No More AT&T Callvantage

31 Comments

Updated: AT&T has stopped selling AT&T Callvantage to new customers, reports DSL Reports.

AT&T, long before it merged with SBC had made a half-hearted attempt at getting into consumer VoIP by selling a service called, CallVantage. It was surprisingly good, especially its call quality. Unfortunately, the company never quite made the commitment to it. And when SBC merger happened, well it fell victim of save-your-mentality that comes with it. Today, there is word that AT&T has stopped pushing the service through its affiliate channels – a sure sign that the company is backing away even further and would shut it down soon enough. Some believe that shut down is going to come next year, though I thought it was already killed, since the former AT&T Callvantage boss is now running AT&T’s CDN business, and we have not heard a single pitch from the company in over a year. I guess this is one less thing Vonage has to worry about!

31 Comments

Ryan

I’m right there with you, Big John.

I have been a CV customer for 6 years. Loved it and will be sorry to see it go. I’m not going through absolute chaos right now trying to port my numbers over to Vonage. I have one main number and three “simple reach” numbers (virtual numbers). ATT will not let Vonage port my Simple Reach numbers!!! ATT claims that they are not real numbers, only a “feature”…. which is total BS. Any number can be ported, especially in today’s day and age. This is an FCC violation and I’m really upset about it…. my whole life is centered around one of the Simple Reach numbers and it makes no sense for ATT to not let us have them. What do they need it for anyway??? Here we are leaving them because we HAVE TO and they won’t even let us leave with a little respect?

The funny thing is, years ago when I decided to join VOIP, I went with ATT over Vonage. My thinking… Vonage was just a start-up and ATT would never go anywhere.

How wrong I was.

I’m willing to fight this to the end. Has anyone been able to port a Simple Reach virtual number over to another service from ATT CallVantage? Please let me know. I’m willing to do whatever’s necessary.

Thanks.

Chris

The porting to Vonage was no problem but I didn’t have a simple-reach. Since this was a virtual number i think AT&T will fight tooth and nails to keep you from having it while the VIOP number wasn’t soo virtual.

On another note, I tried to switch my 212 number to Time Warner’s viop services but they will only take other 518 numbers… So much for number portability, eh?

