Verizon Wireless Scraps Voice-Over-IP Hub

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

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."

Launched in January, the Hub was a bid by Verizon Wireless to upsell mobile phone customers on a landline voice service -- 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's mobile phones.

The decision by Verizon Wireless to shelve the Hub was reported Tuesday by blogger Dave Zatz.

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 voicemail and simultaneous ring, it provided news, information, video, driving directions, the ability to order movie tickets and personalization features such as displaying photos in screensaver mode.