It’s like déjà vu all over again. Last month, Paul had reported that Vonage will start a wireless service, reselling Earthlink’s MuniFi offerings. Vonage Chairman Jeffrey Citron told us that “bundling Wi-Fi will make it easier for customers to sign up for Vonage VoIP.” That is why I am a little confused about this Business Week story.
While Vonage won’t divulge any details, it did confirm after its Feb. 15, fourth-quarter earnings call with analysts, that it will start selling dual-mode phones offering cellular as well as Wi-Fi access, in the second half of the year.
Maybe it is another wireless provider, but so far we can’t think of anyone who will have a footprint to equal Earthlink. Are they planning to set up an MVNO? Given the trials and tribulations of MVNOs, that road is full of potholes the size of a Hummer! It will take tens of millions of dollars to get a cellular-WiFi MVNO rolling.
Whatever move the company makes, it is a desperate move by a desperate company, which is seeing its subscriber growth slowdown. Cable operators have taken away their sole reason to exist, and they are looking for something… make that anything new. Vonage needs a new story to spin for Wall Street. To anyone who is going to believe this spin as a sign of better times, we say: good luck.
From our archives: Our previous Vonage stories.