The convergence of telephony, broadcasting and IT service provision – or multiple play – has given rise to a competitive market environment where all market players need to deliver broadband, multimedia, and value-added services to win new customers and to retain existing ones.
Gated communities are some of the first environments in South Africa where true triple and quad play services are offered. This has resulted in niche players entering the market offering a so-called multiple play deal which often includes a security option.
The concept of a gated community being endowed with fibre optic cabling from the outset is a not entirely new, but actual adoption is still at the incipient stage; however the triple play market is poised for good growth in the future. In the meanwhile BMI-T expects far more growth from double play services traditional voice and ADSL offerings from Telkom over its extensive copper network, and the wireless voice and data solutions from Neotel. The majority of these customers will live in the suburbs rather than in gated estates.
By the end of 2014, BMI-T expects more suppliers to be providing triple play services into households, including those living in the suburbs, but most providers initially start with supplying services to new gated estates.
Important considerations are also what the consumers want and what they are prepared to pay for. BMI-T’s Digital Lifestyle Predictor (DLP) consumer survey shows the desire for multiple play services is high, and adding TV channels to a broadband and voice service is the most popular choice.
However, actual uptake is often lower than expressed desire, after taking affordability into account, and there is also a high degree of lethargy when it actually boils down to moving from multiple providers for discrete services to a single service provider.
Currently there are already a substantial number of households receiving double play services (fixed voice and internet access) from Telkom and Neotel. Recently launched offerings such as MultiChoice’s DStv on Demand, and VOD and IPTV offerings planned for the near future such as Super 5 Media’s IPTV offering (initially to gated communities) and no doubt a host of other triple and multiple play offerings to gated estates and other residential households are expected to have a positive impact on this market.