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January 10, 2007

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Sanjay Jhawar

The Callvantage softphone seems well implemented - but offering it at an extra $7.95 a month seems misguided.

After all the service is the same, it is simply another end point. It would make more sense to charge $30 one time for the client software, or netter still nothing extra at all - it should just be a Callvantage differentiator.

Callvantage is a residential service marketed by AT&T in regions where they do not offer local service and almost impossible to find on the AT&T website if you enter any zipcode where AT&T has local service.

As a residential primary line replacement it is going to be used by families as well as singles. Most families won't want to use the home number for calls during international or other travelling - that would be for singles, or business users.

So the softclient is a convenience function within the home then. Not worth an additional $7.95. And you can't video call anyone since there is very little takeup of the Callvantage softclient (and modest take up of the Callvantage service itself), so that value prop needs Metcalfe to kick in first.

This VoIP industry professional had Callvantage at home and is switching to Earthlink. Unlike AT&T Earthlink bundles naked DSL at a respectable 8mbps and has lower calling costs internationally than Callvantage and VoIP that looks to the consumer like PSTN. Lack of a softclient is not a factor in switching.

So who did they think would use it for $7.95 a month?

Sanjay


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