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December 14, 2003 Provided by System Dynamics Inc.

IP Telephony -- Coming of Age in the US

IP telephony has been "in the works" for many years, starting with pioneers like VocalTec. In the US this month, there suddenly seemed to be that confluence of events that marks the tipping point for a technology. Local exchange carriers, interexchange carriers and cable companies all announced new VoIP services.

Here are some examples:

  • AT&T announced plans for providing a full suite of VoIP services in 2004, with initial deployments beginning in some metro markets in 1Q2004. ( www.att.com )
  • Cablevision Systems, a cable MSO, announced plans to roll out several new VoIP service features in 2004, including enhanced voicemail, voice over instant messaging and whole-house wiring. ( www.cablevision.com )
  • Qwest Communications, a LEC, has begun offering IP phone service to some customers in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area and said it would expand the service to other parts of its 14-state area in the first half of 2004. ( www.qwest.com )
  • SBC Communications, another LEC, launched a new suite of business data and IP-based voice services to be marketed both in and outside its regional U.S. markets. It will also support IP-enabled phones, so customers may use their office number when they are on the road. ( www.sbc.com )
  • Sprint is expanding the marketing of its telephony services to cable MSOs to fulfill as many of the cable operators' telecommunications needs as they wantó--from basic transport to a fully outsourced solution including IP voice, wireless and data services. ( www.sprint.com )
  • Time Warner Cable, the second-largest MSO, announced that it will offer Internet telephony service in its 27-state serving area via a deal signed with Sprint and MCI. These IXC companies will terminate IP voice traffic to the PSTN, provide local number portability, carry long distance traffic and provide enhanaced 911 service. ( www.timewarnercable.com ) ( www.sprint.com ) ( www.mci.com )
  • Vonage, the insurgent VoIP broadband telephony provider, now has over 75,000 subscribers and introduced a low end calling plan providing 500 minutes of local and long distance phone service in the U.S. and Canada for $14.99 a month. They are also targeting the Spanish-speaking population by launching a Spanish version of their Web site (http://www.vonage.com/lx) and offering Spanish-speaking Customer Care reps. ( www.vonage.com )