How Quaint: T-Mobile USA Gets Into The Landline Business

T-Mobile has begun testing a new landline VoIP offer in a couple of US cities, offering unlimited calls for $10 a month (consumers have to buy a $50 Wi-Fi router that’s got some jacks for the landlines, and of course, supply their own broadband connection). A further sign of how mobile operators are racing to the bottom in terms of pricing. While this is just a trial, should T-Mobile roll it out nationwide, it’s easy to see them bundling it in to their recently announced $100/month unlimited mobile plan.

It’s sort of hard to get too excited about developments in the landline space, but this is pretty amusing. What really makes me smile is that operators like Verizon and AT&T — whose parent companies are legacy landline telcos — have touted their ability to offer consumers bundles of services, combining landline and mobile service as a key advantage. T-Mobile has no legacy landline infrastructure, but that’s a benefit rather than a curse, since they can instead offer VoIP service more cheaply than the incumbent’s landlines. It’s also interesting from an FMC standpoint: once T-Mobile gets its router into customers’ houses, getting them to start using its Hotspot @Home service for Wi-Fi calls becomes a rather simpler upsell.

Still, the landline’s days are numbered. That said, I’ve still got one from the cable company, mainly so I can send and receive faxes — another technology that, despite its shortcomings, remains annoyingly in use today. But if T-Mobile made this service available nationwide, I’d probably take the plunge, and I imagine many of its other customers — or at least those who are hanging on to their landlines — would as well.

So, the market seems to be dictating a price of $100 per month for unlimited mobile service, and $10 per month for unlimited landine service. But watch this space, as those are going to fall quickly in the coming months.

—–>Follow us on Twitter too: @russellbuckley and @caaarlo