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I am in the process of moving and somehow AT&T knew about it. A packet came in last week’s mail branded as "AT&T Mover's One Source." I'm still not sure how the company knew I was moving. As a current AT&T DSL subscriber, perhaps they took note when I moved my service exactly a year ago and guessed right that I am a nomadic twenty-something urban dweller who will move again when my lease expires.

Either way, the packet is meant to make it easier for customers to move existing service and consider new bundled service options, or for prospective customers to switch to bundled services — which have benefits of cost and ease — while they are already moving. I was compelled to call because switching my DSL service was already on my growing to-do list (along with renting a U-Haul, hunting for boxes, etc.).

Upon calling I was offered Cingular Wireless service and promotions for switching and bundling my voice, data (DSL) and wireless services. This included saving almost $10 per month on my DSL and getting a wireless plan comparable in price to my current Sprint plan. The bonus here was the coveted Razr phone, offered free as a promotion to existing AT&T DSL customers. Given that my Sprint contract has been over for months and my friends laugh at me for my two-year-old Samsung phone (archaic in device years), I was an easy sell. So you're looking at a born-again Cingular customer.

Now all three services will come with one bill and the total is just north of $70 (not counting long distance for the fixed line, which I don't use anyway). And when AT&T IPTV service comes to San Francisco, I'm going to be hard-pressed not to consider adding it to this service (and billing) bundle. Given that I just spent a lot of time on a report on "quad-play" bundled services, I fully realize the economies of scale this will bring to telecoms and cable companies. But more than anything, this event drove home for me the sales, retention and consumer benefits that bundled services will have. Comcast earlier this week in fact reported strong third quarter earnings attributed to its bundling strategy.

How cable cos. and telcos market and promote these services, execute good customer service (as John Kelsey pointed out earlier in the week) and aggregate content to offer compelling video services will all determine who comes out on top. How they tie together all four services to become content and advertising distribution networks will likewise determine the leverage they will enjoy in the next-generation media environment.

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