Four major forces driving changes in the basic structure of the US telecom industry, impacting vertical industry marketing orientation:
Deregulation is forcing telecom providers to compete in many technological and geographical areas simultaneously. While the incumbent local exchange carriers (ILECs) continue to have a lock on most local residential markets, enterprise telecom customers have had a real choice of local, long distance, and Internet service providers (ISPs) for some time now. Bundled service packages are gaining acceptance. An issue of Telecom Business stated that 66 percent of businesses and 63 percent of consumers in one study were interested in purchasing a service bundle of telecom and data services, with at least two services included in that bundle.
Consolidation among the carriers and increased bundling of local, long distance, Internet, wireless, and other services provides new revenue sources for providers, but also tends to blur any perception of differentiation among the carriers. Service offerings, such as frame relay (FR) and data virtual private networks (VPNs), as well as new network capabilities, such as voice-over-packet and customer network management (CNM), are significantly altering how enterprises work with carriers to find solutions to their particular problems.