Telecompetitor is out with analysis today that warns wireless services that have been cannibalizing first tier telcos' landline voice subscriber base also pose a threat to their wireline broadband services.
Telcos can ameliorate the threat, telecompetitor suggests, by segmenting their residential broadband offerings into two complementary products: A wireline-based broadband "heavy" connection featuring fast throughput and a broadband "lite" wireless service delivered via their 3G and, later, 4G, cellular system-based service.
Service that will seamlessly extend the broadband experience, both inside and outside of the home, is "quite compelling," telecompetitor concludes, pointing to a Nielsen Mobile study released Tuesday that found wireless broadband access cards while originally targeted at mobile users are increasingly popular among fixed residential users.
Although it makes sense on its face, this strategy is currently flawed insofar that it assumes telcos are already providing robust wireline broadband connections to residential customers who can get them. That's hardly the case for most residential customers whose DSL connections typically max out at 3 Mbs and often at slower speeds very close to current 3G cellular wireless broadband throughputs. (I omit AT&T's U-Verse and Verizon's FiOS services since they're available to only a small fraction of their residential customer bases.)
The rise in fixed residential use of 3G cellular broadband connections discovered by Nielsen Mobile is likely being driven by the lack of wireline-based broadband offerings. As this blog reported a few months back, some telcos such as Verizon Wireless have picked off AT&T residential customers in the many areas where AT&T has neither wireline nor terrestrial wireless-based broadband offerings. That strategy also gives Verizon the opportunity to cross sell its cellular voice plans to AT&T customers and build brand loyalty.