Startups Offer Lowers the VOIP Price Floor Still Further

For December, the 12-month, $199 "Gift Edition" of SunRocket's VOIP service includes a two-extension cordless phone.

A voice over IP startup whose founders hail from MCI has come up with a new consumer-scale calling package that brings the monthly unlimited charge down to $16.58—if subscribers sign up for a year.

SunRocket Inc., started in 2004 in Baltimore, Boston and Washington, D.C., and expanding service to 15 major U.S. markets by the end of year, is removing risk to broadband telephony holdouts by offering a 12-month package with two phone numbers for $199. The startup promises to refund unused months amounts to any dissatisfied customers. There is no cancellation fee, said Joyce Dorris, SunRockets chief marketing officer.

There are no fees of any kind for calls made within the United States. Three dollars worth of international calls, spent at rates under 10 cents a minute for 75 countries, is included every month, said Dorris. International calls over that limit are charged at low, VOIP-typical rates.

/zimages/5/28571.gif2004 has been the year that VOIP finally penetrated mass consumer consciousness. Read more here about the year in VOIP.

For the remainder of 2004, SunRocket is even throwing in a premium—a Uniden multi-headset cordless phone with base station, and a companion satellite extension. Plug this into the router/terminal adapter (SunRocket wants to call this a "Gizmo" to allay the fears of technophobes) and youve found a cordless way of extending VOIP calling all over the house.

Technophobe or not, the Web-based controls and logs are included with SunRocket, which also offers a monthly plan for $24.95. A phone applet lets you make these call control decisions in real time, retrieving callers from voice mail as they leave messages, or forwarding them in real time to voice mail or other numbers. SunRockets infrastructure includes the Sylantro Systems Corp. feature server, Netrake Corp. session border controllers and the uReach Technologies Inc. messaging platform.

SunRocket is only offering service where it can support E911 emergency calling. A little more unusual, it is offering directory assistance service as well; the first two such calls per month are free.

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