Based on some G2 I've been able to discover from some well healed off-shore type players in telcom who have played in the telco game for many years and made a bundle off of selling things to SBC I was able to ferret out a bit about the Yahoo/AT&T VoIP marriage and what it may mean...
First it's really the same Yahoo Messenger client we all know and love, with the only difference being that it will pick up some co-branding with AT&T's new logo and the Yahoo routing engine gets used to determine how to handle he calls. Can you spell the DialPad acquisition? That means when it detects the inbound IP address falls into the 13 region that was formally known as SBC AT&T will terminate the voice traffic over the AT&T IP-PSTN gateway which is what was more than likely what was used for CallVantage, something Yahoo isn't ready to market with AT&T just yet..
So what does this mean for each side...A huge win for Yahoo and some great work by Brad Garlinghouse and his biz dev team at Yahoo. By setting up a least cost routing engine at Yahoo and plugging multiple carriers into it Yahoo ID becomes more valuable over time than a phone number, so a SIP address linked to it becomes the person’s real phone number as a result.
The reason? The termination costs are so low that AT&T will never see profits, and as there is more and more adoption of the Yahoo Messenger with Voice product is, the more money AT&T gets to lose, while Yahoo keeps all of the voice revenue, ad revenue, and breakage from the unused minutes on prepaid accounts.
This is a much smarter deal than what Microsoft has with MSN whose new Messenger uses exclusively MCI. Why? Because you can monetize and make granular the competition and the options all the way down to specific routes and even time of day. Again…DialPad.
This means that as a carrier, the only routes that will be handed off to you are the cheapest ones you offer. So if you have a scheme whereby you have some routes that are profitable and others that are not, the most likely case is that you will never see traffic to your profitable routes. Therefore, as a carrier, the more traffic you get terminated from a LCR engine like Yahoo's, the more money you will potentially lose no make.
This deals keeps looking better and better for Yahoo...