Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sometime back in March I took a technological quantum leap forward and started using a VOIP phone from Primus. I love this phone. For $30 / month I get a full feature phone line with unlimited long distance within North America, and great rates overseas. I was a little skeptical of this offer since the traditional phone companies always seem to have restrictions on their “unlimited” packages. I was happy to discover this was not the case with Primus. In the past two months I have amassed over 3000 minutes of long distance and paid not a dime more than the flat monthly rate. I would like to see Telus even try to compete with that.

I remember when I worked at Nortel in 1998 VOIP was on the verge of becoming the “next big thing”. Nortel was heavily invested in ATM technology (no, not bank machines) and somehow were convinced that TCP/IP would never be reliable enough to use for telephone calls. I have to admit that they were not entirely wrong. The VOIP phone is not without its problems. It does drop the odd call, and Joan often complains of echoes on her end. However, the appeal of VOIP is not in its reliability, but instead in its price. Nortel may have misjudged how tolerable people would be of the minor inconveniences of VOIP, considering the difference in price between the new internet phones and the old school telco phones.

In this case, I guess I am an early adopter. Traditionally early adopters paid a premium to be the first to possess hot new technologies. When it comes to VOIP, we are instead being rewarded with almost equivalent phone service at a fraction of the cost. The traditional economics have been turned around, and it seems to be disturbing some of the big telephone companies, who have been living off the fat of their monopolies since the beginning of the telephone era. If companies like Telus had bothered to pass along the savings from implementing new digital communication solutions to consumers, we might not be so quick to run off and play with the new kid on the block. Their greed will be their downfall.

Telus, if you are reading this, I am happy with my new internet phone, and I expect you will never get another cent from the pocket of Andrew Baxter.


Joan said...

This is the best closing line ever!

10:59 AM, May 25, 2006  
Michelle said...

Their greed will be their downfall.

I SO Agree. The only thing available to me in my Area is MTT so they have a Total Monopoly and they know it.. eventually we WILL get something else available here and MTT will be lucky if they have 2 customers left to call each other :)

9:12 PM, May 25, 2006  
Andrew Baxter said...

If Eastlink is in Liverpool, how long can it be before they are in Yarmouth?

12:10 AM, May 26, 2006  

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