As of late, several phone companies have been partnering with cable and satellite TV providers to complete their triple play, while at the same time, several major cable firms are moving strongly into phone services via VoIP.
Well, my cable provider Charter Communications is set to complete the "telecom triple play" with the addition of phone service.
Service providers have long considered the so-called triple play of voice, video and data the Holy Grail because it allows them to become a customer's sole provider with one package price and one bill.
Charter announced deals Monday that will allow it to add VoIP phone services to its cable TV and cable Internet access offerings. Local Charter customers are already receiving fliers touting the Internet phone service as "coming to your area soon."
How "soon" was not specified in the flier or in a press release announcing the deals.
The flier states that customers will be able to keep their existing phone number and hypes "simple" calling plans that feature unlimited local and long-distance calling plans for "one low price", although prices are not given.
Charter's entry into VoIP just reaffirms my suspicions that VoIP players such as AT&T, Vonage, Packet8, Broadvoice, etc. could be "on the outside looking in" since they "need the broadband cable providers to provide VoIP access". I discussed this very real possiblity here:
Death Knell for Vonage, Net2Phone, Packet8, Broadvoice, Lingo?
as well as here: AT&T is not a phone company - they're "a networking company"
I'm currently a Vonage user and I also use Charter for my cable TV and broadband service. I should state that I'm a loyal and happy Vonage customer, but if Charter can offer a good package deal that lowers my overall monthly cost, then I'm afraid I may have to jump ship from Vonage to Charter.
The fact that I can keep my phone number makes it that much easier to not be married (or chained) to any telecom provider. Now features and especially price will be the deciding factors and not losing your phone number.
It is interesting times indeed in the telecom world!