Internet and TV Companies Fare Poorly in Customer Survey

The Temkin Group, along with Telecompetitor, recently released the results of a new poll that asked 10,000 U.S. consumers to rate the customer experience of more than 200 major companies, encompassing 18 industries. The survey was split into three categories: how a particular company meets a consumer’s needs; how easy a consumer’s goal is met by the company; and how customers feel about their experience interacting with the company. Twenty-one TV and Internet companies appeared in the survey, and of them, 15 earned a “poor” rating when it came to customer experience, while three placed in the “very poor” classification (Earthlink, Charter TV, and Charter Internet). On the flip side, three TV and Internet companies did manage to eke out an “okay” rating: Bright House, Cablevision, and Dish Network.

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U.S. Remains Global Leader in LTE Adoption

TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database has released a new set of data that reveals the United States remains the lead dog in Long Term Evolution (LTE) service adoption. In Q4 2011, domestic LTE subscribership totaled 5.6 million, or 64% of users globally. Japan claimed the coveted number 2 spot, with 1.1 million subscribers, while South Korea earned the bronze (740,000 subscribers).

U.S. LTE subscriber growth has been dramatic, as well, increasing nearly 8,000% from just 70,000 subscribers in Q4 2010, due mostly to the aggressive LTE deployment and marketing strategy of Verizon Wireless. Although the U.S. features four live LTE networks, Verizon accounts for 97% of the country’s LTE subscribers, and a staggering 62% of the global LTE user base.

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March 2012 CrossTalk Now Available

The March 2012 edition of CrossTalk has been compiled, curated, and now, released out into the wild. This issue contains plenty of breaking industry news, relevant free and for pay market research, and a handy compendium of upcoming events. Stay up to date with all things telco and broadband by getting your March 2012 CrossTalk today.

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Infonetics Shines a Light on Video Conferencing

Infonetics Research recently released its 4Q 2011 “Enterprise Telepresence and Video Conferencing Equipment” report, which analyzes markets and vendors by region for dedicated and PBX-based video conferencing and telepresence infrastructure. According to Infonetics, the global enterprise video conferencing and telepresence market jumped 15% to $882 million between the third and fourth quarters of 2011, setting a record high for quarterly revenue. Other findings in the report include:

  • For 2011, sales of video conferencing and telepresence equipment were up 34% to $2.99 billion
  • Infonetics expects expenditures of $22 billion on video conferencing and telepresence hardware and software in the next several years
  • PBX-based systems had the strongest performance for the year, growing 80%
  • Market leader Cisco shows no signs of slowing down: its 4Q11 telepresence and video conferencing revenue jumped 25% sequentially
  • Dedicated multi-purpose room video systems made up over half the enterprise video conferencing equipment market in 2011 and will continue to be the biggest revenue-generator among enterprise video solutions

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Service Providers Need Partners for Success in the Cloud

Service providers should partner with IT vendors and cooperate with software and content providers to make their cloud services more attractive to customers, according to “Global Cloud Computing Market Is Strengthened by Telco Competition,” a new study unveiled by Pyramid Research. The report goes on to analyze the landscape of the global cloud computing industry by identifying the major players and revealing the forces that influence competition. The report also examines the threats and uncertainties that delay adoption of cloud computing, particularly in the enterprise sector. Additionally, the report includes two case studies that illustrate how various players cooperate to provide telcos with the cloud services they need.

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Pyramid Sees Cloud Computing Trending in Western Europe

“How Western European Telcos Meet the Cloud Computing Needs of Enterprises,” a new report recently released by Pyramid Research, examines the trends pushing telecom operators in Europe toward cloud computing. The report uncovers the main business drivers behind adoption of cloud computing by enterprises and discusses how they translated those drivers into specific requirements. Pyramid also analyzes the various types of service models that may be deployed by cloud providers, and includes case studies of three Western European operators that provide B2B cloud services: Orange France, KPN, and Telefonica.

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Where is Mobile Headed?

