AT&T Acquires InFreeDA, Gets Into Free 411 Business

The massive success of Jingle’s 800-Free-411 service, which allows people to get 411 information without the outrageous fees charged by cell phone carriers and other telephone companies (up to $3.50 per call), has finally caught the attention of at least one of the big guys. AT&T acquired InFreeDA, a competitor to Jingle and operator of the 800-411-Metro service, for an undisclosed amount, and announced a free 411 service.

Jingle’s success has been significant. They have raised over $60 million and have quickly taken 3% of the U.S. 411 market. Jingle has taken over 100 million 411 calls to date. We interviewed Jingle Networks CEO George Garrick and investor Josh Kopelman back in October – listen to it here. Our previous coverage on TechCrunch is here.

AT&T’s service, which will be available at 800-Yellowpages, looks to be very similar, although it is currently available only in Bakersfield, CA, Oklahoma City, OK, and Columbus, OH. Instead of the one advertisement that Jingle plays, however, AT&T will be playing up to four ads, from 5-10 seconds each. That’s asking a lot of their customers (up to 40 seconds of ads before the information is given), but AT&T may be able to compete based on quality of information, something that Jingle has been criticized for in the past. The main product page for 800-Yellowpages is here, and the FAQs are here.