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

Triple Play in the US
Triple Play means Voice, Video and Data coming into your home/office on a single line from a single provider. This is significant since it is the path most of the service providers worldwide are moving towards. It means bundling multiple services, thereby locking in customers - studies have proved that such a customer is less likely to churn out. It is also a means of increasing ARPUs, adding new revenue streams in an era of increase competition and changing business models. The Cable MSOs (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox, Cablevision etc) & RBOCs (SBC, Verizon, Bellsouth etc) are working towards this and competition is bound to intensify in this space in the next 2-3 years.

Cable MSOs
The Cable MSOs have great deal of experience in video & content - Comcast and Time Warner Telecom own substantial content. For the past several years, they have been spending billions in upgrading their infrastructure, which can provide voice, video and data on the cable line today. CableVision is a leader in bundling voice, video and data with packages starting at $90. Their focus is more on the household market, but some like Cox have started targeting the Small Business Market.

The RBOCs have recently committed huge investments to replace the existing copper network with FTTN and FTTP - SBC estimates spending $5 bn for Project Lightspeed by 2007-2008. They have been working with bundling multiple services and with quite good success. They have a great deal of experience with enterprise customers - large and small. One bright spot with the RBOCs is their control of major wireless carriers - they could potentially provide "Quadraple Play" services.

Who will win?
Analysts predict that Cable MSOs stand to win in this game - they can provide Triple Play today and this means that they can undercut the RBOCs and gain customers. So the next 2-3 years will have major competition. The RBOCs are also committing a lot of investment since they need to replace their existing network and this is the only way to remain in the reckoning. The new products and services will require new OSS. If Cable MSOs wants the upperhand, they would have to focus on enterprise customers also - small businesses mainly.

Around the world the Triple Play space is very interesting one with multiple access technologies under consideration. Tata Indicom in India is focussed on Ethernet, Reliance Infocomm is trying out with FTTN, Cable Networks and Ethernet. BT in the UK is doing a major overhaul of their network - replacing the existing copper with an IP network and also doing other interesting things - like Fixed Mobile Convergence Project BluePhone.