Sprint jumped into the overcrowded and competitive home phone business by launching its new Phone Connect System 1, hoping to grab all the cord cutters over its wireless network.
According to the new service, homeowners and business customers are being offered two cordless phones for $49.99 with a new line or eligible upgrade with a two-year service agreement, excluding taxes. When users combine it with Sprint’s Phone Connect plan, they will be offered unlimited local and domestic long distance calling only for $19.99 per month. The system incorporates two Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunication phones that are capable of supporting four handsets.
For those who already own Cordless phones, Sprint has offered Sprint Phone Connect 2 that is a plug and play device. Further, this device lets users plug their home landline or existing office landline into the Sprint Phone Connect Terminal and utilize all the features expected of a home phone provider. Sprint proudly declared that this latest device is compatible with most conventional corded and cordless phones.
Of course, Sprint is not the only company in the home phone business. Verizon is heading the race with its Verizon Wireless Home Phone Connect. This June, U.S. cellular had launched its Home Phone device that sells for a penny with a two-year contract and unlimited nationwide calling using a CDMA network and standard cordless phones for $20 per month. Furthermore, AT&T introduced a $20 no-contract option to tempt customers and make them cut their wire-line based voice cord and switch to the latest Wireless Home Phone service.
Residents of Tooele County had to face problems due to loss of cell phone and landline services on Monday. The county people had difficulty in reaching out to the police and other emergency services due to the outage. The county situation turned worse due to heavy snow. Around 8 to 12 inches of snow fell in the county which blocked the roads and disrupted most of the basic services leading to a host of weather-related crashes.
According to Tooele County emergency manager Bucky Whitehouse, the reason why the problem occurred is because a construction crew accidently struck a fiber optic line that runs between Salt Lake and Tooele valleys. Both landline and cell phone services had to suffer the consequences of the damage that started in the afternoon and continued till late evening. “Most of our day has been very difficult in terms of travel. We’ve had numerous slide-offs and numerous crashes that have occurred in our main roadways in and out of the Tooele area,” he said. “So it’s been a pretty challenging day.”
Parts of Tooele Valley resumed services early evening, but the CenturyLink repair crew didn’t give an estimate as to when the complete service will be restored and the issues will be fixed. “We practice and exercise to operate without communication capability” Whitehouse said. “However, it’s unique that both cell service as well as landline service (are) down simultaneously. Fortunately, crews are aware of the situation and restoring service just as quickly as they can.”
Thankfully, anyone in Tooele can easily get emergency help by dialing 911 over their phone.
“If they have got a dial tone … our system has been forwarded to the Utah County 911 Dispatch Center and they are triaging the call and sending it back to us. And then we’re taking care of dispatching our emergency resources in the Tooele Valley,” Whitehouse said.
During the phone outages, police, fire and ambulance services were patrolling Tooele roadways and were ready to help those in trouble. “Right now, due to the heavy snowfall and the weather challenges that we’re having in the valley, we would just encourage our residents to not travel if they don’t absolutely need to go out,” he said. “Please stay home and allow our snow plows and all of our responders to be able to take care of the roads.”
Verizon has started to consider a sale of business services and data storage assets. One of the largest U.S. wireless carriers, Verizon seeks to focus on its core business.
The assets, worth around $10 billion, which include the business formerly known as MCI, provides landline as well as internet services for many customers. Recently, the business has struggled to keep up with the advances in the cloud computing sphere and has faced fierce competition with its peers such as Alphabet Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.
It might not be easy to separate Verizon’s enterprise assets and any potential buyer would need to be willing to sign commercial agreements with the company. Verizon is still planning how these assets should be structured. Earlier this year, Century Link was talking terms with Verizon to buy some of its assets but was unable to agree on the terms. In a strategic shift, Century Link lately announced it would explore a few options for some of its data centers and sell them accordingly.
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Citigroup Inc. is hitched up with Verizon and has constantly advising the company on the sales of its assets that have estimated annual earnings before taxes, interest, depreciation and amortization of around $2 billion. Both the companies remained mum as the matter is considered to be confidential.
In recent years, the enterprise telecommunication company sought to adopt corporate customers which are searching for more advanced and cheaper offerings to manage their data. AT&T has been analyzing the sale of its data center assets for some time, while Windstream Holdings Inc. sold all its data center business for $575 million to TierPoint last month. During the company’s third-quarter earnings call held on Oct. 20, Verizon’s Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo announced that it continues “to work through secular and economic challenges” with its global enterprise division, which posted a 4.9 percent decline in revenue in the quarter ended Sept. 30.
Sprint, the number four telecom company, hasn’t been able to match the offering to customers as compared to its three rivals. Other major carriers have stolen the telecom market, but Sprint still plays the “zero sum” game in the industry. Brand, power distribution and quality in a business where all the other major companies have similar products and nearly the same subscription plan.
Verizon communication and AT&T have around 250 million subscriptions. While AT&T and Verizon are barely growing, Sprint is losing ground and T-Mobile is growing. Both the companies lack the balance sheet heft of the other two. Eventually, it shows up in infrastructure, marketing strategies and the capability to bid for spectrum.
While T-Mobile and Sprint have done well in quality ranking, they are dominated by AT&T and Verizon. In a recent survey, Verizon and AT&T did well and these carriers ranked close to each other. For other smaller carriers to take market share, each of them has to boast some superiority in their respective services.
Among the most important weapons of the carriers, discounts that they offer have been the most promising. This has now become a game of parity. One company offers a free phone with the subscription packages and the other one tries to match up to deliver an attractive offer at a lower price on data, voice and text. Consumers later realize that their charges are almost the same, but the offers are quite different. Some carriers may have unskilled management trying to make offers attractive enough to not lose a meaningful portion of their business.
Over the course of the past few years, Sprint’s share has pathetically fallen 22% while AT&T and Verizon are quite close to one another. T-Mobile growth however ranks highest by 45%. Though all these companies are in fiber and landline business, their major prospects are in wireless.