Big John

I am extremely disappointed with AT&T. I also worked for them when they were Pacific Bell and SBC before I started my own business. They have a pattern of jacking around their customers over the years. I have four AT&T cell phones, over 6 land lines for my businesses, four DSL lines along with Callvantage. For one thing, it took them forever to get DSL to my home. Then when they finally did, they talked me into trying Callvantage. I went for it and now I am sorry. What a bunch of jerks who never seem to learn! I was there during the breakup of Pacific Bell and AT&T in the 80s. AT&T was all but lost completely. I don’t really even know how they survived at all. Now, the FCC has allowed them to somehow merge everything over and monopolize the business once again. And the first thing they do, right away, is start jacking the customer around.
I had AT&T cell service in 2000. Then they were bought out by SBC. SBC tried everything they could to get rid of me because they didn’t want to honor the AT&T contract that I had with my Nokia smartphone- I was able to get email and browse the web back then long before blackberries came along at a fraction of the price. So they pulled the plug on me then and I had to go with Verizon. Next thing I know, they are taking the SBC signs back of the buildings and putting AT&T back on! So after two years with Verizon, I go back to AT&T because they talked me into it saying I could bundle all my AT&T services- I wouldn’t be charged minutes from my ATT cell phone to any ATT landline or other ATT service. I also got a discount on my ATT DSL when I was able to get it. Then they talked me into Callvantage. Everything worked great! I was hooked. I got my whole family cell phones and went totally with ATT for all my business communications needs as well. Everything went great for a while. Then down hill FAST!
First they say no more callvantage. I found out when I tried to go on their website to get support on how to get a second line. I was able to get it, but no more support and no new customers. I became very concerned. Then I got the letter saying they were pulling the plug altogether. WHAT?!!!! NOW WHAT? NO, U-VERSE IS NOT AVAILABLE IN MY AREA. Soon after that, we start getting these huge bills from ATT and they start charging us for every call we make- even between ATT services. We call customer service and we are passed around from one department to the next, from one customer service rep to the next, from one country to the next trying to find out what is going on. We finally find out that they DE-BUNDLED all of our services without any notification at all! Come to find out, their explanation was that since we no longer needed land lines because we went with Callvantage, we had what’s called “dry-loop” DSL service. WELL, for some reason, ATT made a policy that nobody seems to know when exactly it went into effect, that you could not bundle services with a Dry-loop DSL service. And they don’t recognize Callvantage as a ATT service at all. So they just totally squelched on our agreement without a bat of an eye! And low and behold, that means they can just rape us on the charges! I couldn’t believe it! We were shocked and disappointed.
ATT let us so down so badly, and so boldly, that I am completely cutting ALL ATT services. I have already found another VOIP service- I am trying out Phone Power. They are by far the best deal and they have virtually all the same features available that I used with CV. I cancelled my DSL lines at home and went with Comcast broadband which is WAY faster! And now cheaper! So right there, I was able to cut my home phone cost in half!
I am switching all my cell phones back over to Verizon as soon as my contract is up in November. I am also going to switch all my business lines over to Comcast and Phone power if it works out at home. So far so good! Although I am not quite sure about Phone Power. They are so cheap, it scares me. They weren’t able to port my second line- they did m first line, then gave me a sob story about the second line saying they couldn’t do it because they didn’t do business in “that rate center” which the prefix of my phone number belongs to. Well, then how did I get that number in the first place? I was NEVER in that rate center! All I know is when I signed up for CV, the phone number came up as a choice and I clicked on it. Now all of the sudden, I have to be in that “rate center” to have the number ported? Not only that, but I’m not in the rate center for my first number! But somehow they were able to port that one. It just didn’t make any sense. And the customer service is sketchy because they aren’t able to explain it very well. And after a certain point, they showed they really didn’t care about what a bad situation they put me in by telling me they could port my numbers, then doing one, then changing their minds on the second one. They didn’t care- they just said “oh well! What would you like us to do? Cancel the service on the first line and you can try another VOIP company (which would really screw things up) or get a new number for the second line, that’s all we can do”. So since I already spent hours and hours on the phone trying to iron this out, my only choice was to stick with them (not to mention they are sooo cheap!) and take the new number for the second line.
I even got on the FCCs website which state that I am supposed to be able to port my number. I have the right to port my number- even voip to voip. I even called them and asked them! They have no BS about being in the “rate center”. It is just plain madness!
And really, while I rant on, this all really because of the stupid FCC! What the hell are they doing anyway? They don’t do a darn thing! Except take bribes- OBVIOUSLY! How else can you explain it? They have got to be the most corrupt government bureaucracy that exists today. Why break them up in the 80s just to let them do this now? What was that all about anyway? And what is THIS all about? ATT is raping it’s customers, not to mention letting us down, being completely irresponsible, offering no apology for the sheer inconvenience of literally pulling the plug on a very important aspect of our lives with no explanations, downgrading the customer service to the point of pure aggravation, and somehow all equating to getting screwed on the billing charges with no recourse. This is beyond unethical business practices and disloyalty to it’s own customers, this is outrage! But the bottom line is that I am not going to give into ATT and their scams. I plan on using technology and my freedom of choice to the fullest extent to stay one step ahead of the crooks in the government and large corporations as they try and try to screw the consumer as much as they can.

AT&T!!!! GET BENT!!!!!!!!
And actually, I think it’s fun trying out new stuff! And saving lots of money in the process!
They have gone full circle, basically screwing the people they are supposed to be protecting and supporting more than ever! BOYCOTT AT&T FOREVER! TELL THEM TO SHOVE U-VERSE WHERE THE SUN DON’T SHINE!

GBrag

I am so extremely disappointed in CV dropping the service, and I do not have an AT&T option. Uverse in not available only some lame satellite tie in. Nuts … throwing away paying customers. Just dumb. Spent 32 years working for AT&T and the blunders just keep coming. In the world of telecom, wireless or otherwise, customer retention is key. It takes nine times more effort (i.e. cost) to steal a customer or get one back than to retain one. And now AT&T has told us to “just go away”. It seems this is the brainchild of some fresh out of school wizard applying their newly learned MBA 101 teachings.

sharon

We were also one of the first customers 5 years ago. We never never had a problem with our service. We love all the features they offered. Never had a complaint. Best product ever. Because we also received a letter stating that CV was being discontinued, we did switch to vonage. The features we really miss so far is, control by phone, address book and the accuracy of the phone call log. Other wise we have been satisfied. I do not have computers at work (old ibm typewriters only) i was able to help my greyhound rescue group while at work making long distant phone calls without using my bosses phone. My boss won’t upgrade, so i had to get a cell phone contract instead of my little minute phone I had. Uverse did not help my cause so it was not an option. I am hoping that CV will see to there mistake in discontinuing, because if they do and come back, i will break my 2 yr contract with Vonage and go back.

