IDC Forecasts Market Shift to Triple Play For Bundled Communications Services.

The days of standalone communications services are numbered. Consumer demand for the convenience of bundled communications services is growing. That's why U.S. communications providers are taking huge initiatives to add to their service offerings by creating bundled packages of voice, video, broadband, and mobile wireless services. IDC predicts that the U.S. market for bundled services will grow from fewer than 45 million customer relationships today to more than 84 million in 2010.

Today, many U.S. households are already receiving cable and Internet services from the same provider (double play). In a few years, these customers will be subscribing to additional services from that provider (triple or quadruple play) for the benefit of one less bill to pay. By mid-2008, IDC forecasts a significant shift from double-play broadband and video to triple-play broadband, video, and voice. This trend signals a significant shrinking of standalone services within each core industry such as voice and cable. However, when voice and cable are bundled with other services, the outlook is much brighter.

According to IDC, new technologies and strategic partnerships are two factors that will drive growth and allow the major cable and telecom providers to offer a greater variety of bundled service packages. Cable VoIP, IPTV, satellite, and mobile strategic partnerships will act as drivers to propel the market forward. While bundled services promise to reduce customer churn and increase average revenue per customer (ARPU), there will be a number of additional challenges and opportunities.

"The impact of bundled services on network convergence, device integration, and cutting-edge variations of bundles will be more disruptive than reduced churn and increased ARPU," says Matt Davis, director of IDC's Consumer Multiplay program. "The speed of the transition to bundled services will require an enormous amount of collaboration across the separate service divisions within companies and extending to their hardware, software, and professional service partners."

This IDC study, U.S. Multiplay Bundled Services 2006-2010 (IDC #201726), examines and forecasts the market for bundled communications services in the United States over a five-year period ending in 2010. Bundled communication services are offered in a variety of combinations involving voice, video, broadband, and mobile wireless. This study analyzes, quantifies, and forecasts subscriber relationships for two, three, and even four bundled service combinations. It further divides the current and forecast subscriber penetration of these service mixes into bundled offerings provided by telecommunications providers compared with those offered by cable operators.