The home phone gets a new look

The home phone gets a new look
Embarq reportedly is launching a new cordless home phone device, router and service package that will allow basic Internet-based data and information services to be displayed on the device's screen. Could this save residential landline telephone service? Is it worth saving?

The landline decline is continuing for all telephone companies, and in some cases, seems to be accelerating after a brief period of flattening out that gave telcos a bit of breathing room. It's clear that telcos must do something about this. For some of them, the potential answer lies in service bundles. Others are pursuing projects involving new technology, such as femtocells, that actually will further quicken the migration of their landline customers to their own wireless subsidiaries.

What Embarq is doing may offer a step toward the latter, allowing customers to have an experience with their home phones that may coax them over to an Embarq fixed-mobile converged service. However, it also seems like an interesting attempt to breathe life into the traditional home phone setting. Can a telco actually get customers to keep home phone service and use it more often by giving more reasons to pick up that phone and at least look at it?

The router and phone reportedly will cost about $130, which is probably more than Embarq and any other telcos have made off most of their landline home phone customers in a single billing in a long time. Embarq is referring to the new phone as the "fourth screen," but if it works, maybe it would be more accurate to call it the home phone's second life. Read this story at Light Reading. - Dan

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