March 6, 2010
I have been a Vonage customer for years and was surprised at the latest promotional email I received from the VOIP firm last week.My last trip outside of the U.S. was in 2006 and I packed a simple headset in my luggage. The headset allowed me to call home and to make business calls using Skype for pennies a minute and avoid the $5/minute fees the hotel charged or the $0.50/minute calling card rates. Overall the service was great and saved me a good amount of cash which I then spent on useless trinkets from the countries I visited.
I've been a Vonage customer since 2005 and overall have been pleased with the service. In my circle of friends, typically everyone knows they can take their Vonage VOIP adapter outside of the home and use it while traveling. The adapter can generally be used anywhere that you have a good Internet connection. And what's great is that there are no per-minute charges as with the Skype method I listed above. Although you have to carry around the Vonage adapter which could be a pain when traveling. Earlier this week I received a promotional email from Vonage as I do about once a month. The subject of the email was, "Get Vonage For Friends & Family Abroad." I thought this was interesting because I've never seen Vonage promote non-U.S. service usage. The email focused on two items: -- you can use your Vonage box when you are away from home (as I noted above) -- you can buy an additional adapter to send to friends and family overseas The idea of pushing their current customers to purchase additional adapters is very smart. If you have business partners or team members located in other countries, it appears that sending these parties Vonage adapters can reduce the telecommunications charges for a company. Other use cases including family members who move overseas for work and those who travel on a regular basis internationally. The really interesting part of the email is that they are looking for their current customers to buy another adapter and send it out. This allows Vonage to manage the accounting inside the U.S. for the additional VOIP adapters. Could this email mean that Vonage is running out of U.S. customers to signup for their service? Or is it just a way to grow the business by attempting to capture users outside of the U.S.? How do you handle phone communications when you are away from home? Do you use Skype, Vonage, calling cards or traditional phone service in the countries that you are visiting?
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