Light Reading

Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner
4/7/2009
50%
50%

Following trials in Miami and Jacksonville, Fla., Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) is preparing the nationwide launch of an "enhanced cordless phone" that will marry its VoIP service with email, voice mail, light Web access, and a universal address book.

The product features (deep breath!) a new Docsis/PacketCable-powered embedded multimedia terminal adapter (E-MTA) that provides an IP-based digital interface to a DECT-based wireless handset. (Sigh!)

Thomson S.A. (NYSE: TMS; Euronext Paris: 18453) is supplying Comcast with the initial version, but "there will be other manufacturers," Comcast senior VP of voice services Cathy Avgiris told Cable Digital News last week. A Thomson spokesman says the vendor plans to sell the product, dubbed internally as the Advanced Cable Gateway, to MSOs other than Comcast.

Show stuff

As for Comcast's plans, the MSO will link the new phone kit with SmartZone, a "communications center" Comcast introduced about two years ago that provides cable modem subs with direct access to their email and voice mail messages, an instant messaging application, and an integrated address book. (See Comcast Gets the (Unified) Message .)

Comcast finished moving about 24.5 million mailboxes to the SmartZone platform about two weeks ago, though the service went down briefly late last week due to some "technical problems" with the SmartZone servers.

Avgiris said Comcast expects to integrate SmartZone with the MSO's WiMax service, which is slated for a mid-year launch in Portland, Ore. Comcast, one of the Clearwire LLC (Nasdaq: CLWR) investors, hasn't announced any further deployment plans involving WiMax. (See Comcast WiMaxes Portland and Cable Plays Clearwire Card.)

Portland is an obvious target market, but Comcast has not spelled out precisely where and when the enhanced cordless phone will be offered initially. Avgiris said the MSO anticipates marketing it to "triple-play" customers for an incremental cost of about $5 per month. That will cover the EMTA and one DECT handset. Customers can purchase additional phones directly from Comcast for about $35 each.

Comcast is also working on a new home handset with a full keypad. "It's a spec'd product," Avgiris said. There's no word yet whether a future EMTA/gateway will bake in a Femtocell, as well, but Comcast is eager to link the mini-base-station technology to its forthcoming WiMax offering. (See Comcast Goes for WiMax Femtocells.)

Avgiris said Comcast views the enhanced cordless phone product as a retention tool, and as a way to prevent some customers from snipping their landline phone services in favor of wireless. "It's like a digital video upgrade, but on the voice side," says Heavy Reading senior analyst Alan Breznick. "You get to keep the customers you have, and get more money from them."

The product may also help Comcast protect itself from other beefy kitchen phones that aim to enhance existing voice products. Of recent note is the Verizon Wireless "Hub," a broadband-fed home media unit that features a touch screen and bridges together the company's wired and wireless services. But that product, launched in February, isn't cheap. Verizon is charging $199.99, plus a $34.99 monthly service fee. (See Verizon's Home Hub-Bub (But No Femto) and 'Verizon Hub' Debuts Feb. 1.)

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Cable Digital News

(9)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Alittletooraph
50%
50%
Alittletooraph,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:37:11 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


At least relevant enough for Comcast to invest in something like this.  Their newer investments in Voice over IP for business make more sense.  I read somewhere that nearly 30% of people in the US no longer own a home phone, and that number will only increase as more and more people start relying on their smartphones for everything.  The only 'fixed' line that people should have (and by 'fixed', I mean an actual traditional telephone) is the one sitting on their desk in the office.  


As far as I can tell, all the major providers are investing heavily in VoIP for SMBs.  Although I don't understand why Comcast's plans are so expensive...  There are plenty of other hosted services that do exactly what they do for much cheaper, and offer more control, no contracts etc.  Here's an example:  OnSIP

nealbert
50%
50%
nealbert,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:31:32 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


Comcast should concentrate on businesses.  Home phone service is dying.


AVAD Technologies: Business VoIP Provider 

jsmithstone
50%
50%
jsmithstone,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:29:14 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


Comcast does appear to increasing its focus in the business voip service market and is getting more aggressive in its offerings and advertising. Do a quick google search for "business voip" and it seems like comcast is always at the top of the advertising list for what would appear to be keywords that are expensive and competitive to bid for in Google.

SergeyVoice
50%
50%
SergeyVoice,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 5:13:12 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


There is no really big market, but anyway some need this for tests and departments, so wlike any other stuff will be okay, maybe it will be good upsell with voip service and other telecom services!

JCBlack
50%
50%
JCBlack,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:21:33 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


Think it is a cool phone and reasonably priced considering it handles Voip Phone Service seemlessly and has many features that one usually finds only on cell phones or more expensive phone equipment. 

thinkbright
50%
50%
thinkbright,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:16:14 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


Comcast should try enhancing the home phone with nifty features such as Voicemail to email and call forwarding. Things you only get with Business VOIP Services.


 


Jeff Jones


ThinkBright Multiline Business VOIP

menexis
50%
50%
menexis,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:36 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


I'm not even sure how great of a catch the enhanced cordless home phone will be for Comcast because since Vereizon wireless HUB launched, there has not been much craze about that product.

Jeff Baumgartner
50%
50%
Jeff Baumgartner,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:33 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


The Hub is an interesting product, but I imagine the high price for the device, plus a subscription fee, is keeping demand limited particularly at a time in which consumers are tightening their belts. As for Comcast's approach, the price at least seems right. $5 per month more isn't too much to ask for those new features if voice customers are truly interested in having them....but we'll have to wait and see if that's in fact the incremental cost they go to market with.

