And Now AT&T Jumps on the VoIP Bandwagon


(UPDATE) The New York Times is reporting that AT&T in a bid to out smart its traditional rivals, the Baby Bells is upending the industry and embracing VoIP whole heartedly. Way to go Ma Bell. David Dorman the CEO of AT&T is reportedly saying that VoIP is “the most significant fundamental new technology shift in telecommunications in decades.”

bq. “Unlike many of our competitors, who are constrained by geographic reach or broadband access technologies, our voice over IP offer will be available in cities across America to customers with different kinds of broadband access,” said Dorman. “We will be deploying the best VoIP technology on the nation’s largest IP network, but we will be doing it with the most trusted and proven name in voice services.” (AT&T press release)

AT&T appointed Cathy Martine, currently a senior vice president in the Consumer division, to oversee the ongoing execution of these and other initiatives being undertaken to leverage AT&T’s industry leading IP network.

bq. “VoIP is the most significant, fundamental new technology shift in telecommunications in decades and will deliver tremendous value to all customers by leveraging the efficiencies and advanced communications capabilities of IP-based technology,” said Dorman. “AT&T is uniquely qualified to lead the industry in this transformation. This is an area we intend to continue leading and that is why I have appointed one of our most talented executives to drive this effort.” (AT&T press release)

AT&T was going to start pushing VOIP to further penetrate the local consumer market and will start rollout in 1Q of 2004. AT&T expects the service to be available in top 100 markets at the end of next year. ?

bq. “This certainly is a significant event,” Kate Griffin, an analyst with the Yankee Group, a market research firm, said of AT&T’s impending move, noting it may well be the most aggressive effort yet by a major telephone company. “We’ve been waiting for years for companies to announce their roll-out plans,” she said. “Now everybody is jumping in.”

AT&T’s VOIP move will be great for Ma Bell, but expect others like MCI, FON, & ZTEL to jump on the bandwagon. Bad for RBOCs.?Moreover, it is going to make both the phone companies and cable operators realize the importance of their pipe.

Earlier this month SBC had announced its plans to go VoIP, and Verizon is already using VoIP to go after enterprise customers. The great VoIP bubble is in full effect – there are only 100,000 or so VoIP over broadband users. Just a reminder!

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