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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