Telcos make progress with IPTV, but cable gains upper hand in triple play battle

While traditional telcos have been making progress in fighting back landline voice loss with the introduction of new IPTV services, cable appears to be taking the lead.

As pointed out in TeleGeography's GlobalComms Pay-TV research service, telcos worldwide added 50 million IPTV subscribers as part of dual- and triple-play bundle packages.

Telegeography telco vs. cableco subscribers

In the U.S. market, the two dominant telcos offering TV service continue to be AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon (NYSE: VZ). AT&T added 202,000 U-verse subscribers to reach 3.4 million in service, while Verizon added 184,000 new FiOS TV subs, bringing it to the 3.8 million mark.

Outside of AT&T and Verizon, CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL), which became the third largest ILEC via its purchase of the former Qwest, now provides IPTV service to in eight of its markets. By the end of 2011, CenturyLink said it expects to pass 1 million homes with IPTV with plans to expand the service into the former Qwest territory.  

However, the telcos' progress was eclipsed by cable's gain. During the second quarter, cable operators worldwide in aggregate have over 100 million broadband subscribers and over 65 million voice subscribers on their respective networks.

"Cablecos' broadband and voice subscriber wins at the expense of telcos far outnumber their pay-TV subscriber losses due to IPTV, and ARPUs for both broadband and voice are more than double that of IPTV," said TeleGeography's John Dinsdale. "There are differences by region, but globally, cablecos' expansion into telecoms markets has had a transformational impact on their growth and financial performance, while the impact of IPTV for telcos has been only marginal."

For more:
- TeleGeography has this post

Related articles:
Cable in the second quarter of 2011
Wireline in the second quarter 2011

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