AT&T's CallVantage finally disappearing?

July 5th, 2008 by · 1 Comment

Tom Keating reports that AT&T (NYSE:T, news, filings) is planning to end its foray into the standalone VoIP world, CallVantage.  I remember back when CallVantage started, it looked as if it would be a major competitor – back then AT&T was not an RBOC it was an IXC, a term we don’t use much anymore now that the biggest IXCs are relatively minor parts of RBOCs.  CallVantage was (and is) a very solid product, I went with Packet8 on price because it fit my needs, but I thought about using CallVantage. 

But it has been a couple years since anyone cared whether or not CallVantage existed, including AT&T.  Little if any promotion, little if any growth.  Why?  Because SBC never wanted a standalone VoIP product and everyone knew it.  They kept it mainly so they could point to it as an example of their openness, but it seems that even as a decoy CallVantage has come to the end of its lifespan.  It doesn’t fit with their FTTX plans, it doesn’t fit with their toll booths in the last mile, and they have a competing product in their own footprint.  Frankly, I’m amazed they didn’t kill it earlier.

But contrary to some speculation, I don’t think they sell it because it is just peanuts to them – but still peanuts that might feed a competitor like Vonage or Packet8 or even Sprint.  And why make the competition healthier if the benefit to you is too small to measure?  I think they just shut it down as quietly as they can manage, and probably before the election in November while everyone is preoccupied.

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Categories: VoIP

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  • Frank A. Coluccio says:

    Interesting observatins, Rob. I’d add, however, that CallVantage was never “productized” or packaged to the transmission and switching form factors that align with AT&T’s current “broadband” bundling arrangements, if I’m not mistaken, hence sort of an odd-man-odd kind of an affair. Unlike the MSOs’ voice services that align with PacketCable and the RBOCs’ current flavors of quasi-ATM-based virtual circuits, both of which innately capable of supporting QoS — CallVantage, in contrast, was accessible by anyone, relegating it to what we now call “over-the-top” status, and thus sought by no one in any appreciable numbers as the dominants gained market share through their own flavors of VoIP, in the end. Or so it at least seems to me.

    If I’m mistaken about any of this, then someone please speak up, and not let my blurb above be left to posterity unchecked.

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