It seems like most people these days buy their cable TV, Internet and home phone service from one provider in one nice and neat package. Whether it’s to consolidate billing or to save a few bucks, bundling seems to be catching on.
It’s catching on with the telco companies too who are looking for new products and services to bundle into their offerings. Last week I wrote about Comcast and Cox’s partnership with TiVo. But the real growth opportunity, as most telcos see it, is in bundling cell phone service with existing services. Cell phone service clearly falls under the umbrella of telecommunications, and even though most telcos don’t operate a cellular network themselves, they have been open to creating partnerships with carriers in the past. Including cell phone service in telco bundles would turn the "Triple-Play" into the "Quad-Play" and give telcos a new level of product (and marketing) integration.
But will consumers really go for it?
According to a Compete survey conducted this month, they just might. (Our full survey results, targeting online shoppers and customers of major cable and telco providers to ask about their experience with bundles, will be released at the end of April. Stay tuned.) 35% of survey respondents indicated that they would be either "likely" or "very likely" to purchase cell phone service from their telco provider. It also appears that these consumers can be influenced given the right product and marketing messages. Below is a chart of features that would affect consumers’ decision to purchase cell phone service from their telco provider.
- 56% of respondents said they would be impacted by having unlimited calls between their home phone and cell phone
- Ability to consolidate billing (41%) is also important, and is a common advantage for bundling products & services in general
- AT&T customers were the most likely to be impacted by this feature (52%)
- It doesn’t look like cable TV and cell phones mix well (yet) in the minds of consumers as TV / DVR features were the least likely to impact consumers’ decisions.
- It would make sense that DVR features generally had a greater impact on DirecTV and Dish customers than the other providers. However, AT&T and Time Warner Cable customers were more likely to be impacted by watching DVR episodes on their cell phone than Dish customers!
If telcos can articulate the value proposition for bundling cell phone service in with other telco services, it looks like consumers will be accepting. So let’s invite another guest to the party and bring on the Quad-Play!