million of the US VoIP subscribers as measured at the end of September took their service from cable providers. The total number of US customers rose to 8.2 million, up from 3.5 million a year ago.

One of the complaints about VoIP, especially early versions, is the customers needed a PC or special adapters to make the service work. The experience was different from simply picking up a telephone and dialing. Other knocks against VoIP is the it had no 911 service. That is changing. Of course, if electricity is off, VoIP doesn't work either. They are still working on that one.

Thomson, the big French electronics firm, is beginning to offer a new VoIP handset, made by GE. (One has to wonder why GE does not market the product on its own.)

Thomson's product will be sold to subsribers of SunRocket, a US VoIP service with 170,000 subscribers. The new device can simply plug into a high-speed internet line and it works as a normal phone would. If you have SunRocket service. Companies like Uniden already have similar products.

Why Thomson would market a phone exclusively with one of the smaller VoIP companies is puzzling. The firm is locking itself out of over 95% of the US market.

Thomson may be dumb, but VoIP is gaining ground like a house on fire, and that will continue.

Douglas A. McIntyre can be reached at He does not own securities in companies that he writes about.

Powered by Blogger