Tuesday, October 27, 2009

European triple play operator pricing markedly more expensive than operators in Asia

UK: The latest Triple & Quad Play Journal from Tariff Consultancy Ltd finds that operators still experimenting to find the right mix of mobile and fixed network consumer bundle. Additionally European Triple Play operator pricing has fewer TV channels than its US equivalent, and is markedly more expensive than operators in Hong Kong and Japan.

The bundling of fixed Broadband, Telephony and IPTV Triple Play packages for households is set to become more complex with the introduction of mobile services creating a so called Quad Play package, the latest edition of Tariff Consultancy's Triple & Quad Play Journal finds.

"Triple Play operators continue to experiment with the right combination of fixed and mobile packages," comments Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of Tariff Consultancy Ltd. "As a result the market for Quad Play packages is highly fluid with more operators offering mobile services both as a promotional tool and as a separate service."

Operators are uncertain whether to focus purely on Mobile Broadband or mobile calls as part of the combined package and continue to fine tune their offerings. But the trend is toward quad play services in most markets, either as a complete package or as an optional service. Other operators are also beginning to offer Quad Play including PCCW in Hong Kong with its Netvigator service and Verizon has introduced its first mobile call plan with its existing Triple Play FiOS portfolio.

The latest TCL Triple & Quad Play Journal main findings are:

• In most European countries the headline Broadband speeds are higher than those available in the US. Prices of triple play bundles are lower in Europe by around 10 percent.

• In the US, the main triple play package consists of a much higher number of TV channels from 100 channels to almost 400 in contrast to Europe where the largest number is from 70 to 90 channels as part of a premium package.

• In Asian countries like Hong Kong, the triple play operator is offering high broadband speeds with rates of 200 MB or more for the same as 20 MB services. The average Japanese and Hong Kong Triple Play services remain 40 percent less than ite European equivalent.

• In Hong Kong and Japan, the trend is for triple play operators to provide broadband access speeds based on fibre for the same price points with providers such as PCCW, HKBN and KDDI offer 1 GB triple play services (1000 MB) services at highly competitive rates compared with European providers.

"Our survey of different triple play markets worldwide underlines just how much bundled services need to be tailored to meet the expectations of users in each country to succeed," comments Margrit Sessions.

Although the headline triple play rates in Europe appear lower than the US, in reality, North American purchase decisions revolve around replacing the TV providers with competition from Cable TV and Satellite providers setting the competitive landscape for the telecoms triple play bundle.

"Large TV bundles are the norm in the US which underline the difference between American and European households," says Margrit Sessions, "as all US triple play operators cater for the multiTV household requirements, a segment that the European triple play operator has only just started to address."

Finally, the development of triple play services provides a warning that even with FTTH access the battle will remain based on for the most part on price unless the telecoms operator can differentiate its service on superior quality and service applications.

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