No More AT&T Callvantage

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!

Thanks to Cable, VoIP in the U.S. Is Booming

Despite all the troubles with VoIP service providers such as SunRocket and Vonage, VoIP as a technology seems to be doing quite well in the U.S., according to data from Telegeography. As of the end of March, there were 16.3 million consumer VoIP lines, or about 13.8 percent of U.S. households, and 27 percent of households with broadband lines installed.

It’s hardly a surprise, as a lot new additions are coming from people buying triple-play services from cable companies. As of the end of the first quarter of 2008, here’s how the cable VoIP data broke down:

Read More about Thanks to Cable, VoIP in the U.S. Is Booming

Making VoIP Work For You

VoIP has some major advantages over traditional landline phones. First, typically you can call phones in the US and Canada for one monthly flat rate. Also, international calls can be made very cheaply. Included services with your flat rate service include: call waiting, call forwarding, online enabled voice mail, CallerID, and many more. Whereas conventional phone companies charge you individually for each of these services, VoIP providers give them to you for one flat rate.

Where do you begin if you’d like to use your broadband connection to lower your phone bill dramatically? Lets walk through some of the options.

Now Vonage Will Also Sell Broadband

After a really rough 2007, Vonage (VG), the independent voice-over-IP service provider, seems to be having a better 2008. This morning the company reported its first-quarter 2008 financial results, and well, things are not bad. Not spectacular, but not bad, either.

More importantly, the company announced plans to sell Covad DSL services, rebranded as Vonage Broadband and tightly coupled with its VoIP service. Read More about Now Vonage Will Also Sell Broadband

Surprise! Limelight Will Appeal Akamai’s $45.5M Patent Win

Like a ballet, a patent lawsuit has dozens of carefully orchestrated steps, and today’s judgment against Limelight Networks marks the beginning of the exciting part of the show, which could drag on for years, or get cut short by a settlement. Earlier today a jury in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts found Limelight guilty of infringing four of claims in one of Akamai’s patents, and awarded the wronged content delivery network $45.5 million in damages.

Akamai also said it would seek an injunction to stop Limelight from continuing to sell infringing services. Limelight issued a release saying it was disappointed and would appeal the verdict, which means a trip to Washington’s U.S. Court of Appeals. For a program guide to how this may play out, see our previous coverage of the Verizon/Vonage patent lawsuit.

And Now Its AT&T’s Turn To Sue Vonage

Its like the Groundhog Day for Vonage (VG), the beleaguered VoIP services company. After being separately sued by Verizon (VZ) and Sprint (S), and losing its cases over patent infringements, the Holmdel, NJ-based company is now facing similar charges from AT&T (T).

Vonage was ordered to pay $66 million to Verizon, and it recently settled its case with Sprint for around $80 million. AT&T, apparently has been trying to reach a settlement for past two years, but couldn’t strike a deal. “We were forced to file a lawsuit,” AT&T spokesman told the Wall Street Journal.

Sprint Patents Get Vonage Cash

vonhq.jpgThe beleaguered VoIP provider Vonage (VG) has been taking it on the chin for so long that even a marginal bit of good news is worth noting. The company said today it has “settled its pending patent dispute with Sprint (S)” and has “entered into a licensing arrangement under Sprint’s Voice over Packet (“VOP”) patent portfolio.” The settlement has sent Vonage shares soaring this morning, up 73 percent to roughly $2 a share.

The agreement is valued at $80 million: $35 million for past license use, $40 million for a fully paid future license, and a $5 million prepayment for services. On Sept. 25, a Kansas jury handed down a verdict finding that Holmdel, N.J.-based Vonage had infringed six of Sprint’s patents. Vonage was asked to pay $69.5 million in damages.

Why is this good news? It’s one less thing for Vonage to worry about; now the company can focus all its energies on resolving the patent imbroglio with Verizon (VZ). The courts asked Vonage to pay $66 million to Verizon back in June. If they can resolve that issue, then they can get back to battling cable companies for customers.