In the wake of Sun Rocket's alleged death spiral and Vonage's feud with Verizon we find a new residential phone provider called Ooma springing to life. It differs in that it uses soho gateway technology to distribute the network footprint, if you have been around long enough it might sounds much like the Phone Jack or MicroTelco concept conceived by a company called Quicknet back in 2001. I provided a link to a press release on TMC that dates back to 2001. Yes, technology has come a long way since then but the concept remains the same. The question is, "Will it work this time?".
Considering what is going on with Vonage and Sun Rocket one has to wonder if the 3rd party consumer voip plays are ever going to get their share. I think if we were to look at the resi voip offers that are doing well we will see a distinct trend, they are MSOs.
If we look at offers from Shaw (a smaller Canadian cable co in Canada) we will find that they do not even transport the service over their own infrastructure. They lease the naked copper from the incumbent which is already in the home and then hand off that traffic to their own switch and infrastructure ("own" being used loosely). My point here is that the MSOs and incumbents are a fighting a fierce battle in residential neighborhoods but they do still respect each others strengths, and therefore play nice with each other. In most cases 3rd party operators do not have this luxury.
Don't get me wrong, I hope Ooma does succeed but I have my doubts that they can do it on their own. Who knows, maybe Google will buy them too.
Other writing about Ooma: