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By Paul Carton

The triple is the most exciting play in baseball.” (Hank Aaron)

When one of the great home run hitters of all time extols the virtues of the triple, you know it’s something special.

In the telecom world the excitement of a triple comes via the adoption of the “triple-play” service – i.e. the bundling of Internet, cable TV and home phone services – all for one price.

Our latest ChangeWave Alliance consumer telecom survey, conducted Jan 25-29, 2007, focused on the triple-play services market with an eye toward identifying the winners and the losers in the space. The same survey also took a closer look at consumer demand for Verizon’s (NYSE:VZ) new FiOS fiber optic services. A total of 1,938 ChangeWave Alliance members participated.

Some service providers have begun offering triple-play subscriptions. Do you currently pay for this type of service?

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The triple-play market is indeed in expansion mode. A total of 15% of Alliance respondents said they currently pay for a triple-play service. That number is up a full 4-points since our previous survey conducted in October 2006.

How likely are you to sign-up for a triple-play subscription in the next 90 days?

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Looking ahead, another 18% of non-subscribers say they’re likely to sign-up for triple-play service over the next 90 days – 2-points more than our October 2006 survey. Those are big numbers.

Winners and Losers

With the market for triple-play services clearly on the move, which telecom providers are experiencing the greatest real-world benefits?

We first checked on current triple-play subscribers:

Which one of the following service providers are you
currently paying for a triple-play subscription?

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We also questioned non-subscribers who told us they were likely to sign up:

For those of you likely to sign-up for a triple-play subscription in the next 90 days, which service provider are you most likely to sign-up with?

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A quarter (25%) of current triple-play subscribers say they use Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), but that’s down 2-points since the previous survey. However, going forward, 27% of respondents who are likely to sign-up say they’ll go with Comcast.

Verizon (10%) has picked up the greatest number of new triple-play subscriptions since October – up 6-points. Moreover, nearly one quarter (23%) of non-subscribers who are likely to sign up for triple-play in the next 90 days say they’ll choose Verizon.

Although AT&T's (NYSE:T) triple-play market share has declined since October (9%; down 3-points), looking ahead it appears to have significant momentum, with one-in-five likely subscribers saying they’ll sign-up with AT&T. That’s a huge 13-point increase since the previous survey, and reason for Ma Bell to have a smile on her face.

Verizon's Horizons – The FiOS Future

In order to get the fullest picture of the triple-play market, we also took a close look at consumer demand for Verizon’s fiber optic services – FiOS and FiOS TV.

The Verizon FiOS Internet service provides broadband speeds of up to 5 Mbps (Megabits-per-second) for $40 per month and 15 Mbps for $50 per month. How likely are you to sign-up for Verizon’s new FiOS Internet service if it becomes available in your area?*

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Verizon’s recent FiOS price increase clearly has had an impact on demand for their Internet service. A total of 14% of respondents now say they are Very Likely to sign up, down 6-points since October.

Nonetheless, the overall picture for FiOS remains extraordinarily bright, with better than two-in-five (42%) respondents saying they are either Very or Somewhat Likely to sign up for the service if it becomes available in their area.

Verizon is also building a fiber-optic television service (FiOS TV) as a competitive alternative to cable and satellite. And while current availability remains limited, Verizon plans a major expansion of its TV service in the very near future.

FiOS TV provides a broad collection of all-digital programming and can be purchased as a stand-alone service or in conjunction with FiOS Internet and voice services. Pricing ranges from $13 per month for basic to around $40 per month for expanded basic, with additional packages available. How likely are you to sign-up for Verizon’s new FiOS TV service if it becomes available in your area?

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Similar to FiOS Internet, Alliance respondents show a strong interest in FiOS TV – with 14% saying they’re Very Likely to sign-up if it becomes available in their area. Another 34% say they are Somewhat Likely.

Bottom Line

Our latest Alliance research shows triple-play subscriptions remain hot, and there is still tremendous room for growth in the triple-play market. Importantly, the future looks bright for Comcast, Verizon and AT&T.

As we first reported more than a year ago, consumer interest in Verizon’s FiOS services also remains exceptionally strong.
We will continue to track consumer demand for both triple-play and fiber optic home services, and of course we will update you all on these and other ongoing transformations in the consumer telecom market as they unfold.

Jim Woods co-wrote this article.

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This article summarizes the results of a recent ChangeWave Alliance survey. The Alliance is a research network of 10,000 business, technology and medical professionals who spend their everyday lives working on the front line of technological change. For more info on the ChangeWave Alliance, or if you are interested in joining, please click here.

Source: Triple-Play All The Way: A Look at the Hottest Trend in Consumer Telecom