European triple-play services costlier & with sparser content

European triple-play services offer fewer TV channels than their US equivalent, and are "markedly more expensive" than in Hong Kong or Japan, according to a new report from UK firm Tariff Consultancy.

The bundling of fixed-line broadband, telephony and IPTV triple-play packages for households is set to become more complex with the introduction of mobile services, the report adds. "Triple-play operators continue to experiment with the right combination of fixed and mobile packages," said Margrit Sessions, Managing Director of Tariff Consultancy. "As a result the market for quad-play packages is highly fluid with more operators offering mobile services both as a promotional tool and as a separate service".

Operators are described as remaining uncertain whether to focus purely on mobile broadband or mobile calls as part of the combined package, and continue to fine tune their offerings, according to Tariff Consultancy. However, the trend in most markets worldwide is towards delivering quad-play, according to the report, either as a complete package or as an optional service.

The report, entitled 'TCL Triple & Quad Play Journal', finds that prices of triple-play bundles are lower in Europe than in the US by around 10%, but in the US these packages offer between 100 and 400 channels, significantly more than in Europe, where the largest number is from 70 to 90 channels as part of a premium package. In Asian countries such as Hong Kong, triple-play operators offer high broadband speeds of 200 Mbps or more for the same price as 20 Mbps services in Europe. The average price of a triple-play service in Japan or Hong Kong remains 40% less than its European counterpart.