New Thinking on Bundles?

For a couple of decades now, the triple-play bundle has been a mainstay of fixed network service provider strategy for coping with greater competition.

Simply, where it might once have been possible to garner up to 80 percent or 95 percent of all potential customers for a particular service, it now is quite common for any single contestant to get 30 percent to 40 percent share.

Under those conditions, selling more products to a smaller number of customers is necessary and rational.

Still, there always are niches in the communications business, especially for smaller providers without the benefits of massive scale.

Some independent Internet service providers might focus on dual-play packages. Some mobile services providers are pure-play mobile suppliers. Some might have wholesale-only business models, selling a single capability to retail partners.

Over time, even some former triple-play services providers might rethink that stance, and focus instead on dual-play communications bundles. Potential new regulations, it is claimed, could undermine the video business model for smaller cable TV operators, for example.

Even AT&T essentially now is emphasizing a different type of triple play (fixed network Internet access plus voice; combined with satellite video entertainment; or mobile voice and Internet plus satellite video) than in the past.

The point is that even when a particular strategy makes sense for scale players, there always are niche strategies for smaller specialists that defy the general rules.
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