GaryEEE
50%
50%
GaryEEE,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:31 PM
re: Comcast Enhancing the Home Phone


The price is right at five bucks but I don't know that there is a huge market for this amongst the non-teckys.  Perhaps they will push it when signing up new customers for voip service.

Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
Last week I dropped in on "Hotlanta," Georgia to moderate Light Reading's inaugural DroneComm conference – a unique colloquium investigating the potential for drone communications to disrupt the world's telecom ecosystem. As you will see, it was a day of exploration and epiphany...
LRTV Documentaries
Verizon's Emmons: SDN Key to Cost-Effective Scaling

5|22|15   |   03:53   |   (0) comments


For Verizon and other network operators to ramp up available bandwidth cost effectively, they need to move to SDN and agree on how to do that.
LRTV Documentaries
Lack of Universal SDN a Challenge

5|21|15   |   04:51   |   (3) comments


Heavy Reading Analyst Sterling Perrin talks about how uncertainty about SDN standards and approaches may be slowing deployment.
LRTV Custom TV
Steve Vogelsang Interview: Carrier SDN

5|20|15   |   05:02   |   (0) comments


Sterling Perrin speaks to Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, about the new Carrier SDN-enabling Network Services Platform and the operator challenges it solves.
LRTV Custom TV
Carrier SDN: On-Demand Networks for an On-Demand World

5|20|15   |   20:52   |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang, Alcatel-Lucent CTO for IP Routing & Transport business, talks about requirements and benefits of Carrier SDN during the keynote address at the Light Reading Carrier SDN event May 2015.
LRTV Documentaries
The Security Challenge of SDN

5|19|15   |   02:52   |   (0) comments


CenturyLink VP James Feger discusses concerns that virtualization could create new vulnerabilities unless network operators build in safeguards.
LRTV Custom TV
NFV Elasticity – Highly Available VNF Scale-Out Architectures for the Mobile Edge

5|18|15   |   5:50   |   (0) comments


Peter Marek and Paul Stevens from Advantech Networks and Communications Group talk about their NFV Elasticity initiative and the company's latest platforms for deploying virtual network functions at the edge of the network. Packetarium XL and the new Versatile Server Module: 'designed to reach parts of the network that other servers cannot reach.'
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Bay Area Spark Meetup 2015

5|14|15   |   3:54   |   (0) comments


Developed in 2009, Apache Spark is a powerful open source processing engine built around speed, ease of use and sophisticated analytics. This spring, Huawei hosted a meetup for Spark developers and data scientists in Santa Clara, California. Light Reading spoke with organizers and attendees about Huawei's code contributions and long-term commitment to Spark.
LRTV Custom TV
The Transport SDN Buzz

5|12|15   |   06:01   |   (1) comment


Sterling Perrin, senior analyst at Heavy Reading, speaks with Peter Ashwood-Smith of Huawei and Guru Parulkar of ON.Lab about the evolution of transport SDN and the integration of technologies.
LRTV Custom TV
Next-Generation CCAP: Cisco cBR-8 Evolved CCAP

5|5|15   |   04:49   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explained the innovation design of Cisco's cBR-8, the industry's first Evolved CCAP, including DOCSIS 3.1 design from ground-up, distributed CCAP with Remote PHY and path to virtualization. Cisco's cBR-8 Evolved CCAP is the platform that will last through the transitions.
LRTV Custom TV
Meeting the Demands of Bandwidth & Service Group Growth

5|1|15   |   5:35   |   (0) comments


Jorge Salinger, Comcast's Vice President of Access Architecture, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 and multi-service CCAP can meet the demands of the bandwidth and service group growth.
LRTV Custom TV
DOCSIS 3.1: Transforming Cable From Hardware-Defined Network to Software-Defined Network

4|29|15   |   03:48   |   (0) comments


John Chapman, Cisco's CTO of Cable Access Business Unit and Cisco Fellow, explains how DOCSIS 3.1 can transform cable HFC network to a more agile software-defined network.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Predicting Traffic Patterns for Quality Mobile Broadband

4|29|15   |   6:45   |   (0) comments


Accessing information ubiquitously creates complexity and creates heavy traffic onto the network, especially at large-scale events like sporting events or festivals. In this video, Huawei's Mohammad Hussain speaks to experts about how to predict traffic and improve user experience during periods of heavy traffic.
Upcoming Live Events
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
September 29-30, 2015, The Westin Grand Müchen, Munich, Germany
October 6, 2015, The Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
October 6, 2015, Westin Peachtree Plaza, Atlanta, GA
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Network functions virtualization (NFV) is not the easiest of topics to take on board, so here's a Light Reading infographic, developed following conversations with the folks at HP, that helps make sense of where NFV is taking the industry.
Hot Topics
10 Alternate Uses for Tablets
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 5/22/2015
Bidding War for TWC Looks Likelier
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 5/22/2015
Verizon Saves 60% Swapping Copper for Fiber
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 5/19/2015
Comcast Targets 6 New Gigabit Markets
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/21/2015
Chattanooga Charts Killer Gigabit Apps
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/20/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
With 200 customers in 60 countries, Stockholm-based Net Insight has carved out a solid leadership position in one of the hottest vertical markets going in comms right now: helping service providers and broadcasters deliver video and other multimedia traffic over IP networks. How has Net Insight managed to achieve this success in the face of immense competition from the industry giants?
My ongoing interview tour of the leading minds of the telecom industry recently took me to Richardson, Texas, where I met with Rod Naphan, CTO and SVP, Solutions, ...
I recently popped down to Texas to chat with CEO Eric L. Pratt about his company, Taqua.
Cats with Phones