Interesting story on ZDnet. Basically, SBC cried foul that VoIP service providers such as Vonage were able to get 10-digit phone numbers at a cheaper rate since Net phone providers are exempt from the regulations that the carriers have to go through. Basically, VoIP service providers are able to get telephone numbers directly from their the North American Numbering Plan Administration where as carriers had to go through more complex and expensive regulatory procedures.
The SBC division selling VoIP services argued that it wasn't fair and that since the calls actually use the Internet they are off-limits to any regulation.
The FCC agreed and granted SBC a waiver.
Check out the full story...
FCC lets SBC dial direct to get Net phone numbers | Tech News on ZDNet
By the way, since when did SBC offer VoIP services? I must have missed that news from November 2004. I found this release from 2004 claiming it will be deployed in early 2005 with a trial already underway in Los Angeles, Dallas, Chicago and San Antonio.
It's early 2005 now, but I haven't heard about a full scale SBC VoIP launch. I guess the year is still early.
The SBC VoIP appears to be bundled with SBC's DSL, but I can't find SBC VoIP pricing anywhere. My guess is that it will be more expensive than competing cable double and triple-play offerings. Let's see if I am correct when they finally launch.
I should point out that SBC has been much slower to commit to VoIP than fellow RBOC, Verizon. However, the SBC market overlaps quite a bit with Comcast, a cable competitor which has been pushing VoIP very hard, claiming they will reach up to 15 million households by the end of 2005.
I believe pressure from the cable companies is driving SBC to react quickly in the VoIP marketplace, much faster than they would have liked. It may have also played a factor in deciding to merge with AT&T.