It is obvious that telecom pricing is in a declining state. Credit VoIP and wireless carriers for this. Many analysts say consolidation is necessary in a market with declining pricing. Motley Fool has an interesting article about why the SBC/AT&T merger doesn't make sense. The author argues that two companies that aren't doing great shouldn't combine as they will make even less money. There may be some logic here.
The flipside to this argument is that CallVantage could be the white knight of AT&T and by investing even more into VoIP, AT&T can more quickly become a global provider of VoIP and possible be the largest VoIP provider worldwide. Are there inherent advantages to being an ILEC as well? Perhaps. Imagine the kind of deals you could make with other service providers around the world... You give me favorable rates terminating on your network and will do the same.
Are there legal issues here? Possibly but there seem to be inherent advantages in being able to terminate calls in your own area which in SBC's case is the east and west coasts. Will Vonage get a fair shake selling into SBC/AT&T territories? We will have to wait and see.
In summary, perhaps the article gets it wrong. There are tremendous synergies in being able to sell broadband around the US and also VoIP with a globally recognized brand. We are talking about what could become a telecom mega-giant. Will the government allow it? Possibly... We will see. But from an investment perspective, if VoIP keeps growing worldwide at such an incredible pace, having the AT&T CallVantage name to sell isn't such a bad proposition.