By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
VoIP provider Vonage announced that it will begin to offer in-store activation for its Internet telephony service thanks to a newly minted partnership with GetConnected.
In-store activation will initially be available at Circuit City and is under development with other Vonage retailers, said David Goodwin, Vonage sales VP. Through Circuit's existing GetConnected kiosks (which consumers use to activate broadband, satellite and other digital service), consumers can select their Vonage service plan and activate their hardware device.
The GetConnected partnership will allow Vonage consumers to get their rebates instantly and make the purchase of a VoIP device similar to buying a cellphone, Goodwin said. The company will continue to offer a "grab and go" model where consumers purchase equipment in store, activate it at home and mail in a rebate.
The GetConnected kiosks will also allow Vonage to be more aggressive with short-term promotions, Goodwin said. The first such promotion kicked off on Black Friday, with Vonage offering a $200 Circuit shopping spree for new subscribers who activate service in-store. The promo, which ran through Dec. 2, also offered free hardware via a mail-in rebate.
According to Goodwin, the kiosks will continue to offer other digital subscription services and possibly other VoIP services, in addition to Vonage's plans. "We've found that some customers want Vonage but don't have broadband, so we feel this is an opportunity to help retailers add more services."
Vonage also unveiled a new seasonal calling service. Vonage users who dial 1-700-CALLSANTA will hear a recording from Santa Claus himself and will be able to leave him a message. That message will be forwarded to the account holders' e-mail, making them privy to their child's holiday wish list.
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