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AT&T Eyes Vonage Customers, Takes on Verizon and Qwest with CallVantage Softphone VoIP Expansion
[May 01, 2007]

AT&T Eyes Vonage Customers, Takes on Verizon and Qwest with CallVantage Softphone VoIP Expansion

TMCnet Associate Editor
To relatively little fanfare, AT&T (News - Alert) last September launched a computer-based phone service (aka softphone) called CallVantage Softphone. The service was introduced in two forms: stand-alone, and bundled with existing CallVantage accounts.

AT&T worked with CounterPath Solutions (News - Alert) to develop the SIP-based CallVantage Softphone service, which lets users make and receive calls using an Internet-connected computer. Initial pricing provided two options: 300 U.S./Canada/Puerto Rico minutes for $10.99 per month, or unlimited minutes for $19.99 per month.
In February, AT&T expanded the scope of CallVantage Softphone further by offering rate discounts of up to 75 percent for international calls carried out using the service. The cheap rates included calls to the U.K., Greece, Beijing and Germany for 2 cents per minute; Mexico City for 3 cents per minute, and New Delhi for 11 cents per minute.
A USA Today report out Tuesday indicated that AT&T is now beefing up the impact of CallVantage Softphone even further by bundling it with the company’s cell phone service as part of three-month trial packages. Not only that, but this offering is being launched in two key markets: Portland, Oregon (competing with offerings from Verizon (News - Alert)) and central New Jersey (taking on Qwest).
Given the shaky status of Vonage, arguably the most recognizable name in consumer VoIP services, AT&T’s move to compete with other Internet phone offerings can be seen as a step toward filling a potential, looming void left if Vonage (News - Alert) is forced out of business. Recent figures from Vonage indicate that the company serves 2.4 million subscriber lines.
The USA Today report pointed out that, generally speaking, the big phone service providers have tended in the past to not actively compete for customers in the same market due to the expense of installing new wires—but the comparatively low cost of rolling out VoIP is changing the equation.
Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. A new competition over VoIP customers is about to begin.
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For more about how VoIP services are being deployed, check out this white paper: Connectivity Challenges for Real-time IP Communications—just one of the research documents available in TMCnet’s White Paper Library. After perusing the library, make sure you hop on over to the Communications Developer Conference site to register and get additional info about the event (May 14-17, 2007 at the Hyatt Regency Santa Clara, California)—where you can learn how to build the next generation of IP-based communications products and services.

Mae Kowalke previously wrote for Cleveland Magazine in Ohio and The Burlington Free Press in Vermont. To see more of her articles, please visit Mae Kowalke’s columnist page. Also check out her Wireless Mobility blog.

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