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8/25/2008
11:59 AM
Eric Ogren
Eric Ogren
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Verizon Wireless Decides Visual Voicemail Is Worth $3 Per Month

The iPhone from Apple and AT&T was the first to really offer visual voice mail to the masses. iPhone users can use this more modern voice mail system at no extra cost. Verizon Wireless announced a new version of its LG Voyager device today. If you want to add visual voice mail service to it, you're going to have to pay an additional $3 per month.

The iPhone from Apple and AT&T was the first to really offer visual voice mail to the masses. iPhone users can use this more modern voice mail system at no extra cost. Verizon Wireless announced a new version of its LG Voyager device today. If you want to add visual voice mail service to it, you're going to have to pay an additional $3 per month.Visual voice mail is a boon for those beset with dozens of messages per day. Rather than having to dial into a voice mail system and listen to each message in the order that it was received, it gives you a visual record of each voice mail and lets you choose to listen to the ones you want first. It's a great feature to have, and I am glad the iPhone has it.

Verizon Wireless and LG have added the feature to the Voyager phone, which was released in late 2007. Along with a new Titanium color, the Voyager will let users take advantage of the device's touch screen in a manner similar to the iPhone and select the voice mails they want. From the press release, "Visual Voice Mail allows customers to better manage their messages on their new Voyagers. Customers can delete, reply, and forward voice mail messages without having to listen to prior messages or voice instructions. Visual Voice Mail is the ideal tool for the busy mobile professional who may need to prioritize which messages he or she listens to first."

But Verizon Wireless doesn't want to give the feature away for free. If you really, really want it, you'll have to pay $3 per month. Is $3 a lot? No. But it's $3 more than AT&T charges for the same feature on the iPhone and $3 more than Sprint charges for the same feature on the Instinct.

There are other visual voice mail systems out there that charge for the service, such as that from PhoneTag. PhoneTag is specific to BlackBerrys, and incurs monthly charges, but also has more functionality. It will read e-mails or text messages to you, as well as transcribe voice mails and send them via e-mail. That extra functionality is worth the price premium that is charged by PhoneTag.

But when your two closest competitors aren't charging for a service, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to charge for it unless you're offering something more. And Verizon isn't.

What gives, Verizon?

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