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C Spire gets into landline replacement biz

Mon, 07/09/2012 - 3:19pm
Maisie Ramsay, Wireless Week

C Spire Wireless is taking on AT&T's dominance in the home phone market with a new fixed wireless device designed to serve as a replacement for subscribers' landline phones.

The new Home Phone Connect service will launch with a $20-per-month plan that is cheaper than plans offered by AT&T, the primary landline provider in C Spire's markets.

“There’s no reason for consumers to continue to pay expensive monthly landline bills when they can switch to C Spire Wireless, keep their same phone number, and get unlimited local and nationwide calling and all the usual custom calling features they’d expect from a phone service,” said Wade Smith, vice president of products and innovation.

The Mississippi-based regional wireless operator said comparable landline service from AT&T runs about $42 per month, though AT&T's website lists its unlimited long-distance plans at $33 per month, which doesn't include local calls.

Customers who sign a two-year contract must pay a one-time $50 fee for the home phone device, and customers who opt to go without a contract must pay a $160 one-time fee.

The move into the landline business marks a change of tack for C Spire, a provider that has historically focused exclusively on the wireless market.

Competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless offer a variety of fixed and wireless services ranging from home phones to broadband Internet, so the addition of a landline-type offering could help C Spire broaden its appeal to subscribers looking to get all of their services from a single provider.

The new device is targeted at customers who use cell phones but aren't ready to cut the cord entirely, such as senior citizens, C Spire said.

The Axesstel-manufactured landline replacement unit plugs into a subscriber's current landline phone and includes two standard phone jacks. The device also comes with built-in battery backup supporting up to 2.5 hours of talk time, so it will continue to work in the event of a power outage.

Minneapolis, Minn.-based cellular distributor GetWireless has been hired to distribute the device, available through C Spire's website, retail stores and phone sales.

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