Image via CrunchBase
First there was TalkPlus, a company started by Jeff Black and John Todd. Then there was Jangl from Michael Cerda who pretty much handed the intellectual property to Jajah (now part of Telefonica) so it would have a home. Others have been around too, and now one of those which has lasted called Vumber is seeking to make their mark the way Line2 has and TechCrunch has the story.
Second lines on mobile phones in theory were a good idea, but that was in the days before 3G and for the most part before the Android and iPhone smartphone explosion. The use cases today remain the same as those that we worked on with TalkPlus and which Jangl pioneered. Both looked at the dating market as the ideal scenario, but both also had grander designs on where they could go. Now with services figuring out how to do things using 3G networks and Wi-Fi connections, the need for a second line service is not as meaningful, as you can use softclients like client CounterPath's Bria, or other softphones on a SmartPhone to do the same thing, or make use of the free GoogleVoice service which in essence also gives you a second line if you choose to use both their number and your number for different types of calls.
Sure, the likes of those also allow you to make or receive your late night booty call, or hook-up, but the real value of second numbers on a mobile phone are obvious. To keep your work and personal life separate without having to carry a second device. With LTE now here, and the ability in a week or so to be able to use an IP based calling app like Bria, Skype or Truphone, and each having the ability to provide a second number assigned to them from various sources the whole second line concept becomes a real me too, not a very much me different offering. In essence the terminal value of companies built around the concept just got crushed. In reality, with Bria you can have more than two, or three, or four DID's on your iPhone or Android, if you needed them, and make calls over Wi-Fi or 3G with real clarity. That's not just a second line, that's a whole desk phone experience if you set it up that way with a reliable hosted PBX provider so I guess it won't be long before we have line3 and line4 on them either.