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NTL Launches Wired-Wireless Cable Bundle

Michael Harris
LR Cable News Analysis
Michael Harris
9/28/2006

NTL Launches Wired-Wireless Cable Bundle NTL:Telewest, the U.K.'s largest cable operator, added wireless to its wired product portfolio by acquiring Virgin Mobile in July. (See UK Cable Going Mobile, Like a Virgin.) Well ahead of schedule, the British MSO rolled out its first four-service bundles on Wednesday.

Kudos to the cabler for the quick launch. Unfortunately, the Brits went a bit barmy about it, daftly pitching the term "quadplay" to consumers. (See NTL:Telewest Launches 'Quadplay'.) Of course, given that this is the industry that coined the term "pay-per-view," the quad pitch could be seen as a major leap forward.

NTL did offer up an alternate brand for the bundle with a bit more pizazz: The "4 for £40" package. It's actually quite compelling. The offer includes 2-Mbit/s broadband Internet service, more than 30 channels of broadcast digital TV with access to VOD and DVR features, basic home telephone service with unlimited weekend calling, and Virgin Mobile service with 300 texts and 300 minutes a month, plus voicemail. That's a heavy package for only £40 (about US$75) per month.

Indeed, by North American standards, that price point is eye-popping. The best U.S. cable offer is $90 a month for a package of video, broadband, and VOIP service.

“It’s more than just another cut-price offer, because it also equips customers for the infinite possibilities presented as these different technologies increasingly interact,” said Neil Berkett, chief operating officer of NTL:Telewest, in a statement. Well then, to infinity and beyond!

— Michael Harris, Chief Analyst, Cable Digital News

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