AT&T today launched a new bundle of services containing video, data and voice, but this time consumers can choose whether they want wireless or a landline (it could be VoIP or a traditional circuit-switched line) for voice. This upends the idea that after the triple play, the next big ISP offering would be a quadruple play, that includes voice, video data and mobility.
It also gives consumers a bit more choice in terms of paying for a service they actually use. AT&T still will offer a quadruple play for those who want it, but flexibility around voice gives AT&T an offering that the cable providers can’t match today with their bundles.
For those of us watching the technical limits between TV, voice and the web erode (it’s going to be all IP soon enough), the willingness of a major service provider to accept that the landline is dying (and maybe hasten its death) is a hopeful sign. AT&T is doing this to help differentiate itself from its cable competitors, but if competition can lead to a phone company shrinking its bundle, there’s still hope.
I’d like to see the bundle compress further. A wireline data and mobile data/voice offering would be awesome. Already there are people who buy wireless and wireline data — (and some who just go all wireless) — and leave the pay TV and landlines for those living in the 20th century. The key will be getting speeds that are fast enough and unencumbered by artificially low caps and tiers.
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