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    Top of the First - the VoIP battle begins  
   

August 2005- IGB Grant 514-849-3508 & Brian Sharwood 416-413-9381

 

 
    KEY HIGHLIGHTS:  
   


The battle for the $20B Canadian voice market has opened another front. We have had long distance competition for a decade and a half; we have had various sorts of local services competition for six years. But the battle has taken a turn. The intensity has increased. Alternative voice services providers have expanded in number, and now include some formidable challengers; Rogers, Shaw and Videoton, join Vonage and Primus and others. This market is going to be reshaped. This report calls the state of play at the mid-point of the first game of the regular season – what has gone before was merely a warm-up, an exhibition – and this will be an exciting game.

  • The cable company threat is the telco’s biggest challenge – the access-independent challengers haven’t the reach and muscle to accomplish the same degree of customer inroad. Videotron has shown the way. By December 2005, in less than a year in the voice business, it will have signed up more than 125,000 customers. We expect Shaw, Rogers and Cogeco to show similar results (but of smaller magnitude, given their higher price points).
  • Telecom companies need to continue to innovate: they need to be able to fight IP service fire, with IP service fire. They need to move beyond mere replication of exising telephony feature sets – they need to show the market what else IP can do. Of course, they need to wait till regulatory are removed – but that time will come. Be Prepared.
  • The Telcos might want to take gloves off in extra-territorial gambits too – there are no restrictions on Telus in Ontario; and with the saturation coverage of the Bell Olympics there may be some opportunity for Bell in the West, why leave all the running to cable?

Phone companies are hard pressed to respond to the challenges. Regulatory restrictions limit their options. We offer some council:

1. Market the legacy of good service. Whisper disquiet and uncertainty of competitive offerings.

2. Use wireless aggressively to win back customers. And rethink number portability; the time for it may be now.

3. Understand that customer-losses are required. Political will demands it. Accept the inevitable, but try to manage it – some customers you don’t need. Urge them to try something/someone else. Cull your own herd. Careful though – in a competitive market you can’t just turn off the tap. Beware the stampede.


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Thursday, 13 December 2018

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