Separating the hype from the truth in mobile is what LightReading’s “2012 Mobile Life Survey” attempts to accomplish. By polling more than 500 telecom professionals (who should be among the most tech-savvy, cutting-edge people in the U.S.), LightReading asks about their social networking habits, their plans for future purchases, and other details that may illuminate what direction the general populace may be heading in the mobile arena in the near future. Among the findings:

  • 34% say they use more than 1GB of data per month and 12 percent say they use over 3GB
  • 63% update their status on a social network at least once a day
  • 15% are planning to buy an LTE tablet this year; only 3 percent own one now

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National Broadband Plan Fails to Accelerate Broadband Adoption Rate

TechNet, the bipartisan policy and political network of technology CEOs which was formed to promote the growth of the “innovation economy,” recently marked the two-year anniversary of the delivery of the National Broadband Plan (NBP) by releasing a new study showing that the home broadband adoption rate in the United States remains approximately the same as it was in 2009, even though smartphone use has risen dramatically. The study also concludes that while the government and private sector have joined forces to shore up a policy infrastructure to support broadband adoption, these efforts continue to suffer from insufficient coordination and a lack of a focused strategy.

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Embedded Networking and Home Audio

Parks Associates has released a new study that shows over 60% of U.S. tablet owners use the device weekly to listen to music. According to Parks, these emerging consumer habits will drive deployment of home audio products with embedded networking technologies. The research firm’s new report, “Networked Audio Products: Market Update,” also notes that audio product manufacturers will add networking capabilities to connect their products to popular mobile devices and streaming services, such as iTunes and Pandora. By 2016, Parks forecasts that over 90 million home audio units will ship with embedded networking solutions, including DLNA and Apple’s AirPlay.

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Leichtman Sees Cable Operators Challenging Telcos

According to Leichtman Research Group’s latest report, cable operators are gaining the advantage over traditional telcos in the hotly contested domestic broadband competition. Cable operators have been happily attacking markets with their DOCSIS 3.0-based services, while offering attractive triple play bundles. These efforts paid off in 2011: cable operators added a total of 2.3 million subscribers, or 75% of overall broadband additions over the year. Top cable operator Comcast added 336,000 broadband Internet subscribers and 146,000 voice subscribers in Q4, just to cite one example. By comparison, the top telcos only added 750,000 broadband subscribers in total over 2011.

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Nearly Half of All American Adults are Smartphone Owners

The percentage of Americans who own smartphones has reached 46%, an 11-point increase since last May. There are now more smartphone owners than owners of non-smartphone cellphones (these folks compose 41% of Americans). As smartphone ownership has grown over the last year, there has been a corresponding shift in the type of phone Americans report owning:

  • 20% report that they own Android devices, up from 15% in May 2011
  • iPhones users total 19% of cell owners, up from 10% in May 2011
  • Blackberry use has dropped, from 10% in May 2011 to 6% today

What factors have driven these changes? Pew Internet’s new study aims to find out.

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Actiontec Reaps Awards During Busy 2011

Actiontec Electronics announced that it garnered a total of 25 industry awards for its products and technology innovations in 2011. The awards were bestowed by leading broadband industry, consumer electronics, and business organizations. Highlights include two CES Innovations 2012 honoree awards for excellence in design and engineering for MyWirelessTV and the SG400 Service Gateway. Another winner was the 4G LTE Router, which was named a finalist in CTIA’s Emerging Technology Awards. Meanwhile, Actiontec’s V2000H was awarded with a Communications Solutions Product of the Year Award. Finally, Actiontec’s online publication, CrossTalk, took home numerous honors, including The Stevies and Product Management/Marketing Initiative or Program of the Year by Network Products Guide.

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Mobile Market to Continue Broad Expansion in 2012

Fueled by the spectacular growth of next-generation 4G LTE wireless technology, the mobile communications equipment market should enjoy a strong double-digit expansion throughout 2012. Factory revenue in this segment across 2012 is projected to reach $398 billion, up 17% from 2011, according to an IHS iSuppli Wireless Systems Market Tracker report. Although the growth this year is lower, percentage-wise, when compared to the 32% expansion of 2011, the market as a whole shows no signs of declining anytime soon. Another year of double-digit increase is predicted for 2013, and factory revenue will exceed the half-trillion-dollar mark by 2015.