Joseph

Chris,

To keep your 212 phone number from CallVantage, switch to another VOIP provider (like Vonage.)

Chris

Switch Monday and got Vonage installed today! So far so good.

Ryan

Chris,

Were you able to port it over succesfully? I’m in the midst of porting HELL with AT&T CV as they are not letting me port my Simple Reach numbers, only the main number on my account. This is totally inexcusable and a huge let down. Anyone else solve this problem???

jim

I really, really liked CV — sorry to see it go. I had Vonage for a few years, switched to CV about 2 years ago. No comparison — CV quality and reliability was much better. I’m also a U-verse TV/internet subscriber, but U-verse Voice has no appeal to me (mostly because my RG is in a closet nowhere near a phone or phone jack). Looking at ooma Premier — very promising reviews…

jim

I did switch from CallVantage to ooma (www.ooma.com). Different business model than most VoIP providers — they charge you about $200 for hardware and then provide FREE domestic phone service. They also have a Premier offering for under $100/year that provides a second line, free number porting, and a wealth of useful features like call screening, blacklists, etc. Definitely check them out before committing $25/month per line to Vonage.

I’m very satisfied with ooma. I hope they make their business model work.

Russ

I just got my letter saying they are discontinuing CV. The funny thing is I just got Uverse service two months ago & they told me they couldn’t port the ATT CV number to ATT Uverse phone service. I have been looking for a reason to get rid a home number & I guess now is the time. I sure hope Google Voice is released before ATT disconnects me.

Hosey

Bye bye CallVantage!!! I ama CallVantage customer & received a notification letter today that the service will be discontinued this year with instructions for disconnect.
I have been a subscriber since its inception with trouble free service (Comcast ISP- MANY problems and horrible service) and am sorry to see it go. What I liked was the ability to set QOS on the Dlink to allow dial up analog modem- able to get 34.4Kb which Skype could not match.

Chris

I have been with Call Vantage for 5 years and loved them and I got a letter today that they are discontinuing service this year and was told to find a new provider. My issue is that I live in Albany (518 Area Code) and had 212 Area code. Does anyone know how to keep a 212 area code w/o using a cell phone?

Jerry

I’m one of the original Callvantage customers and I just found out while searching for a service for my parents that they are no longer taking customers. I’m not an fan of AT&T, I kicked most of their services to the curb about the time Callvantage came along; its the only service of theirs I still have. Its been good although not as feature rich as Vonage and now all the “newcomers” like TWC, Comcast and Verizon Fios, Callvantage is cheaper at $24.99 a month, same as Vonage. When I first signed on it was $34.99 a month but in an effort to keep up with Vonage they dropped the rate to $29.99 a month before my first bill and later to $24.99 a month. You have to pay extra for international calling while Vonage does include free international calling to a few select Euorpean countries. To make a long story short, if they discontinue Callvantage all together then look out Vonage here I come. I’ve been a little skeptical of Vonage having helped a friend set up their service months ago; it was not as straight forward as it should have been It took us an entire weekend to get it up and running and when we finally got it going the number they gave her still rang at the previous customer’s home. When we called to try and straighten it out they wanted to charge her for a new number even though it was their fault; it took her about a week to straighten it out. I have another friend who just got it, keeping her old number from her old AT&T landline service and the switchover seems to have been flawless, and since cost is my driving force for $24.99 a month they will beat U-verse, Fios, Comcast and Time Warner. Do the math, I don’t think I’m wrong and if you have to make calls to any european countries like I do its the way to go. For those who think the bundling thing is the way to go then one of those other companies will probably work for you. I don’t care about bundling, I have Time Warner for internet, Callvantage for phone and DirecTV and since I’ve been looking for an excuse to finally cut the cord to AT&T for once and for all this may be it. No hard feelings, I don’t have to go home but I got to get the hell out of there.

bozo

Kind of humorous – I have CV right now. Just signed up for uverse (new fiber in my neighborhood). When I entered my CV phone number for switchover, the uverse system had no idea that it was one of theirs. Had to use zip code instead.

