Time Warner ringing up gains in phone market (1 Viewer)


Thread Starter
Stand against retrans!!!
Supporting Founder
Apr 18, 2005
DeKalb County, AL
Time Warner Cable, the company that brought you a purple roadrunner promising lightning-quick Internet access and digital video recorders so you'd never miss an episode of The Sopranos, launched residential digital phone service almost two years ago.

Using the same broadband network that carries video and data, residential phone users can get unlimited calling for a set price each month. Time Warner, of course, gets another revenue source, and offers a discount to consumers who bundle its services.

Dorie Climenhage, a 26-year veteran of the telecommunications industry, joined Time Warner Cable's Charlotte office as vice president and general manager of voice services in 2003, just as the company was launching telephony across the nation.

Before joining Time Warner Cable, she oversaw the launch of Cox Communications' high-speed data and telephone services.

She recently spoke to the Charlotte Business Journal about competing in a crowded telecommunications field. Here are excerpts from that conversation:

Time Warner Cable launched phone service in Charlotte in June 2004. What areas of the local market do you serve?

Locally, we launched in Gaston County first, then Cleveland County, Mecklenburg County, Salisbury, Monroe and Rockingham.

Time Warner Cable had an extremely ambitious plan to go in all 29 divisions within 27 states in the first year of offering digital phone. TWC completed the first trial May 1, 2003 in Portland, Maine. From there we launched Raleigh and Kansas City and then Charlotte.

When you launched phone service, just 20% of the 11-county region was technically ready. How much of your market area can now get phone service?

We are now 75% launched in the Charlotte area and will be moving into Cabarrus County, Rowan County and the balance of Union County through the remainder of the year. All 29 of our markets are launched, but in some markets we are expanding into our footprint (areas where TWC provides cable service) as further interconnections agreements are obtained.

How has the local market responded to your phone service?

In 18 months, we have a 10% penetration in our footprint and are nearing 50,000 subscribers for digital phone.

BellSouth Corp. had more than 85% of the residential market in North Carolina. How much market share has TWC gained in phone service statewide?

Statewide demand has been strong. Overall, I'd say in the markets we serve we are in the 10% to 15% range for landline market share.

Time Warner Cable already had an extensive broadband network. What steps had to be taken to initiate digital phone service?

There are several gating factors that must be addressed before we launch in an area. First the network must be able to support telephone service in the areas where we are launching digital phone service. The second gating factor is that MCI, our (competitive local exchange carrier) partner, must have interconnection agreements with the local independent local exchange carriers within our footprint such as BellSouth, Alltel and Verizon so that we can port phone numbers.

Must digital phone customers have Time Warner Cable or Road Runner Internet service?

No. As long as the customer is within a telephony-ready area, we install a telephony modem inside the customer's home, and then activate their digital phone service. The majority of our digital phone customers have all three of our products.

What is the benefit for customers switching from other providers to digital phone?

Savings. Digital phone is $39.95 per month for unlimited long-distance calling, for customers who have digital cable and high-speed data. A customer who has two of our products saves $5 and with three services, say cable, Internet and digital phone, saves $10 per month. Customers like the fact that they have unlimited calling and their bill stays the same every month. Our message is very clear that you have unlimited calling all for one price and when you bundle services, the more you buy the more you save. In the future, customers will have other benefits, such as seeing caller ID on the television and having the benefit of knowing who is calling before they miss any of their favorite TV shows. I think customers will love that feature.

What is the future of broadband technology? Will other services soon be bundled with cable, Internet and phone service?

Time Warner Cable is partnering with Sprint and will do a trial this year for wireless phone service, and we expect to launch the service in the Charlotte area early next year. We will then be offering a bundle with voice, video, Internet and wireless phone service.

Some of the future advances in the technology will allow for the integration of video, high-speed data, digital phone and cellular services. The converged services will provide customers the opportunity to interface between e-mail, home and mobile voicemail, digital-phone recorders and photo programs.

For example, customers will be able to see pictures from their cell phone on TV. Technology will also allow customers to use a dual-mode phone that works on our digital phone network and then as they leave their house, the phone will automatically switch to the wireless network. From a cell phone, customers will be able to download TV shows, and even set their DVR. Technology offers some great new opportunities, and I find that very exciting.

Time Warner's Charlotte division has about 1,200 employees and 500 subcontractors. How many employees have been added because of the launch of phone service?

We have added between 120 and 150 employees, typically support, technical and customer-service representatives.

When cable and Internet providers began offering phone service, many in the industry wondered if those providers would be able to match the customer service of traditional phone companies. Have you been able to deliver that?

Time Warner Cable prides itself on customer service. We provide training and recursive training that's ongoing to make sure our people are at the top of their game. It's important to us that our customer-service representative is able to handle an issue on the first call. We do a survey of new customers within days after digital phone service is installed. Our network operates with 99.6% reliability and all of our services are riding on the same network, so all provide the same level of reliability.



SatelliteGuys Family
Feb 15, 2005
Raleigh, NC
Why in the world would anyone get TWC Digital Phone?

I really do not understand why anyone would pay anything more than $24.99/month to get TWC's phone service. I have Vonage and I am loving it! As a matter of fact, I have their 500 minute a month plan (because with everyone in the house having a cell phones, that's ALL we need) and I only pay $14.99/month. Did I mention that Voice Mail is standard with every Vonage account? It's $4.00/month with TWC.

If folks are feeling brave enough to embrace Internet Telephony, why go from one monopoly to another? The adoption of TWC's Digital Phone proves folks are tired or paying through the nose for standard phone and then being nickle-and-dimed for every penny. And yet, Digital Phone is the answer?

Personally, I think TWC's penetration and skyrocketing adoption has less to do with superior products and service and more to do with a TWC Digital Phone commercial coming on every 10 minutes, blanketing a city in billboards, and customers' perceived savings in the bundle. TWC still can not touch the $24.99/month price for the unlimited cost of Vonage, let alone the $14.99/month account for those that don't need more than 500 minutes.

Hey TWC Users! Tired of rising cable costs? Save money with Vonage!!! :D

To each his (or her) own, I suppose. I'm just glad that TWC quit calling to sell me Digital Phone service. Vonage has never bothered me, though. :)

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