AT&T is preparing to offer a triple play bundle without a circuit switched landline, relying on VoIP service for the voice portion of the bundle. The new VoIP service will not be branded as AT&T’s existing CallVantage VoIP service. They have yet to reveal the new brand which will be marketed exclusively with U-verse IPTV service. Ralph de la Vega, AT&T’s group president, regional telecommunications and entertainment tells Investor’s Business Daily, “It’s a big step forward for us because we’re putting all our services — U-verse TV, broadband, voice — over the same IP (Internet protocol) infrastructure using the same billing system. It begins a transition to the future where we can dismantle the (older) voice circuits.” Could this be AT&T’s first move to transition to an all IP network, or is it a marketing strategy to meet their cable triple play competitors head on with a similar triple play bundle.
AT&T appears to be experimenting with many non-traditional bundles, having recently launched a wireless/DSL only bundle. This latest move could be an experiment to test an all IP network solution. It is after all the prediction of most – a move to an all IP network, delivering robust IP powered bundles, services, and features. On the surface, such a move at this time certainly raises questions. Why abandon a circuit switched line when the infrastructure is already there? Wouldn’t you want to leverage that investment for as long as possible? It makes sense for a cable company to offer VoIP because they have no legacy circuit switched infrastructure. In reality, AT&T isn’t really abandoning anything. Their circuit switched legacy will live on for many years to come. But you do have to start somewhere. If everyone agrees that an all IP network is the future of telecom, why not begin to get your feet wet with it now. Using a phased roll out of VoIP tied to IPTV is a good a place to start as any. Cable’s success with the triple play proves that consumers are willing to adopt VoIP as their primary voice service. In reality, consumers really don’t know or care what technology powers their phone service. They just want dial tone when they pick up the phone and consistent quality throughout their calls. This new AT&T bundling strategy may be viewed as the first step to a true all IP network for telecom carriers.
Read more about this AT&T move from an original Investor’s Business Daily article posted on the CNN/Money website.