Back in the summer (July 2011) NJ-based VoIP service provider Vonage announced a program called Extensions that lets their residential phone customers register another phone to their Vonage accountfree of chargeand place outgoing calls from that phone.
While the Extensions phone could be any phone, including a business phone, the program was really designed around the idea that many customers would enroll by registering their mobile phones. Accordingly, when Extensions was announced, Vonage promised that applications for the iPhone and Android devices would quickly follow.
While getting the final pieces in place hasn't been quite as quick as the "few weeks" mentioned in the original announcement, the promise has now been kept: The Android app was announced at the beginning of September, and the iPhone app this week.
Vonage characterizes Extensions as "breaking beyond the four walls of the home"making the use of its VoIP services independent of the home phone. The company is stressing both the overall convenience of Extensions and the fact that Vonage World customers (see our coverage here) can now make international calls to 60-odd countries on their mobiles at a fraction of what it would cost them to use wireless carrier services.
"This new service dramatically increases the value of Vonages core offering, providing customers with more flexibility and savings when making international calls," said CEO Marc Lefar, in a statement.
According to Michael Tempora, Vonage's senior vice president of product management, the success of Extensions has exceeded expectations. "Nearly half of the international callers in our base have registered for Extensions and are actively using it," he told Enterprise VoIPplanet in a recent interview.
"We have observed a trend prior to launching Extensions that led us to believe our customers would embrace this," Tempora continued. "From data we have, we know that more than 50 percent of international calls in the U.S. are made from a mobile phone, so it made sense that our customers would want to do this."
The same enthusiastic reception goes for the iPhone and Android applications. "More than 20 percent of customers who have registered and are actively using Extensions are doing so from an Android or iPhone app. So, in a very short time, we've got terrific engagement from our customers, both in registering and using the apps," Tempora said.
"Both applications work in exactly the same way; the enrollment and use process is exactly the same," he explained. "Use is as simple as Open the app, select a contact, touch the name to dial."
Extensions has noticeably changed the calling behavior of Vonage customers, according to Tempora. "A significant portion of their calling has moved from the home to the Extensions lines," he said.
Moreover, thanks to this positive customer response, when the Android app was launched, Vonage announced an extension of Extensions: Customers could register a second phone number in the program, essentially making it a family plan. While the first Extensions number, again, is free of charge, a second Extensions line was initially priced at $9.99 per month; the price has since been dropped to $4.99.