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Mass. firm offers lifetime phone service

A small Massachusetts telecommunications firm has launched a $999 offer of unlimited Internet-based telephone service for life.
/ Source: Reuters

For customers who either love to plan ahead or hate monthly bills, a small Massachusetts telecommunications firm has launched a $999 offer of unlimited Internet-based telephone service for life.

RNK Telecom said on Monday its "Phone for Life" deal would be offered through resellers in Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The deal includes unlimited calls within the United States, Canada and 20 countries, as well as an additional 21 foreign cities.

Privately held RNK said the deal includes a two-month money-back guarantee, and that customers still unhappy after five years could get half their money back minus charges for some calls. The $999 fee does not include taxes or surcharges.

Internet calling services use voice over Internet Protocol, or VOIP, to transmit phone calls in the same way data is sent over the Internet. That technology makes calls less expensive than traditional phone services, which require a dedicated circuit for each connection.

Prices for VOIP service have been falling in recent months as new competitors flood the market. The largest U.S. VOIP company, Vonage, offers unlimited calling for $25 per month. Another VOIP start-up, SunRocket, is offering one year of unlimited calls for $199, or about $17 per month.

Fees for residential VOIP services do not include the cost of the required high-speed Internet connection.