Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Vonage advantage: Move early, quickly

This article in this Saturday's Globe and Mail caught my attention. It has to do with the growth of Vonage and the challenge it faces now that Ottawa has brought in deregulation to the local phone market. It's something the big telecom companies have been wanting for some time. The question is will it mean small and new starts like Vonage will have a chance? After all what can a company that employes 150 people do against a massive entity like Bell Canada.

Actually they can do a lot for they have one thing going for them, they aren't Bell Canada. Forget the cute commercials of beavers and cell phones, most people can't stand Bell. Just try it, ask the first 100 people you meet their opinion of Bell Canada and I will suggest to you the overwhelming response will be negative. Bell has been a monopoly for far too long to actually learn to care about the consumer. One result of deregulation will not mean the end of competition but the flowering of competition. Companies like Vonage, like Rogers Phone will have the ability to get in on that which has always been the private domain of large telecos such as Bell.

I would say the one area that Vonage must move towards quickly is the simplification of the installation. Make it easy, or provide technical assistance to install Vonage and people will flock to it. Most of us don't simply want to mess with wires and things like that, if it is far simple to stay where you are, that's what we will do. However, if Vonage moves aggressively in this area, people will gladly sign up.

As I said most people want to get rid of Bell. We're just waiting for the excuse.

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