AT&T to discontinue wholesale legacy inward assistance service, cites low usage

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AT&T says the demand for Inward Assistance has declined at a rate of about 17% per year for the last several years.

AT&T is seeking FCC approval to shut down its wholesale Inward Service, a move that reflects the service provider’s ongoing effort to shed more of its legacy service base that have migrated to IP-based solutions.

If AT&T gets the FCC’s approval, the service provider plans to stop offering the service in April 2018.

As an operator-to-operator general assistance service, Inward Assistance allows a subscribing carrier's operator to contact an AT&T operator and request dialing and/or routing information.

In a typical service situation, an AT&T operator may provide the carrier’s operator with dialing or routing information, such as identifying a city when given only a NPA-NXX or verifying that a specific number is a coin station.

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To subscribe to Inward Assistance a service provider must order, install and maintain inward trunks in every Local Access and Transport Area (LATA) to reach an AT&T operator for assistance.

Since the demand for Inward Assistance has declined at a rate of about 17% per year for the last several years, AT&T said that “the public convenience and necessity will not be impaired by this service discontinuance.”

Further, AT&T said it has experienced an 86.7% decline in the volume of its inward service over the last five years as more customers have taken advantage of more modern technologies and/or services to communicate such as text messaging, instant messaging, social media, and mobile calling.

AT&T said that given these usage trends, “there is little need for operator services generally, and carrier’s operators have less of a need to contact an AT&T operator for inward assistance.”