Quadruple Play Is Out

1:00 PM –- I'm banning the phrase "quadruple play" from Light Reading.

Effective immediately, any editorial mention of quadruple play will be scrubbed, unless it occurs in an otherwise juicy quote, a corporate press release (which we only edit for length), or is used purely for humor.

Seriously, what is the deal with the telecom industry and that stupid, fake phrase?

I like the idea behind triple play. It means something. In baseball, it's a defensive play that suddenly ends an inning by executing three consecutive outs. That said, it's very rare, with only 19 triple plays occurring since the year 2000. It's cool. It's special.

In telecom, the triple play refers to a service provider's ability to provide voice, data, and video services to its customers. And, as in baseball, the telecom triple play is exceeding rare, with one -- sometimes two -- providers in the nation's most populated areas.

Quadruple play, however, is the phrase folks are using to refer to service providers that can deliver voice, video, data, AND mobility. So far this month, the phrase has shown up in 33 corporate press releases that have crossed my desk. So I'm seeing it more than once a day -- and that's scary.

Here's my problem with quadruple play: There is no quadruple play in baseball or any other sport. Labeling something as a quadruple play isn't so much a differentiator is it is an acknowledgement that your company doesn't understand baseball, has difficulty with analogies, or both.

This is as stupid as a CEO saying they'll give "110 percent." They can't. It's mathematically impossible.

More importantly, we should reject the labeling of something as a quadruple play because it fuels this idea that mobility is something special. It's not. Consumers expect nearly every communications service they buy to be portable -- or to at least have a mobile component.

So be advised that the phrase "quadruple play" is under fire on this site. And we're gonna work 8 days a week, 366 days a year, giving 121 percent, until the phrase is gone for good.

— Phil Harvey, Sports Analogies Editor, Light Reading

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