ipFONE Expands Unlimited Calling To Latin America

VoIP subsidiary of Miami-based CLEC ISN Telecom offers unlimited calling to US, Canada, Buenos Aires, Caracas, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo for less than $30/month. Is it enough to compete in the new era of price wars?

Days after some of the major VoIP providers started a price war, competitive local exchange carrier (CLEC) ISN Telcom, Miami, Fla., announced its own $29.95 per month unlimited calling plan with a twist, adding a number of major Latin American cities to its plan.

Under the brand ipFONE, the company’s “Americas Unlimited Plan” includes all of the US and Canada, as well as non-cellular telephones in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Mexico City, Lima (Peru), Santiago (Chile) and Caracas (Venezuela).

Still, with industry leader Vonage cutting its unlimited calling plan monthly rate to $25, and AT&T as well as Broadvox Direct also offering lower rates, ISN Telcom’s plan may not be able to keep this price for long.

The differentiating factor for ISN Telecom is the unlimited calls to Latin America, according to Jon Arnold, VoIP program leader for Frost & Sullivan, Palo Alto, CA, where the company has a significant portion of its customer base.

“Timing is everything,” said Arnold. “They’re going to have to bank on the Latin American calls enabling them to maintain the price. They could argue that the Latin American market is fairly specialized.”

With its Miami base, ISN Telecom has a natural market in Latin America, one that the other VoIP providers have done little to tap thus far, according to Arnold. However, that in and of itself may not be enough for the company to keep its prices at the high end of the VoIP provider range.

In addition, to the unlimited Latin America calls, ISN Telecom is offering the first month of service free, with no contract commitment, and provides features, including voicemail, at no additional charge. Subscribers are also entitled to free calls to any other ipFONE subscriber anywhere in the world.

As an added feature, for $1.95 extra per month, customers receive unlimited calls to and from most of Western Europe (cellular phones excluded).

In addition to the Americas Unlimited Plan, ISN Telcom is offering two other calling plans: The ISN Value Plan for $9.95 per month that offers unlimited local calling, and additional features, and the Americas 500 Plan for $19.95 provides unlimited local and regional calling, as well as 500 minutes to Latin America, the U.S. and Canada.

ISN Telcom employs BroadSoft's BroadWorks platform to provide a comprehensive range of applications. In addition, ISN Telcom has partnered with Cisco Systems in the deployment of its gateways and Internet Access Devices.