The deal, announced Wednesday, follows AT&T's marketing tie-up with Best Buy,, to sell and promote Ma Bell's CallVantage voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service.
The partnerships underscore the importance of VoIP in AT&T's long-term plans. The phone giant recently said it wouldto new residential customers because of changes in regulatory law. At the same time, the company said it would aggressively market less-regulated VoIP services.
The company also has been pushing CallVantage through co-marketing programs with cable companies such as.
Consumers in 170 U.S. markets already have access to AT&T's Net phone service. It is also being tested for use at the overseas facilities of some U.S. companies.
The hoopla surrounding VoIP stems from its affordability for both companies and consumers. VoIP calls are routed over the Internet instead of the heavily regulated and taxed local phone networks. Like all VoIP services, AT&T CallVantage requires only a telephone adapter and a broadband connection for making local and long-distance calls.