The Anonymous Analyst

Commenting on technology & communication issues around the world with focus on USA and India. Also ramblings on other subjects.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

RBOC and Cable MSO Triple Play Strategies

The next big fight in the US is between the Cable MSOs and RBOCs. Key in the RBOC arsenal is their control of wireless providers namely Cingular and Verizon Wireless.

Triple Play aims to concentrate the communication & entertainment dollars in one provider and with wireless, the RBOC becomes a one-stop shop - Phone, Internet access, Cable TV & Wireless. Cable MSOs do not have this luxury and they could try to do this by aligning with a wireless provider/ buying a wireless provider. WSJ had reported that the MSOs were looking into this. The options for partnership are only Sprint, Nextel and maybe T-Mobile. Sprint Nextel is better due to the larger coverage. Qualcomm and others might already be working on ways to make this convergence true.

To start with, Qualcomm's GPS location chips and systems make it possible to identify a mobile subscriber as being at home or elsewhere - if at home, only the landline phone will ring - all wireless calls will be forwarded to that. Presence software from Microsoft can make communication among teams, colleagues and friends very effective - if these techniques are combined with location determination, one can have a great experience with individualized content, accurate driving instructions, e-911 etc. Comcast has good relations with Microsoft and they are using Microsoft's IPTV solution in some markets.

The RBOCs have the wireless carriers, but their IPTV rollout plans might make them very late to the market.

Comcast is announcing details of their Triple Play strategy in Jan 2005 - this could be an inflexion point for Cable stocks. RBOC stocks might get hammered too.