Dennis Berman in the December 29th Wall Street Journal (subscription required) explains that the current VoIP offering from the USA based legacy carriers is really not much more than hype, as all the carriers are offering is dial tone and basic services over IP vs analog.
Berman accurately points out that the carriers have only one weapon in their arsenal to compete with right now: Price. He clearly recognizes the missing link: Applications.
First off, the Application Server market over the past few years has focused more on being a Softswitch replacement by providing functions when connected to a IP media gateway. These application servers mimic what the Softswitch is designed to do in part, but don't do everything (yet). Given the leading companies efforts to do this, there was little energy or money devoted to applications despite the clearly recognized need.
Companies like Webley have actually taken the time to develop their own Application Server and applications. While working on the PSTN platform today in standard fashion, when Webley unleashes their IP platform, which is all SIP based, it will be the first new carrier to offer end users more than just PSTN services and Unified Messaging.
IP super-carrier Level3 (Ticker: LVLT) has taken the old Genuity platform, and combined it with their own in house Softswitch technology and the July, 2003 Telverse acquisition to offer protocol mediation, similar to the MediaRing VoizBridge that meets the International carrier's demand for the very important H.323 to SIP Interworking function . Level3’s (3)Tone and (3)VoIP Marketplace are resold to carriers or directly to enterprise customers.
It’s getting there, but you wouldn’t know it by reading the Wall Street Journal Portals today. But then, that’s why you are here.