Light Reading
Frontier hopes to boost the productivity of businesses with a service that lets them send and reply to text messages through existing landline numbers.

Can Texting Give New Life to Landlines?

Jason Meyers
7/1/2014
100%
0%

Frontier Communications has equipped all of the landline phone numbers across its territory -- which includes primarily rural portions of 27 US states -- to be able to receive and send text messages via an app that works on laptops, desktops, smartphones, and tablets.

The obvious question is whether it's too little, too late for the anachronistic landline in an increasingly mobile world.

Both Frontier Communications Corp. (NYSE: FTR) and Zipwhip , which developed the service, argue that it's not -- chiefly because of the popularity of mobility and consumers' propensity to communicate via text. Existing landline and toll-free numbers are part of the identity of businesses, they say, and adding the ability to send and receive text messages makes them more valuable for functions such as taking orders, scheduling appointments and communicating with customers.

"The value of the landline is still very high, especially for businesses," says Rod Imbriani, vice president of product for Frontier. "They're advertising that landline number, and it's still very prominent. This is an extension of that number for the way their customers want to communicate."

Businesses don't have to buy any new hardware or change anything about the configuration of their phone systems to use Frontier's service -- they just sign up and download the Zipwhip app to send and reply to messages from any connected device. Messages are routed through the Zipwhip cloud and pushed to the device.

The service is priced as an add-on to business voice and data bundles: an additional $4.99 per month for 250 texts, and $19.99 per month for unlimited texting. There is also an enterprise-level package for $99.99 per month that adds features such as unlimited autoreply, group texting and scheduled texting.

To enable the service, Zipwhip entered all of Frontier's landline numbers into the routing tables of the core short messaging service (SMS) infrastructure in the US, so that every wireless operator now has Frontier's numbers in its database, says John Lauer, CEO of Zipwhip -- a step that, he says, revealed consumers' eagerness to use text messaging.

"In leading up to this launch we had to turn up all the Frontier numbers for text capability," Lauer says. "Since then we've seen thousands of texts going into black holes because people were already trying to text the landlines, even before the service was available."

John Arkontaky, research analyst for The Nemertes Research Group Inc. , says the ability to text could indeed give some new legs to landlines, especially for a service provider with Frontier's landline-heavy service portfolio.

"It is an interesting thing for the times. It's not inaccurate that things are shifting to mobile, but in the meantime a lot of companies have complex phone systems already hooked up," he says. "Within Frontier's kind of structure, I do think it could give landline some life and offer some cost-effectiveness, especially for customer service types of situations."

Another mobile industry observer is not so bullish.

"This is a cool technology chasing a dying market," says Bob Egan, CEO of the Sepharim Group, a mobile industry research and consulting firm. "The number of landlines continues to collapse, even in the business area, as more and more people are using wireless."

Jason Meyers, Utility Communications Editor, Light Reading

(33)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/3/2014 | 2:48:21 PM
Re: SMS SOS
I'm sorry -- but "real time" means someone is on hand to answer a message as soon as it comes in. It has absolutely nothing to do with how long it takes to respond. Does real time mean something different to you?
brookseven
50%
50%
brookseven,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/3/2014 | 2:31:22 PM
Re: Personal experience
Mitch/RClark,

If you read the article, you will see that all that has happened is that an existing service from Ziphwhip has been enabled for all Frontier phone numbers.

You don't actually get a text on your landline phone (I was wondering how they had modified On Hook Transmission to do that).  What happens is that this online texting service with a specific app now accepts texts for your Landline Phone number.  You still need a smart device (smartphone, tablet, or PC) to send/receive the texts.

If I were thinking about this as a service, I would say it is targeted at businesses who are still using Landline phones and want to enable texting for some reason.  There is an API to send and receive texts, so it would seem automation based on this would be possible.  Potentially even integration with text to email services.

seven

 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/3/2014 | 1:29:06 PM
Re: Personal experience
wanlord - That is awesome. 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
7/3/2014 | 1:28:41 PM
Re: Personal experience
R Clark - "Both texting and wireline are declining operator services, so I hope Frontier knows this is what its customers want."

Frontier could just see it as a short-term opportunity -- a way to get additional revenue from technology that's on the way out. 
iapplega
50%
50%
iapplega,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/3/2014 | 1:06:25 PM
Re: SMS SOS
Well I guess full-time if you take 20 minutes to compose a 160 character reply
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/3/2014 | 1:01:40 PM
Re: SMS SOS
That would mean that Ms. Small-Business Person would hire someone full-time to ... answer the text?
iapplega
50%
50%
iapplega,
User Rank: Light Beer
7/3/2014 | 12:34:09 PM
Re: SMS SOS
My understanding is that the text message is answered by a human being in real time. It isnt an automated service. 
mendyk
50%
50%
mendyk,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/2/2014 | 2:24:56 PM
Re: Personal experience
Kewl! I hope there's a version that works with a princess phone handset.
wanlord
100%
0%
wanlord,
User Rank: Light Sabre
7/2/2014 | 2:20:02 PM
Re: Personal experience
Found a leaked pic of the beta device:

 

R Clark
50%
50%
R Clark,
User Rank: Blogger
7/2/2014 | 9:26:50 AM
Re: Personal experience
Yeah, ordering pizza by text only makes sense if it goes straight into the pizza parlour's ordering system. 

