Voce Launches, Super-High-End Cellular Carrier

Do you mock the peons who merely read the Robb Report, as opposed to living it? Then you’re ready for Voce, the new wireless carrier targeted at the super-high-end customer. Voce (pronounced “voh-chay”) is launching very quietly (ssh) with 500 hand-picked users in the LA area later this month; it will spread to upscale department stores and boutique retailers in New York, San Francisco and LA in September.

Voce plans come with unlimited minutes, directory assistance and messaging (that’s “messaging,” not “massaging”), handset insurance, a starter phone and annual free replacement phones, three phone chargers, a Bluetooth headset, a 24-hour concierge service, and on site tech support. Yes, a guy will come to your office to show you how to use your phone. High quality customer support is basically what you’re paying for here.If you want to travel internationally with a Voce phone — and oh, you will — Voce’s customer service team will match you with the “ideal wireless solution” for your roaming needs, even supplying you with special handsets for those thorny Japanese and Korean networks. You also get discounts on various high-end travel services, like luggage shipping.

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Voce’s four launch phones (at right) include the Nokia 8801 and three custom-colored versions of the Motorola RAZR V3, in black leather, “camel” and white. None of these phones are particularly exciting feature-wise, but that’s fine because Voce is a voice-focused carrier. Still, though, I’d imagine Voce’s target market would like them to throw in a Blackberry or two. (When I spoke to Voce CEO Steve Stanford last December, he mentioned the 3-megapixel camera smartphone Nokia N80 as an example of a more technology-focused handset they might release.) All the phones will be unlocked, so you can use your French SIM card when you’re at your chateau.When I spoke to Stanford, he said the service will initially use Cingular’s network and that they’re looking into some sort of high-speed data solution, possibly using Cingular’s HSDPA system once it’s built out beyond the 16 cities it’s currently in. The key is for service to appear seamless, high-quality, and easy, Stanford said.How much does this cost? Back in December, they wanted to charge $500/month. Now, they say they’ve changed the pricing, but they won’t tell me what it is. Clearly, if you have to ask, daaaaaaaahling, it’s too much for you.Find out more at Voce’s Web site. Daaaaaaaaahling.

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