SunRocket's discount price: clever marketing or desperate move?

 Esteemed technology blogger Om Malik has been parsing this new deal from SunRocket where you can get 200 outbound and unlimited inbound minutes for $9.95 a month.

sunrocketlimitededition.jpg
 

Esteemed technology blogger Om Malik has been parsing this new deal from SunRocket where you can get 200 outbound and unlimited inbound minutes for $9.95 a month.

Om points out, and I agree, that pricing plans such as SunRocket Limited Edition are an example of "quiet desperation." SunRocket has been venture capital vested to the tune of $34 million, but only has 50,000 customers.

Underlying this fact, I want to point out that smaller stand-alone VoIP providers such as SunRocket have to compete against: 

The extremely inexpensive soft phone providers such as Skype;

A growing phalanx of IM providers, who, in their digipuberty, are shedding their IM-only tricycles and are gearing up to go PC to PSTN big time in 2006;

The broadband access providers, who already have, or are readying, triple and quadruple-play offerings (voice, data, wireless, video) while at the same time figuring out how they can make life miserable for competing voice packets;

Vonage, the deepest-pocketed of the stand-alones and the one with the most resources to play the marketing game.

So what we might have here is a case of SunRocket trying to pick up some business by making the monthly price so low that price-sensitive consumers who have resisted VoIP so far will try SunRocket's brand of VoIP.

For this to scale and make an impact on the bottom line, the low price point will have to get lots of new subs. 

But then OM raises the specter of what happens if SunRocket gets too many new subs.

"The company’s network and infrastructure has buckled many a few times in the past, irritating the customers," writes Om, linking to a September, 2005 post he made that addressed the issue.

 

 

 

 

 

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