TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Is SBC Making Huge Refunds to Keep Customers From Defecting

Is SBC Making Huge Refunds to Keep Customers From Defecting

(no name) ((no email))
Tue, 11 Jan 2005 04:44:16 -0500

The following appeared in a blog at:

This is quite interesting and if true, I wonder if SBC would be
violating any tariffs by making such one-time refunds?

Anyway, if what is being said in this blog entry is really true, it
sounds to me like the smart thing for any SBC customer that has any
significant amount of long distance usage to do would be to call SBC,
and say something to the effect that they are going to switch to
VoicePulse or Vonage (or some other VoIP company), and maybe ask how
many days' notice SBC needs to disconnect a line, and then say they
will call back to cancel service after they get the VoIP service set
up and running. If SBC is going to make an offer, that ought to
trigger it, and based on their response the customer could decide
whether they wanted to stay with SBC or seriously investigate a VoIP

Maybe local service is becoming like long distance, where those who do
nothing and continue on as they always have pay the highest rates,
while those who call and threaten to leave get price concessions. I'd
be interested to know if any other SBC customers have had similar
experiences to what is reported here.

Rich Tehrani's VoIP blog
VoIP Blogger & TMC President & Publisher

This VoIP blog covers VoIP news (Voice over IP) and VoIP analysis,
call center, CRM, and other technologies.

January 10, 2005

Is SBC Sprinting to or Away From VoIP?

There comes a time in all of our lives when we have to get from point
A to point B and it is pouring rain and you left without an
umbrella. Personally my least favorite rain is the small drops coupled
with a high-speed wind ... You know, the kind that hurts your face. If
you are like me when caught in such situations, you begin to think
about the benefits of sprinting to point B, versus casually walking.

Then there is that quick walk that you can do that is right about in
the middle. Generally, I am a sprinter ... That is until I run out of
breath (which seems to come more quickly every year).

What if rain drops were like VoIP customers being lost? If you are an
ILEC, every defector to Vonage or CallVantage is like a rain
drop. Sure, one drop or two is not a big deal but when a whole bunch
of these drops (lets say hundreds or thousands or even millions) hit
you, you have to decide how to get out of the storm.

A company like SBC is getting hit and hit hard and their umbrella
(which would be their own VoIP service) is not available at the moment
yet they hope to have one soon. SBC's plans are as follows... Get VoIP
rolled out ASAP and at the same time, do whatever it takes to stop
losing customers.

Recently a colleague of mine who has read my columns was going to
switch to Vonage or CallVantage and when they called SBC, they were
offered a special "all-you-can-eat" long-distance plan for under $30
per month as well as a refund on their bill going back months for a
total of hundreds of dollars!

He hasn't received the check yet but this is perhaps the biggest
threat to VoIP I have heard from the incumbents and it seems to be a
sure sign of desperation. It is not beyond these companies who
crippled DSL competition in the past to do whatever it takes to kill
VoIP but the question is are they too late. The answer is yes as the
momentum of VoIP is too strong to be killed by a $29.95 price point.

Still it is a significant day when SBC basically says, "We will not
lose customers." Lets see how this plays out. It is difficult to
understand how cheap the SBC VoIP offering will be when the PSTN cost
hovers around $30.

So until their VoIP umbrella can be found it seems like a quick pace
of walking (or is this a sprint?) is the best solution to get SBC to
point B. Posted by rtehrani at January 10, 2005 03:19 PM

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: I do not know about the giant refunds
going back over several months, but it sounds like something SBC might
try. I do know that SBC has more money than they know what to do with,
if the premiums they offer to 'returning customers' is any indication.
Over the year and a half since I left them and went to Prairie Stream,
they have inudated me with offers and premiums and special pricing if
I would go back to them. For example: a year of 'take it all' along
with 60 minutes of long distance for $24.95 per month, plus a month of
totally free service, and three more months of $10 'discount' on the
already low prices. Other offers from SBC have been for a $50 Visa
gift certificate, free wireless phones, etc, and once I got an offer
for three months *free* DSL and no obligation for contract on any sort
of continued service. Rarely a week goes by I do not get some sort of
promotional thing from them always with a letter saying how much they
want to have me back. PAT]

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