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Advice to Canadian Telcos: Fight Fire with Fire

According to Seaboard Group (as reported by Mark Evans), Canada will have over 4 million VoIP lines by 2008.  Is that a significant number?  You bet! Bell, the largest incumbent, has about 12 million lines today.  Seaboard’s advice to incumbent telco’s hobbled by the regulator?  "Fight fire with fire".  The current cableco offerings are weak, and vulnerable to clever value added services, Seaboard believes. 

Mark Evans writes:

The research firm suggests the cablecos stay on the offensive as it will be more difficult for Bell/Telus to win back customers than it will be for the cablecos to win them in the first place. As for the independents such as Vonage and Primus, Seaboard believes it will be more difficult for them to compete. As a result, they need to keep on the marketing warpath and show consumers they can be innovative, flexible and adaptible.

Indeed.  With the current winback rules, a lost customer for Bell / Telus is a lost customer, period.  They cannot contact that customer to sell any service (including Bell’s excellent ExpressVu TV), until they have waited 12 months.  But if Rogers loses a wireless customer to Bell, Rogers can be on the telephone the next day offering bundles, discounts — whatever it will take to win the customer back. 

Unless the CRTC backs down, the only weapon the incumbents have is a dramatically superior product. 

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