Cable giant Comcast Corporation (quote - news - alert) announced today that the company will launch an Internet telephony service by the end of this year. Comcast is targeting residential customers with what seems to be the priciest of all VoIP ( define - news - alert)-enabled calling service plans.
The company plans to charge customers $39.95 per month for unlimited domestic service to current customers of its video products, and a whopping $54.95 monthly for new customers. Most VoIP calling plans available to residential customers today average about $29.95 per month.
Comcast has plans to offer the new service to a group of about 20 million customers by the end of this year, with future plans to extend the service offering to double the number of customers in the next 18 months. The company believes it could sign up at least 8 million customers in the next 5 years.
Comcast follows other cable operators that have already entered the VoIP arena in the last two years. Cablevision Systems Corporation currently bundles video, high speed Internet and phone services into a service package offered for about $90 monthly. During 2003, Time Warner Cable debuted a VoIP-based calling service, already available to 18 million homes around its coverage areas.
Integrating VoIP-based services into multiple-play packages has become a growing trend among cable operators nationwide. It has been reported that Comcast and other cable operators have also started to express an interest in adding on cell phone services to their pre-packaged telecom deals. No official statements were available about a Comcast cell phone service at press time.
|Johanne Torres is contributing editor for TMCnet.com and Internet Telephony magazine. Previously, she was
assistant editor for EContent magazine in Connecticut. She
can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.