Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Sun Rocket Refugees - Flat Planet or Vonage?

I'm not a SunRocket watcher, but it's not hard to see the stories about their imminent demise, and recent flight of their executive ranks.

This is a classic reality check sign, as the dominoes start to fall with TDM-style offerings that simply run out of gas. No need to get into the details, as it's plain for anyone to see that the market just can't support services like this for long. Vonage can still survive because they got their first, and in this game, that counts for a lot. They've got the critical mass of customers, and a monthly cash flow to keep their IPO float money intact. Unless they spend it all on marketing, but that's another conversation.

Anyhow, I found it interesting how Vonage didn't waste any time wearing an ambulance-chaser suit, putting out the word last night that they were there for SunRocket customers who are now without service. Hey, it's a very competitive market out there, so this shouldn't come as a surprise. Sure, Vonage is under a microscope of its own with the Verizon case, so they have to be careful too. I guess, for a change, they get to be the big fish going after smaller prey when opportunity knocks. That's fair, but I'm sure the same will happen to them if Verizon has their way in the courts. It's a bit like the oldest sibling beating up on the middle sibling. Well, guess who the middle sibling is going to beat on when the time comes? The youngest one. No different here.

That said, Vonage is offering a pretty good transition, although it's not clear what constitutes a "qualified" phone number that would be ported over them from SunRocket customers. In a perfect world, as their press release touts, "sunny" days are ahead, so long as this happens as advertised. I suspect it won't be that easy in all cases, but all we know is that there are a couple of hundred thousand subscribers looking for service now. And I'm sure they won't be the last casualty in this space, although, after Vonage, they were arguably the second largest VoIP pureplay in the U.S., and that's got to make many of the smaller pureplays just a little bit nervous now.

I think the big takeaway here is where these customers will end up. SunRocket will be a very short footnote in the annals of VoIP, and I could never figure out their model. For all those customers who have prepaid for service, you have to wonder how that's going to play out.

Going to Vonage would be an easy answer for these customers if they wanted to stay with what they had. But how many will come back to their traditional telco? How many will go to their cableco? How many will succumb to the bundle? To me, this will be a real acid test for which way market sentiment is blowing these days. My guess is that the cablecos will be big winners, further validating not just their bundle, but also the perception of them as a reliable provider of voice services.

Well, there's one more alternative, folks - the Flat Planet Phone Company. Regular readers will be familiar with Moshe Maeir, who is usually on the money with his provocative ideas. Well, his post explains why SunRocket refugees would be better off with his flat rate plan - more reliable service and way more features. Well, he's got a point, and as VoIP subscribers get nervous about who might be next, this could be as good an alternative as any.


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11 comments:

ipcom said...

Posted by: Saman S. Salih

***Special announcement for Sun Rocket refugees***

Aptela (www.aptela.com), the leader in VOIP and hosted pbx for businesses is ready to help any and all businesses that are former clients of Sun Rocket. I have already "saved" 5 clients today and am more than able to help the rest.

I can be reached at the information below and look forward to speaking with any one of you.
800.979.4638 x9425

ipcom said...

Posted by: Tony

ITP (Internet Telephone Provider): This is a very good VOIP service. Much cheaper than Vonage and more features than Sun Rocket. No up front annual payment, no contract. Free 3 months to anyone that comes from Sun Rocket as well with a promo code. 888-487-1110

ipcom said...

Posted by: Rohit Patel

mpingi, a sunrocket rival is offering special offers for exisiting sun rocket customers who can no longer access the sunrocket service because of the company failure. if you are a sunrocket customer, i suggest you check out their offers... check out http://www.1800-info.com/sunrocket/index2.php ive filled the form, waiting for them to get in touch with me...offers seem rather interesting!

ipcom said...

Posted by: Josh

A couple of friends of mine and I signed up with Onesuite.com and our numbers are in the process of being ported. Onesuite SuiteAdvantage is pay as you go payment system so meaning you just pay for the minutes you used. There's a $2.95 monthly fee though for your phone number including free incoming calls.

By the way, first month is free until 08/20/07 so you could try risk free.

ipcom said...

Posted by: tom butler

To sign up with the most reliable VoIP company is the next big problem faced by the burnt SunRocket customers. Among the various VoIP companies, I feel Lingo could be better option for them. Backed by telecom giant Primus, they will not disappear from the market very easily. Moreover, they offer some flexible and unlimited-minute calling plans to make hassle free calls in Western European countries.

ipcom said...

Posted by: Zelma Ambrose

Though SunRocket, in their email, directed its customers to Teleblend and Packet8, but they cannot be better options for them. Being an ex-customer of SunRocket, I searched vastly on the net to find the best. I don�t want to take a chance again. I think Lingo is better these days with their new plans. They have comparatively low international calling rates and have a wider coverage over the Western Europe. They have fine plans for home and business users.

ipcom said...

Posted by: ricci mathew

SunRocket has locked its doors and pointed its customers to sign up with Teleblend or Packet8. But, I don�t want go with them. I am planning to sign up with Lingo. One of my friends told me about his experience with the Lingo service. He has no problems in making calls to his friends in Western Europe and Australia. Moreover, he also remembered me that Lingo has great promos for former SunRocket customers like me.

ipcom said...

Posted by: A SR Customer

All SunRocket(SR) Customer,

I was a SR customer, as I understand that SR played a bankruptcy game to the customer, it looks that they planned this game when they had a promotion for 199/yr plan, they rubbed the balance money on each contract from the customer, TeleBlend(TB) takes over everything from SR except contract, they just changed the company name from SR to TB.

Do you have any idea to handle this issue, it is not a small issue, it is a big,big,big, huge issue, it is related to 200,000 customers

We have to ask government to protect us to have it in fair, where is the government? where is the policeman? where is the lawyer? where is our congressman? did they know the issue or not?

Regards,
A SR Customer

ipcom said...

Posted by: john waugh

SunRocket has ceased its operations. Now, to switch up with some other VoIP provider is quite confusing for SunRocket customers. I think Lingo has good calling plans for ex-SunRocket customers. They include Talk 365 $195/yr, one month free Chatter Box Plan, Global Gabber $34.95/mo and more.

ipcom said...

Posted by: Stephen

Well I chose Onesuite for my alternative because they offer pay as you go scheme and only $2.95 monthly maintenance incoming calls included.

No more $200 plans for me, don't want to repeat what happened to me at SR.

ipcom said...

Posted by: Joshua

Alas! Packet8 mentioned last week that another voip provider will cease its operations and will make them the sole suggested provider of 12k plus soon to be orphaned users. Anyone thinks its the Blender?

Anyways, I also signed up for Onesuite for their prepaid aclling card and voip services and so far I am more than satisfied with their service. Low rates, good service, 24/7 support, no complains yet.