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Verizon Gives Hub the Hook

Verizon Wireless has stopped selling the Hub, a $250 broadband-connected device that provided voice service and Internet content, less than a year after introducing it.

Launched in January, the Hub was a bid by Verizon Wireless to sell mobile-phone customers a landline voice service, provided over any broadband Internet connection — at a time when telcos are quickly shedding traditional access lines. The device was positioned as a way to help families stay in touch and provided features that linked into Verizon Wireless mobile phones.

Verizon Wireless executive director of corporate communications Jeffrey Nelson confirmed in an e-mail the company is no longer selling the Hub but declined to offer a reason for the move. He added, “We'll of course take care of customers who have the Hub, and honor their commitments with us.”

Ultimately, the Hub may have been too expensive and restrictive to catch the fancy of consumers.

The device was priced at $250 (a $50 rebate was available) and customers were required to sign a two-year contract, as well as have at least one other Verizon Wireless account. The service was $34.95 per month for unlimited calling in North America and Puerto Rico.

The Hub included a seven-inch color touch screen and a cordless handset. In addition to phone features like visual voice mail and simultaneous ring, it provided news, information, video, driving directions, the ability to order movie tickets and personalization features such as displaying photos in screen-saver mode.