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Amazon to sell AT&T's Net phone service

Second such partnership in one week underscores the importance of VoIP in Ma Bell's long-term plans.

AT&T plans to offer its residential Net phone service to consumers on

The deal, announced Wednesday, follows AT&T's marketing tie-up with Best Buy, announced earlier this week, 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 would stop selling local voice services to 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 Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications.

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.