SANTA CLARA, Calif.—AT&T rolled out its do-it-yourself voice-over-IP service on Monday, allowing customers to add a VOIP phone to an existing broadband connection. The service includes a quasi-"presence" feature that will route calls to the appropriate phone.
Initially, the CallVantage service will only provide residents of New Jersey local phone numbers to call other areas of the country. However, AT&T will also provide local numbers to 100 other U.S, markets later this year, said Ray Solnik, strategic markets vice president in the AT&T Consumer Marketing and Sales Group, in an interview.
Users will be able to use and access the service from anywhere in the country, Solnik explained. However, the number assigned to them will initially include a New Jersey area code.
AT&Ts solution allows users to plug an adapter into the Internet connection provided by DSL or a cable modem, allowing them to make calls to any phone, including traditional circuit-switched phones, other VOIP phones, and cell phones. The adapter can also be unplugged and moved from place to place, allowing mobile VOIP connections from locations which also have wired broadband access.
VOIP works by routing voice in across the packet-based IP network used by the Internet. The technology allows users to tap into the Internet for voice calls, in what can be a cheaper solution than a traditional phone. However, VOIP requires a broadband connection; in most cases, DSL companies have refused to offer "naked DSL" and have required subscribers to also sign up for ordinary voice telephonics service.
"A customer can go from three and a half minutes from the call to a dial tone," Hossein Eslambolchi, president of AT&Ts global networking services division, in a keynote address to the Voice On The Network show here.
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