Is AT&T a Runaway Winner?

Is AT&T going to win the IP services wars? I get the feeling they are really doing a fine job in this regard and will only do better over time. Jon Arnold agrees and in a  recent article he talks about how well AT&T is doing but also explains how in the new world of Internet Protocol communications, there will be mistakes and successes along the way.

He discusses, events that took place at ITEXPO and explores standalone versus bundled services while mentioning Verizon, Covad, XO, 8×8, Cbeyond and many others. There is good insight here and this article is worth a read.

Here is an excerpt:

Moving further along the spectrum, however, these two pieces begin to diverge, and the incumbent carrier must share the pie with competitors and over-the-top operators. This is where direct alternatives such as 8×8, Cbeyond, Covad and XO come into play, reducing the incumbent’s role to a last mile provider. Even further along are the pure play hosted offerings such as VoIP Logic and Cypress Communications. The alternatives continue to proliferate, with many focusing on a single niche within the business market.
Further complicating things for telcos are the cable operators, who are making their first moves into the business market, as well as the Web-based players such as Google, Yahoo and Skype, all of whom have designs on this space. On the telephony front, we must also factor in the open source movement, which continues to build momentum. Nowhere was this clearer at ITEXPO than Fonality’s announcement to integrate with Dell. This was a solid win-win move, and provides a great channel for open source telephony into the small business market.
Plus, let’s not forget Microsoft, with its bold Telco 2.0 vision that makes the company both friend and foe to traditional service providers. In all of these cases, the telco’s network may well be its key differentiator, and it would be unrealistic to expect that the telco can retain all its subscriber revenues in the face of these alternatives.

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