The blogosphere is alive with speculation that AT&T is pulling back on its CallVantage VoIP service. The company reportedly is halting marketing of the service through its affiliate partners as of today, which is driving some observers to believe that CallVantage will bite the dust completely.
AT&T has made no official announcement thus far, but changes in the CallVantage strategy, branding or service would not be surprising at this point since such changes were implied last fall when AT&T said it would begin packaging VoIP with its U-verse broadband service. CallVantage has been around since before U-verse, and it even pre-dated the SBC acquisition of AT&T that created the new AT&T. It was in fact one of the first VoIP services offered by a major landline telco.
If AT&T eventually calls it a day for CallVantage, the move should not be seen as a failure by a major telco to compete in the VoIP business. I'll admit to having thought at CallVantage's launch that pure-play VoIP providers like Vonage and Skype would be doomed by AT&T's offering. Yet, the biggest VoIP players have survived outages, legal hassles and corporate strife, and seem to have emerged from all that in decent enough health. Vonage even is pushing further onto telco turf with a plan to re-sell DSL.
However, AT&T is evolving, too. Its U-verse service is maturing and expanding, and this fact plus ongoing VoIP competition and ongoing landline voice decline, means it is time for the telco offer a truly integrated broadband and VoIP family. It may not go by the name CallVantage in the future, but that does not mean AT&T is giving up on VoIP.
- see this post at GigaOm