U.S. Cellular (NYSE:USM) is getting into the home phone business with the launch of its new U.S. Cellular Home Phone device, which it will sell for a penny with a two-year contract and provides unlimited nationwide calling over its CDMA network using standard corded or cordless phones for $20 per month. The launch signals U.S. Cellular's attempt to challenge wireline phone providers and their home turf with a cheaper service.
U.S. Cellular's service also includes voicemail, caller ID, call waiting, call forwarding and three-way calling. The service will be available in stores on June 7 and online June 20.
Customers can keep their current home phone and phone number and the charges can be added to their wireless bill. Importantly, the service does not use the carriers' data network and cannot support SMS.
U.S. Cellular is following larger carriers in offer home phone-replacement service. In march AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) launched a no-contract service for $20 per month. Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) offers a similar solution to what U.S. Cellular is launching called Verizon Wireless Home Phone Connect, as does Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), which offers its Sprint Phone Connect 2.
As GigaOM notes, as carriers focus on migrating traffic to LTE networks, that is freeing up space on their legacy networks, which they can use for voice and light data traffic.
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