Sunday, May 15, 2005

Don't Under-estimate Bell

Mark Evans - Mark Evans


With all the reaction about the CRTC's Internet telephony decision, you would think it prevents ILECs such as Bell and Telus from competing in the market at all. In fact, they can still do business; they just have to file their pricing with the CRTC. And with a new system to accelerate the decision-making process, this isn't as much of a hassle as it was six months ago. It would be a big mistake to under-estimate the brand power and customer loyalty enjoyed by Bell and Telus. As much as people love to hate the telephone company, it's not like they've been fleeing to alternatives such as VOIP or circuit-switch service provided by Primus and Call-Net. As much as it seems counter-intuitive, consumers may very well do business with Bell, Telus, Sasktel and Aliant even if it costs more. There's the convenience of a single bill, the ability to keep same phone number, five 9s reliability, and the comfort of the brand. If consumers always took the cheap route, Dell wouldn't have the market share it has in the PC market, and no-name products such as laundry detergent would have put a huge dent in Proctor & Gamble's business. For a variety of reasons, people seem to be getting carried away with the CRTC's decision. We all need time to step back and reflect on what it really means and what happens next.

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