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Connected TVs Not Being Connected

Much like the buzz surrounding 3DTVs, connected TVs started out hot. Numerous vendors introduced connected TVs, despite the increasing number of set-top, over-the-top, and console devices that brought the same “connectivity” to television. The trouble is, many owners aren’t taking advantage of their connected TVs. Surveys indicate that only half of users have actually connected their devices to the Internet, and once they do have them online, the majority of connected TV features are left unused. Which begs the question: are connected TVs doomed to the same fate as 3DTVs?

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Residential Gateways to See Substantial Growth

iSuppli forecasts that residential gateways will become the new hub of the digital living room as they continue to supersede the heretofore entrenched set-top box. According to the firm’s new report, “Residential Gateways: A Giant Leap for Set-Top Boxes,” the gateway market is projected to triple from 2012 to 2015.  Shipments of residential gateways and thin client boxes that act as receivers are miniscule at present, but their numbers will grow dramatically as cable and wireless operators begin to roll out services offering broader connectivity and seamless access. iSuppli sees worldwide gateway/thin client shipments reaching 4.2 million units in 2012, up from just 345,000 last year and a mere 1,000 in 2010. Shipments are expected to continue to climb quickly during the ensuing years: 6.7 million units in 2013, 10.4 million in 2014, and 12.6 million by 2015.

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Pyramid Research Takes on the LTE Market

LTE provides operators with the opportunity to offer a better user experience, particularly with a focus on video applications, according to a new Pyramid Research Preview video that highlights the findings of a newly released report. “LTE Devices and Applications: Next-Generation Mobile Networks Driven by Video Services” provides an overview of the LTE market, operator approaches, and the LTE value chain. The report also details LTE devices, including PC add-ons, hotspots, smartphones, and tablets, examines LTE applications, and looks at several mobile operator case studies around the world.

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New Technology for Residential Gateways

DECT and CAT-iq integration in residential gateways is due to accelerate over the next few years, driven by the changing use of communications technology in consumers’ homes and the uptake of VoIP services. According to IMS Research’s latest report, “DECT and CAT-iq in Residential Gateways 2012,” this integration should rise from 3 million units in 2011 to 25.6 million in 2015. The report also found that the majority of all shipments were in Europe, North America and Asia. Europe, traditionally an area where DECT has fared well, has been the dominant region for the technology, but Asia is where the greatest potential for growth lies, with shipments in the region forecast to surge to 6.7 million units in 2015.

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The Future of Web Video

Is the future of web video destined forever to consist of short video clips burdened with stuttering frames and overwhelming graininess? Is it ever going to escape from the ghetto of PC-centric video and find a place in the relative opulence of the living room? The Diffusion Gruop believes it will. In its new report, “Web Video and 2012 ‘End of the World,’” the research firm predicts that 2012 will see the online video segment advancing in such a manner that both businesses and consumers will benefit, particularly as exemplified by three emerging web video technologies: MPEG-DASH, HTML5, and WebM.

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Consolidated Communications Releases 2011 Results

Another set of 2011 numbers dropped recently, with Consolidated Communications announcing both fourth quarter and full year results. The company earned $93.7 million in Q4, and $374.3 million over the entire year, both figures representing robust growth. They also announced that their total ILEC broadband customer base rose, from 135,623 in 2010 to 145,269 in 2011, with both ILEC DSL and IPTV subscriber numbers growing proportionately.

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Charter Reveals 2011 Results

Charter Communications unveiled their 2011 Q4 and annual results recently. Among the more interesting numbers:

  • The company’s video revenues declined by 2.4% over 2011, while their Internet revenues continued to grow, gaining 6.2% to $1.7 billion.
  • In line with the above numbers, video subscriptions declined by more than 200,000 in 2011, while Internet subscriptions rose by nearly 230,000

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