Verizon Finally Drinks the VoIP Kool Aid

After years of being among the large telcos most antagonistic to VoIP, Verizon, the #2 US service provider has announced plans to be all-VoIP, all the time within seven years.

Playing catch-up in the way behemoth telecoms have over the years codified into an art form, Verizon is finally admitting its business model can not sustain the current rate of losing home-phone lines, as customers opt to rely on mobile handsets or switch to cable companies that package digital call plans with Web and TV service. In the third quarter, Verizon lost 3.7 million lines from a year earlier.

“We’ve built our business over the years with circuit-switched voice being our bread and butter . . . but increasingly, we are in the business of selling, basically, data connectivity,” John Stratton, Verizon’s Chief Marketing Officer said.

For Verizon and its shrinking customer base, however, the question remains whether the company’s recognition of market realities, and its plans to shift product strategies have come too late in the game to make it a viable long-term competitor in the data connectivity space.