VOIP services

Startup's Home Phone Service Goes Anywhere

TV Everywhere, please meet Home Phone Everywhere.

A Canada-based startup is pitching MSOs on a multi-screen service platform that will bring element of mobility to the typical home phone.

UXP Systems Inc. says its Multiscreen Interaction (MINT) platform can hook into the legacy phone and billing platform in a way that lets MSOs bridge the "SIP gap." That will let cable phone subscribers access home phone services via tablets, smartphones and PCs connected to Wi-Fi or cellular networks. By extension, MINT also gives customers mobile access to their contact databases and voice mail. (See Cable Sizes Up National Wi-Fi Play .)

MINT works by verifying the customer in the operator's billing system, registering the device's SIP client, and authenticating the voice service itself. UXP's business model is a one-time license plus per-subscriber fees. It's integrated with iOS and Android devices and PCs. It'll let customers dictate whether to port to connected TV platforms, Windows Phone and BlackBerry devices.

While MSOs such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have developed in-house apps like Xfinity Mobile that cover some of those bases, most have yet to offer some sort of over-the-top client that can extend that home phone service beyond the home. Recent partnerships between major U.S. MSOs and Verizon Wireless would seem to make this type of scenario less likely for some MSOs, but it's an area in which UXP will try to differentiate with its multi-screen phone approach.

The Toronto-based startup is less than two years-old and its first announced customer, Columbus Communications Inc. of Trinidad, is preparing to start its Home-Phone-To-Go service next month following trials that began in January. Columbus, which is an investor in UXP, offers services under the Flow brand, has 200,000 customers.

UXP says MINT can be extended to video services, enabling operators to port their programming guides and even live programming to mobile devices. Flow is expected to do that using a subset of channels that provide TV Everywhere distribution rights.

UXP employs about 35 people and has some MSO trials underway. CEO Gemini Waghmare, formerly of Telus Corp. (NYSE: TU; Toronto: T) and Amdocs Ltd. (NYSE: DOX), says the company will turn its first profit in 2012.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

joset01 12/5/2012 | 5:36:58 PM
re: Startup's Home Phone Service Goes Anywhere

Maybe it works out cheaper if you never leave the sofa? Yeah, I don't get it either.

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 5:36:58 PM
re: Startup's Home Phone Service Goes Anywhere

I think this idea would have taken off back in the 90s. Now? Why not just get a mobile?

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 5:36:51 PM
re: Startup's Home Phone Service Goes Anywhere

The idea is to have it work on any supported device within range of a WiFi signal, but, to Phil's point,  it's defensive because SPs need to give customers more reason to keep their home voice service when they're faced with more users that are are getting rid of that landline phone in favor of a mobile only voice service. It's another, maybe more realistic form of cord-cutting that the MSOs are going to be faced with. But I don't know if adding a mobile component to traditionally fixed phone service will be enough to stoke growth as the VoIP subscription trends continue to flatten and, in some cases, fall. TW Cable, for example, lost 8,000 voice customers in Q3 2011.   JB

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