Verizon is trying to sell its landlines to Frontier Communications.
Frontier is largely an operator in the Pacific Northwest service area. The Verizon landlines for sale are in California, Texas and Florida.
This would be a significant expansion for Frontier. It would get a declining business out of the hands of Verizon. Up until now, nobody is trying to sign-up for a new landline. Frontier's interest is the high-speed Internet service mixed in with the Verizon landlines.
I am in favor of ‘reverse innovation’ in this case. I’m hoping that the regulatory bodies that are needed to approve this purchase require Frontier to make their newly acquired landlines appealing enough to create a new market for all the old landlines around the country.
I’m guessing that most landlines are still held by older people, rural people and a few inner urban minorities.
What would it take to make an old landline service more competitive with smartphones?
First the pricing. Landlines still have local area and zones with different rates and still other long distance rates. Change this. Include all phone calls in the current single rate. Add a bonus, such as free calls to two international phone numbers.
Second, include all the features that are currently possible at the computer-switching end of the landline: 3 way calling, call forwarding, call return and caller ID. Add a bonus with a free ID calling device that also allows the subscriber to privately block any number they wish.
I have a landline and it rings 2-4 times a day with junk calls. When these can be blocked the landline gains a significant advantage over smartphones.
Add to this a networking capability. When a large percentage of customers are blocking a specific number, then the whole network blocks that spam number.
That is what I call 'reverse innovation'. Making a generally outmoded technology competitive with a new technology.
Regulators. It is now up to you.