Jess

I am still using ATT CV. I use it with my ATT DSL Direct (dry-loop). It is an excellent service. The ‘New AT&T’ (formerly known as SBC) decided to stop offering the product as ATT CV due to the fact that CV would compete directly with Digital Phone thru UVerse. And ATT is now offering Digital Phone for $30 as part of the UVerse bundle.

ATT CV was 24.99 (19.99 if customer subscribed to ATT Wireless) for unlimited Local and LD and 19.99 for Unlimited Local. It would have been awkward for ATT to continue to offer CV and, at the same time, offer Digital Phone over Uverse platform. For just $5.01 more, a Uverse customer can bundle the digital phone with Uverse bill. Uhh.. wait a minute.. isn’t bundling supposed to reduce the overall price for services??

Not a stroke of genius but certainly a common sense move to more closely align with the price offered by Cables for their versions of Digital Phone.

Gayle

It is official, this is from their website:

Thank you for your interest in AT&T CallVantage® service. Currently we are not accepting new orders for AT&T CallVantage service. We will continue to evaluate our AT&T CallVantage service and remain committed to providing leading, next generation voice services for today’s consumer and business customers. For information on other AT&T products and service please visit http://www.att.com

anonymous

Callvantage is no longer accepting new orders. It was that information that caused me to look for more information,and stumbled onto this discussion. So thought I’d add some info not presented here yet.

Dawn

I agree with Tom – I’m not ready to deliver a eulogy for CallVantage. Suppose they are pulling back on pushing the service through affiliate channels in order to push the service (either as CallVantage or re-branded) as a complement to their wireless services, ala T-Mobile’s Talk @Home Forever plan that just went nationwide last week?

Tom

It’s a little dramatic to claim that CallVantage is dead given:
– The Callvantage website is up, running and accepting orders – independent of broadband pipe.
– ATT offered a $20/month Callvantage plan last month for local+DSL subscribers (in my non-Uverse zip).

The headline is an attention grabber though…

P.S. Callvantage over ATT DSL quite good. It didn’t work so well for me over TWC. Vonage over TWC is running great after upgrading to a Docsis 2.0 modem…

Pete Dailey

CallVantage is dead. Existing customers will continue to be served for some time. CallVantage would not scale, according to AT&T Consumer Chief Marketing Officer, Jeff Weber. It is being replaced by U-Verse Voice, a totally different product, based on the IMS architecture. U-Verse Voice was available in 6 markets when last I checked (May 2008). Initially U-Verse Voice is only offered to U-Verse TV customers, but I believe that eventually after working out the bugs and developing a statistical basis for network design and traffic modeling, the service will be offered to all AT&T DSL subscribers. U-Verse Voice is a seminal product in the much anticipated migration to all-IP for the telcos. AT&T, because of the IMS architecture, and because Video is already an application that rides on IP transport, is much closer to that objective than Verizon for example, which still operates Video in an RF/QAM silo.

Keith Kamisugi

I’ve been a Callvantage customer for more than two years. It’s the only consumer voip service I know of with such a strong feature set, e.g. call filtering, dnd, safe forward number (which I actually use to more quickly send callers to phonetag) and email forwarding of voicemail wav files (rather than web-based).

I hope AT&T transitions us to something equally feature-rich.

Jim

This is very disheartening — I am a new CallVantage subscriber and the call quality has been terrific. I was thrilled to finally dump my landline and $65 Bellsouth/AT&T bill (with unlimited long distance).

I had been a landline holdout only because of call quality fears, but the opportunity to more than halve my cost of home phone service finally pushed me to CallVantage.

Anonymous

Jahangir is right…well, sort of. AT&T is launching their new IMS infrastructure and putting their new u-Verse service (voip) together. Though it is unconfirmed, it’s only a matter of time before AT&T begins to compete with Verizon’s new offering (not yet available) that will launch out of market to compete with the cable companies and AT&T. The reality is that AT&T and Verizon couldn’t care less about Vonage. Nobody does. Their business model doesn’t make sense. They are in business to be purchased. That’s it. Plain and simple. Their real concern are the Comcasts and Time Warners of the U.S. Vonage is only a tiny blip on the radar. Take a look at voice subs and there have been webinars to show the growth of these companies and Vonage is dead last of the “major” players.

My $.02.

Om Malik

Jahangir

Seems like you have fallen for the spin. Just see how many U-verse customers they have. It was started as a straight VoIP plan and this VoIP over DSL is nothing but spin.

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