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Comcast Jumps into VoIP in 2006

Get ready for Comcast VoIP, the VoIP, service from one of the leading communication companies in the world.

The VoIP phone service is all set to be launched in 2006 and will add to Comcast’s bouquet of services that includes broadband cable, content and commerce.

The company, which has been conducting tests since 2004, has ambitious plans. It intends to target 40 million homes in the first year itself. With a customer base of about 21 million cable television subscribers and approximately 5.5 million broadband subscribers, Comcast VoIP cannot be taken lightly. It has the technical and financial muscle to roll out a high quality national Voice over IP service.

The company is confident that by the end of 2005, 95 percent of its network will be capable of supporting its new phone service. This assessment of Comcast is based on the trials its team has been conducting since 2004 to ensure that the systems and processes of the new service are tried, tested and ready by 2006.

Comcast merged with AT&T Broadband in 2002 and since then it has been making big investments to upgrade its technology and services. Comcast has been providing conventional phone services over copper wires to 1.2 million customers. These customers were acquired when it merged with AT&T Broadband. Comcast is likely to reduce the emphasis on this business when it launches its VoIP service.

One of the major competitors of Comcast will be Times Warner Cable, which offers unlimited domestic, long distance, in state and local calls for $39.95. Comcast will have to work to reduce the lead that Times Warner Cable has established in VoIP phone services. Times Warner Cable used the help of MCI and Sprint for connecting their lines to local phone systems. MCI and Sprint also provide Times Warner with voice mail management, directory assistance and operator services. Comcast is also likely to use strategic partnerships for various services, before it rolls out its nationwide service.

Regional telecom players like Verizon, Qwest, Bellsouth and SBC may have to face pressure with the entry of large cable companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast. They will have to increase their efforts to market their services to face the competition. They may try to push the sales of wireless, which the cable companies don’t have, or consider going into VoIP services themselves.

The telecom market is certainly set for exciting rivalry. Customers are hoping that the entry of Comcast VoIP will lead to a cut in costs, and more feature-rich services.

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