NTL launches broadband-tv-phone-mobile package
NTL has announced a new 'quadruple-play' package incorporating a broadband Internet, cable TV, home phone and mobile phone service all in one package at £40 per month. The so called 'triple play' (broadband, television and phone) has been a buzzword in the communications industry for some time but the recent acquisition by NTL of Virgin, a brand it is going to be adopting next year across the board, has allowed it to push this combination forward. This distinctly gives NTL an advantage. Companies are now frequently bundling phone and Internet services as this is significantly easier than television and mobile phones which remains an area mainly for larger players although companies such as Namesco do have bundled TV services on the market.
The NTL package is composed of an "up to 2 Mbps" broadband service, firewall/anti-virus security software and modem installed by NTL, over 30 channels digital TV, unlimited weekend UK landline calls, 300 SMS messages and 300 minutes a month of free Virgin mobile calls.
With the current framework for distributing TV content, smaller ISPs may be starting to count their days unless they can maintain a differential product. BSkyB is potentially NTL's significant target following their move into broadband through the acquisition of Easynet. As NTL have suggested in a Telegraph article earlier this year, the more services people pay for, the more likely it is that they will remain with one company.
The utilities-type consolidation similar to the electricity and gas dual fuel deals are at some point likely to result in a company starting to offer all the home utilities, so quadruple-play may just be a stepping stone. How close we are to that remains to be seen.