Verizon Wireless to launch VoIP/wireless home service

Well, it may not be a femtocell Verizon Wireless is expected to launch this week. The operator instead is readying a new product that combines its wireless phone service with an Internet home phone using a broadband connection to make VoIP calls.

Called the Verizon Hub, the device connects to any broadband line in the home to offer VoIP calling. It integrates with Verizon Wireless' service so customers can send and receive text messages directly from their home phone and use location-based services. For instance, customers can search for nearby movie theaters, purchase tickets and obtain directions directly from the Hub. The information can then be forwarded to a Verizon handsets via an SMS message.

"The purpose of the Hub is to deliver specific content to help our customers manage through their day," said Mike Willsey, marketing director for Verizon Wireless. "And it doesn't require them to turn on their computer or fire up a browser to access the information they want. It's always on."

The Hub goes on sale at Verizon wireless retail stores Feb. 1, and is only offered to wireless subscribers. The Hub costs $199 after a $50 rebate. To qualify, customers must sign up for a two-year contact at a monthly charge of $35. The Hub counts as part of a subscriber's in-calling plan so users can send unlimited text messages to the Hub and calls made to it aren't counted as part of the monthly allotted usage.

Back in September, AT&T launched a similar product called HomeManager, a touch-screen broadband base station that manages and consolidates several communications functions. It leverages the U-verse broadband connection and supports voice calling, email and access to Internet-based information services.

Clearly these types of services are another tool to encourage customers to cut the cord as well as reduce churn by creating loyalty.

For more:
- read Cnet

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