Telecommunications/Technology

Claro looking to pull plug on its PhoneMax VoiP service

Puerto Rico Telephone, which does business as Claro, is looking to end its PhoneMax service. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual) Puerto Rico Telephone, which does business as Claro, is looking to end its PhoneMax service. (Credit: © Mauricio Pascual)

Puerto Rico Telephone, which does business as Claro, is looking to pull the plug on its Voice over Internet Protocol-based PhoneMax service, some eight years after breaking ground with the next-generation tool.

Last November, the carrier submitted an application with the Federal Communications Commission requesting permission to discontinue VoIP in Puerto Rico on Jan. 31. Among other reasons for the decision, Claro said PhoneMax now represents a duplicate offering, given all of the new services available.

The carrier further said that customers would not be affected because it would “continue to offer a wide range of alternative voice services from which to choose, including traditional wireline voice services and wireless voice services.”

“The public convenience and necessity will not be impaired by this proposed discontinuance because the market for voice services in Puerto Rico remains highly competitive and several other carriers offer a variety of comparable voice services,” Claro told the FCC.

However, the argument apparently did not convince the FCC, which opted not to grant the company’s application automatically, buying time to review comments that have been submitted since the application was filed against the move. The agency reportedly received 10 comments from clients claiming that they would likely not be able to find a reasonable substitute for the service.

Furthermore, the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board also submitted its assessment of the carrier’s petition, which the FCC said would require further analysis to determine whether the proposed discontinuance would serve the public interest.

“Claro asked the FCC to allow the discontinuation of the PhoneMax product, as it’s not part of the company’s product strategies,” said Claro Spokeswoman Irmarie Cervera. “There are other quality voice products today, wireless and wireline, to satisfy consumer needs.”

“In fact, PhoneMax customers have gradually been opting for those products. Claro hasn’t discontinued the PhoneMax service to remaining customers and is waiting the FCC’s order, to comply with it.”

Puerto Rico Telephone launched PhoneMax in January 2005. At present, it is not clear how many customers remain signed up to the service.

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