Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Net Sense: The Internet phone battle heats up - Internet Services - Internet - Opinion

Net Sense: The Internet phone battle heats up - Internet Services - Internet - Opinion


For almost any new invention, it takes a long time before 10% of the population uses the product. Typically after 10% is reached, the adoption takes off. The graph of the adoption looks like an S. This growth rate is called the S-Curve.

The stock market tends to do very well during times of new invention when people are spending money on new products and services. Of course one would not have wanted to invest in the Nissan Wagon Works when the S curve for cars began but the point is that there was serious money made on car and car related stocks.

It has taken ten years or more for 3 million Americans to adopt VoIP but most of those have signed up in the past 2 years. The growth curve has started. New offerings from TWX,VZ, MSFT and others are about to accelerate the process.

My family uses Vonage. We like it. The extra features are outstanding and we do not pay for long distance calls. When my Mother visits one of my sisters or my brother in Florida, I do not have a problem calling her. I call her home number just like any other time. Mom transfers her calls to the number at the home where she is residing at the time. This service is available for a fee at SBC, BLS, and the other phone companies but it is free with Vonage. Free is an under-statement unless I explain that the service is free and the long distance call is free. It cost neither me or Mom a penny extra no matter how many times I call each month and no matter where she is when she picks up the call.

Those of us who own a second home find several of the added features attractive. Ironically, in a beach home we own jointly with 8 friends, we recently decided to take vonage out and install a free Skype phone.