The long-distance carrier unveiled a third voice over Internet Protocol service, this one more secure, because it's being offered over a VPN (virtual private network) that AT&T sells to business customers. The service becomes available early next year.
The new service is significant becausehas been rumored to be using VoIP dialing to enter the local phone market. A representative for the company said though AT&T is trialing such a service, its focus for now is on using VoIP mainly to keep or attract business customers.
VoIP dialing uses the Internet, rather than a telephone company's privately owned network, to make phone calls. It's starting to catch on with consumers: Start-uprecently passed the 50,000 subscriber mark, and downloads of the free broadband phone service have passed 200,000. But like AT&T, most of the larger players are still aiming the bulk of their services at businesses.
"We are trialing a more mass market service now, but we haven't made any decisions yet," the representative said.