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The Impact of Cord Cutting on Cable

A Wall Street Journal Article today highlights a trend that is critical to cable operators: U.S. households increasingly ditching their landline telephone service and using mobile exclusively. See http://online.wsj.com/article/SB114377382543813195.html U.S. and Canadian MSOs continue to ramp their IP phone service rollouts. Together, they count some 3.5 million IP phone customers and are adding over 50,000 more each week. However, at the same time, more consumers are deciding to dump their landline phone service entirely. It's a trend that could erode cable's long-term landline service opportunity. The WSJ article cites data from Forrester Research finding that 8% of U.S. households have already abandoned landline phone service in favor of wireless and another 9% are planning to do so. In other words, soon, nearly 1 in 5 consumers may not even be interested in landline service. To their credit, U.S. MSOs are not oblivious to this and have committed to enter the wireless business through their venture with Sprint Nextel. That said, the integration and rollout of cable's mobile offering is already behind schedule. If executed well by MSOs and Sprint, and tightly coupled with a roam-to-home fixed-mobile package, cable could benefit from this cord-cutting trend by delivering a solution that offers the best of both worlds, plus high-speed cable modem service. The WSJ notes that telcos stand to lose more due to mobile replacement of landline, not just for telephone service but for broadband Internet too because "households that disconnect their wired phone service are four times more likely to buy broadband service from cable operators than from phone companies."
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