What value is there in a telephone that doesn’t allow you to make any phone calls?
Verizon’s answer: $5 a month.
The telco is considering a landline service at that price point that would allow customers to receive calls, but not place them (except for 911 and Verizon customer service), according to the Wall Street Journal. A $10/month plan would allow “limited local calling.” [Reuters confirmed the WSJ story.]
These services, it goes without saying, are not exactly a high-margin play. They’re a last-ditch defensive maneuver. Like other telcos, the company has been watch landlines steadily evaporating: Verizon lost 670,000 in Q4.
The idea with the $5/month call-me-I-won’t-call-you plan: With so many consumers dropping landlines for wireless phone, it would be the final attempt to get something — anything — from customers threatening to drop their phone service.
Verizon’s ulterior motive, though, is to hold on to high-speed Internet users, so they don’t defect to cable (which by the way is now starting to offer speeds that rival FiOS) on the theory that multi-service subs are less likely to churn.
As a customer-retention tool, though, it does seem an odd proposition on its face: So you’re unhappy paying $40 a month or more for your Verizon phone service? Why not pay just $5 a month — and get far less than you ever imagined possible?