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AT&T Completes a True Triple Play

Raymond McConville
News Analysis
Raymond McConville
1/22/2008
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For the first time, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) will begin selling residential voice-over-IP (VOIP) services over its U-verse network. The company launched its new U-verse Voice service in Detroit today, the first city where the VOIP service will be available. (See AT&T Unveils Service.)

Combined with the already existing U-verse TV and U-verse Internet services, U-verse voice will finally complete AT&T's triple-play package so that all three services are IP-based on the U-verse network.

Previously most triple-play packages that AT&T sold consisted of a legacy PSTN voice connection or its voice-over-broadband CallVantage service. AT&T says it will expand the service to additional markets throughout 2008 but has not provided a timeline for its availability.

The addition of U-verse Voice will bring many interactive services to customers previously not available for its traditional voice services, such as click to call, U-verse messaging, and a locater service that rings up to four numbers at the same time. (See AT&T Shows Off IPTV Tricks.)

AT&T will charge $40 per month for unlimited calling on U-verse Voice. That's a lot higher than the approximately $25 that VOIP competitor Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) charges but is on par with what cable MSOs such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK) have been charging for their very successful VOIP service plans.

The announcement comes at the beginning of a week in which many eyes will be focused on AT&T. The company will announce its financial results for the year 2007 on Thursday morning, and many investors are concerned about the company's residential services.

Two weeks ago, CEO Randall Stephenson remarked at an investor conference that AT&T has had to disconnect customers for not paying their bills and that the slowing U.S. economy has had an adverse effect on business. Those comments sent AT&T's stock and the rest of the market tumbling. (See Whoa Mama Bell!)

— Raymond McConville, Reporter, Light Reading

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optodoofus
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optodoofus,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:49:33 PM
re: AT&T Completes a True Triple Play
Why does this qualify as "triple-play", but the use of Callvantage over U-verse did not? That does not make any sense to me. VOIP is VOIP, so why would LightReading say that previous incarnations using CallVantage were not triple-play, but this is.

On a side note, is this an all-new VOIP infrastructure (say, using IMS) or just an extension of the Callvantage architecture?

optodoofus
Raymond McConville
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Raymond McConville,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:49:30 PM
re: AT&T Completes a True Triple Play
I think the difference is that callvantage worked over whatever existing internet connection that you may have had sort of like the same way vonage works. This is independent of your internet connection and comes over the U-verse network, so I don't believe your calls are being transmitted over the public Internet.
optodoofus
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optodoofus,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:49:28 PM
re: AT&T Completes a True Triple Play
Ray,

You think AT&T routes data from a U-verse customer to the Callvantage servers over the Internet? I'm betting AT&T has one of those IP backbone things that are all the rage these days.

optodoofus.
brichton
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brichton,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:49:23 PM
re: AT&T Completes a True Triple Play
sounds like triple play because it's integrated, so you'll see things like incoming call notifications on the TV. Also one bill for all 3 services, one number to call for support, etc.--stuff that doesn't seem the heart of integration but are very important
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