Om broke a story this morning that rings a familiar bell for me. Over the past couple of years I have been approached by some of these incumbents that Om refers to in his story to do just what he is implying.
I can think of at least least 2 serious softphone contenders ( Truphone and Counterpath ) for this type of project that could leap frog Skype in no time. Marry that with a solid SIP application server ( Broadsoft or the like) which many, if not all, of these carriers already have in their networks, and you have a winner.
I have been waiting for this for a while. If it's real it could mean a real paradigm shift for IP communications in general. These players have been around for many years and own much of the infrastructure and vendor relationships. The incumbents still have the power to dictate what gets deployed on their networks. They have huge leverage with the vendors in terms of what gets bundled on what phones/devices.
This is exactly what the industry needs and you could be certain it wold end up on the new iPhone rather quickly.
Sadly, the telcos of old have a great deal of "old thinkers" and will likely screw this up royally with their bureaucracy and paranoia.