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Rich Tehrani

[April 26, 2003]

Bundling: Another Novel Way To Reduce Churn And Increase Profit


Editor's Note: This is the sixth in a series of short articles from Rich Tehrani based on recent visits with a number of VoIP vendors. The previous article is available here.

I meet a slew of companies each week and many of them show me the same old products that help service providers roll out VoIP over their broadband lines. Sure there are differences, but I feel for carriers trying to make a buying decision. There are so many similarities among products, how do you decide which is best?

These equipment providers better watch out because if they don�t start to really differentiate themselves, there will be an inevitable price war and VoIP equipment will become commoditized. While this is good for service providers, what is better for equipment providers and service provider customers is to see some innovation in VoIP. That is why I was so happy on a recent trip where I met with NetCentrex, a company doing something pretty unique in the VoIP space by offering what they call a triple-play solution that delivers voice, video and data converged networks and next-generation services. By partnering with Envivio, a provider of MPEG-4 and H.264 broadcast and streaming solutions, as well as with Highdeal, a provider of pricing, high performance rating and settlement solutions, they have established the IPlay3 Consortium. Service providers can now use these solutions to offer VoIP, IP-TV and IP-VOD (video on demand).

Providers can take advantage of this partnership to more easily supply video and voice over their high speed lines. Subscribers, on the other hand, will have a portal that allows them to take advantage of Web-based self-care and self-provisioning features while customers receive a single bill for all of the services.

Since we spend so much time in front of our TVs, why not enable us to see who is calling right on the television while we�re watching the Super Bowl? Don�t worry, the messages are unobtrusive and won�t affect your ability to watch the game. Some of the other services potentially available to consumers are:

  • Your address book can also be controlled via the TV;

  • You can accept a video call; and

  • You can see trailers of a movie before ordering it.

Service providers have the flexibility to allow weekend specials, holiday specials, etc. Since the phone is integrated with video, you can pause movies when the phone rings as well as other features made available via DVRs.

You can provide IP-TV to your customers as long as you have about 900 Kbps of bandwidth available. Naturally, the platform lends itself to future options like e-learning, security and gaming. In a world full of me-toos, NetCentrex has done an admirable job differentiating itself and bringing new services to market.

 Please talk back to me in our forums.

Rich Tehrani is TMC's president. He welcomes your comments. Participate in our forums.

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