Ever buy VoIP equipment and a calling plan from a computing or electronics retailer?
If you have, they've probably tried to sell you a service plan. They will tell you what's in it for you. Now, I can tell you what's in it for them.
Let's start out with the fact that yesterday, Convergent Networks subsidiary and IP Telephony hardware and services provider BroadVoice announced its BroadVoice Start-Up Kits. The kits are intended for small biz and home users, and are based on the Sipura 1001 Broadband Router and Phone Adapter Combination. No pricing yet, but should be available at the usual cast of retail and online suspects soon.
But even though this product is interesting, the press release issued by BroadVoice gives us a unique window on how such companies cut the pie with their distributors.
The kits will be marketed by "certified BroadVoice Agents" who then sell them to end users. Kits come with a Retail Activation Key that bypasses all set-up charges.
According to BroadVoice, The Agent (such as your friendly big box retailer) "Have the opportunity to earn margin on hardware subsidized by BroadVoice, and become eligible to earn a commission when the customer signs up for a BroadVoice service plan."
The monthly plans range from $9.95 for unlimited in state calling. For $19.95, Unlimited World gives you 21 countries, including the U.S., most of Western Europe and China. The $24.95 Unlimited World Plus allows 35 nations, including Brazil, Japan and Israel.
The BroadVoice Small Business Plan is $29.95 a month, and offers unlimited calling to the U.S. and Canada. The real charm is the provision for two "remote" numbers that could well be used for a branch office - or used to create the illusion of one.
And at the same time, creating a commission for that friendly helpful salesperson .. err .. "BroadVoice Agent."