Both texting and wireline are declining operator services, so I hope Frontier knows this is what its customers want.
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Custom TV
Using Service Quality to Drive WiFi Monetization

10|22|14   |   6:51   |   (0) comments


Live from the SCTE conference: Heavy Reading's Alan Breznick explores the forces shaping the WiFi opportunity in an interview with CableLabs' Justin Colwell and Amdocs' Ken Roulier.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 2

10|21|14   |   8:51:00 AM   |   (0) comments


ARRIS CTO Network Solutions Tom Cloonan discusses why many if not most MSOs will continue with integrated CCAP, while addressing why some are also looking at two futuristic, distributed access architectures: Remote PHY and Remote CCAP.
LRTV Custom TV
Distributed Access Architectures – 1

10|21|14   |   9:01   |   (0) comments


SCTE Sr. Director of Engineering Dean Stoneback discusses the pros and cons of distributed access architecture (DAA) and its various forms, which range from basic Remote PHY to full CMTS functionality in the node.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 2

10|21|14   |   3:58   |   (0) comments


ARRIS Senior Solution Architect Eli Baruch talks about how MSOs can enable public and community WiFi through 1) outdoor access points, 2) businesses seeking to offer WiFi to customers, and 3) residential WiFi gateway extensions.
LRTV Custom TV
The WiFi Road to Riches – 1

10|21|14   |   10:15   |   (0) comments


SCTE Director of Advanced Technologies Steve Harris discusses WiFi deployments, drivers, challenges and advances, including 802.11ac, carrier-grade WiFi, community WiFi, Hotspot 2.0, Passpoint, WiFi-First and voice-over-WiFi.
LRTV Custom TV
Advantech Accelerates 100G Traffic Handling

10|17|14   |   7:56   |   (0) comments


Paul Stevens from Advantech explains why handling 100GbE needs a whole new platform design approach and how Advantech is addressing the needs of equipment providers and carriers to give them the flexibility and performance they will need for SDN and NFV deployment.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Holland's Imtech Traffic & Infra Discusses Huawei's ICT Solution and Services

10|16|14   |   4:49   |   (0) comments


Dimitry Theebe is from the business unit at Imtech Traffic & Infra which delivers communications solutions for transportations. His partnershp with Huawei began about a years ago. In this video, Theebe speaks more about this partnership and what he hopes to accomplish with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Comprehensive Storage Solutions Vital for SVR

10|16|14   |   6:16   |   (0) comments


SVR Information Technology provides cloud services for academic and special sectors. With Huawei's support, SVR and Yildiz Technical University has established Turkey's largest and most advanced High Performance Computing system. CSO Ismail Cem Aslan talks about what he hopes Huawei's OceanStor storage system will bring for him.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Mexico's Servitron's Impression of Huawei at CCW 2014

10|16|14   |   6:35   |   (0) comments


Servitron is a network operator in Mexico that has been in the trunking industry for the past 20 years. Its COO, Ing. Ragnar Trillo O., explains at Critical Communications World 2014 that his company has been interested in the long-term evolution of LTE technology and its adoption for TETRA.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Building a Better Dubai

10|16|14   |   2:06   |   (0) comments


Abdulla Ahmed Al Falasi is the director of commercial affairs, a telecommunications coordinator for the government of Dubai. Their areas of service span across multiple industries, including police, safety, shopping malls and more. In this video, Abdulla talks about his department's work with Huawei.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Lights Up Malaysia Partner Maju Nusa

10|16|14   |   1:59   |   (0) comments


Malaysia's Maju Nusa is an enterprise partner to Huawei in networking, route switches and telco equipment. At this year's Critical Communications World in Singapore, CTO Pushpender Singh talks about what Huawei's eLTE solutions mean to his company and for Malaysia.
LRTV Custom TV
Evolving From HFC to FTTH Networks

10|15|14   |   2:19   |   (0) comments


Cisco's Todd McCrum delves into the future of cable's HFC plant, examining how DOCSIS 3.1 and advanced video compression will extend its life and how the IP video transition will usher in GPON and EPON over FTTH.
Upcoming Live Events
October 29, 2014, New York City
November 6, 2014, Santa Clara
November 11, 2014, Atlanta, GA
December 2, 2014, New York City
December 3, 2014, New York City
December 9-10, 2014, Reykjavik, Iceland
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Infographics
WhoIsHostingThis.com presents six of the world's most extreme WiFi hotspots, enabling the most epic selfies you can imagine.
Hot Topics
Analysts Warn of Major NFV Gaps
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/22/2014
Is Health the Killer App for the IoT?
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/22/2014
Drones Hover Over the IoT Sector
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 10/23/2014
1959 Newsreel: Make Phone Calls – From Cars!
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 10/24/2014
Meet the Phantom Network for NFV
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 10/23/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed