Frontier to serve up $5 monthly emergency phone service

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Frontier knows that residential customers are abandoning their traditional wireline PSTN connections in droves for either an over-the-top VoIP service like Vonage or using a wireless phone, but the telco will begin offering a new landline service that can work during power outages and inclement weather.

Beginning in June, the telco will launch Frontier Security Phone, a $5 per month service that customers can use to dial out to 911 or 411 during power outages when their VoIP service goes out or they can't get a reliable cell phone connection.

"Our states are very prone to severe weather, lots of hurricanes and tornados and the mud slides in Washington state," said Maggie Wilderotter, chairwoman and CEO of Frontier, during the recent JPMorgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. "We have markets that are very plagued by bad weather. And having a landline phone that works when you power goes out and we have a density of 34 homes a mile is important."

The service provider plans to market the phone service to two types of customers: those who are planning to disconnect to migrate to another provider and those who already have adopted another service. However, unlike basic phone service, Frontier Security Phone can't make or receive traditional phone calls.

Besides the new emergency service, Frontier is going to start serving up a residential version of its VoIP service, which it offers today to its business customers. However, it did not provide any specific details about the service.

"We're launching in some trials in the second half of this year with the residential VoIP products," Wilderotter said. "So we see choice for the customer as the most important thing."

For more:
- see the Seeking Alpha transcript (sub. req.)

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